How to nail video conferencing calls while working from home

Love it or hate it, sheer necessity means video conferencing has fast become the new normal. Overnight we’ve all had to become pros at handling unfamiliar technology, navigating the etiquette and, most importantly, ensuring we’re always filmed from our best side. So here are our top tips on how to make a good impression:

1. Bar entry (whatever it takes*)

Chances are you’re sharing your workspace with a partner, flatmates, pets or any number of children right now. Whether it’s a lock on the door or a stern poster, find a way to keep everyone out while your call is in progress. (Unless you want to be the next Professor Robert Kelly in his BBC news interview).

2. Adjust lighting

Don’t make the rookie mistake of having light behind you, which will have the effect of making you appear in silhouette. Experts say the best place to put your lighting – window or artificial light – is in front of you so your face can be seen clearly. You may need to reposition yourself. Using a second light source, like a desk lamp with a soft bulb, will even out shadows.

3. Check your audio

If you’ve managed to bag a quiet room you can probably use the microphone on your laptop at a pinch. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to use a mic that’s closer to your face. Although earbuds or headphones should be fine, almost any plug-in device – a desktop USB mic, a USB or wireless headset or the built-in mic on a USB webcam – will sound better than your laptop mic.

4. Close competing applications

Close the applications that use the two precious resources for any video conferencing app – processor power and network bandwidth.

5. Camera placement

Position yourself so your head and shoulders or top half are in view. Anything closer can appear threatening and anything further will make your face too hard to see. And the camera should be at eye level to help make a connection.

6. Don’t stress about clothes

Obviously, wear some but, apart from checks and pinstripes, bright white and black, most clothing and regular make-up is fine.

Caveat: Women reading this might want to think twice about wearing a strapless top, which can give the impression you’re topless when cropped on video. And your favourite deep V neck may prove unexpectedly revealing when the camera is positioned above you, as recommended above.

7. Resist the temptation to spin

…or roll around in a wheeled chair! We know you want to but this will be distracting and the resulting vibrations will sound louder than you realise when the mic picks them up.

8. Think about your background

A pile of dirty washing or washing up, unmade bed or questionable reading material will instantly undo the professional image you want to create.

*short of physical harm For down-to-earth advice on making video conferencing work for you and choosing the best app for your business, get in touch for a chat.

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