Career Advice » Starting your new job » Six tips for successful video conferences

Six tips for successful video conferences

2nd April 2020

The Covid-19 crisis has caused companies to close their office doors and ask employees to work from home. With the increase in individuals working from home, face-to-face meetings have stopped and instead video conferences are becoming the new norm.

The following tips will help you get the most out of video conferences.

Test the technology

Select a good video conferencing software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype and ensure it’s set up correctly. Check your WIFI connection and test everything works properly in advance of your meeting. It may be wise to do a test run with a colleague to ensure you are familiar with the setup, the process and to test the call quality, microphone and sound. This will help to make the real video meeting run as smoothly as possible.

Set an agenda

If you are the one organising the video meeting it’s helpful to prepare an agenda and send to all those who will be participating, highlighting the areas that will be covered during the meeting and to give them time to prepare. An agenda helps to provide a guide for the meeting, making it flow much better.

Use headphones

It’s best to use headphones when video conferencing instead of relying on your laptop’s speakers and microphone. Using headphones helps to minimise background noise so participants will be able to understand what you are saying clearly.

Dress appropriately

Even though you’re in the comfort of your own home, you still need to dress appropriately for video meetings. It can be tempting to take a more relaxed approach to a video conference, but it’s important to wear smart clothing that you could also wear during face-to-face meetings. You don’t need to wear a suit, however it’s a good idea to present a reasonably good appearance. Remember to avoid patterns which may be distracting to the camera.

Prepare your surroundings

Make sure your face is well lit and there is lots of natural light so your colleagues can see you clearly. Make sure the background image is a professional one and remove anything distracting – a clean and uncluttered room looks more professional. Interruptions will make you seem unprofessional so if there are others in the house, let them know you have a video meeting and the room you are in will be off limits at a certain time. If you can, lock the door during your call.

Pay attention

Most importantly, pay attention and stay focused during the video meeting. It sounds simple but avoid doing any other work such as sending emails or reading articles during – even when you’re not speaking. It’s easy for other participants to tell if you aren’t fully focused and present during the meeting. Avoid looking at your phone, switch it on silent and don’t snack. The same rules apply to a video meeting as a face-to-face one. It can be tempting to look at yourself on the screen but focus on the camera as this is the only way to make eye contact with participants.

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