Lots of us are moving to remote or work-from-home arrangements right now, and that means videoconferencing! Videoconferencing is an awesome tool, but you may be guilty of some basic flubs that are making your virtual meetings less enjoyable, less effective, and less polished / professional looking. Check out this short interview I did on Videoconferencing Tips ‘N’ Tricks and discover a few easy things you can do to have better virtual meetings.
Embedded video being fussy? Click here to watch it on YouTube. You can also read the full transcript below.
Do you have any good videoconference best practices that you’ve found especially useful? Click here to share them in the comments section on the YouTube video!
Be well, help others stay well, and remember: WEAR PANTS.
STACEY: So many of us have moved our offices to our homes and we’re communicating with
people using teleconference. But how do we make that effective? What do we need
to know, what are the rules? Lauren Sergy is a communications
expert and she joins us via teleconference. And you got your own
little microphone, you do this a lot. How should we be setting up our space for
LAUREN: Well a big thing to remember is, first up: where is your
camera positioned? Because you’re trying to replicate a face-to-face conversation,
right? But very often what I see is people with smartphones or laptop
laptops in their laps. The camera is positioned way too low and you get the
up the nose shot, where you can basically see right up the person’s nose. Big
old chin picture going on there – that’s not what you want to go for! It should be
in line with your eyes.
And another thing to note is the lighting. This is actually
pretty important: you want a good bright light in front of you. I’ve got a nice
big light right in front of me there, but this can easily happen by sitting in
front of a window. What you don’t want to do is sit with your back to the window
or to that bright light because it’ll cast you in shadow and people won’t be
able to see anything at all.
STACEY: And I also heard that if there’s a lot of busy things in your background it can get a little bit blurry as well?
LAUREN: It can yes the backdrop
does matter. What I think really matters is that your backdrop looks neat and
tidy and presentable. You know we’re in our homes, people know that we’re in our
homes when we’re doing this so it’s fine to have personal effects behind you. But
maybe not have a really messy dining room table or an unmade bed which
is what one of my clients mentioned. They connected with someone and they said
“Literally I could see their unmade bed behind them!” So you know – a mobile screen
can fix a multitude of sins. Just make sure that it’s neat and tidy
STACEY: All right
any useful gadgets that you use or that you recommend for setting up?
absolutely. You can see some of them in front of me. One of them is, honestly, the
humble headset. Your cell phone mic will work just great. It cuts down on
noise, so that makes the audio much clearer.
I also like to use an external
microphone as well as a dedicated webcam so that you get a crisper picture. These
are handy if you’re doing this a lot or for the foreseeable future.
And one gadget that I’m really digging is a tripod selfie stick. With
this if you are using a smartphone to connect, you can basically
dual screen with your laptop. You just stick that on the table and it’ll hold
it at the right level for you and your hands remain free.
STACEY: Alright, I know that
this seems pretty…not as important, but what about clothes? Everyone knows that we’re at
home I guess you’re not wanting like lounge gear.
LAUREN: No! So another complaint that
I get are you know people wearing ball caps while they’re video conferencing with
their management team or with their clients. You want to be dressing as if
you are in the actual meeting, as if you were at work. So do your hair, shave, put on some jewelry,
wear the jacket and the shirt to go along with it.
And one thing that I strongly recommend is to WEAR PANTS. (laughter) Don’t stay in your pyjama bottoms!
Because if you stand up by mistake…”oh, I need to close the door, oh I need to
chase the dog out,” and you’re all business on the top and slumber party on
the bottom, that’s going to stick in people’s minds!
STACEY: Alright any other quick pointers in terms of, like maybe speaking
over each other or how to speak clearly while using a video conference? Because
a lot of people just aren’t used to it.
LAUREN: yeah we’re not used to this style and a thing to remember is that it’s great
technology, but it’s still technology so sometimes it can get in the way. In
terms of speaking what you want to do is slow down. Go a little bit slower than
you’re used to to account for things like possible technology garbles.
The other bit that people find quite difficult at first is to allow for
longer pauses in between your exchanges. There’s often a little bit of a lag time
going on within the connection so these pauses can feel like a million years.
That’s okay – when you’re done talking or you want the other person to talk, close
your mouth, wait a couple seconds, give their camera time to catch up, and then
they’ll be able to respond better so you’re not talking over one another
quite so much.
STACEY: All right well I’m gonna go put some pants on.
LAUREN: Glad to hear it!
STACEY: Thanks so much!
That’s communication expert Lauren Sergy on how to effectively teleconference.
There’s a lot of us are at home doing our work.