We’ve learned a lot about ourselves during lockdown, from our capacity to deal with enormous amounts of disruption to how many biscuits can legitimately accompany a single mug of tea. The curve has been vertical, to say the least.
This strange time has also forced many businesses to really embrace digital technology, including video conferencing. Moments of peering into the screen and muttering “is it on yet?” swiftly gave way to us hosting or attending meetings involving several colleagues and using Zoom or Skype like the bosses we are.
So if everyone’s doing it, how do you make yourself stand out from the video conferencing crowd?
Know your technology
As with all new bits of kit, it’s always wise to give them the once-over before diving in and video conferencing software is no different. Get to know your way around the platform before joining or hosting any meetings, and make sure all pop-up or notification bleeps, bloops and blarts are firmly turned off.
Also, invest in a good set of earphones (preferably ones that won’t make you look like Mickey Mouse) with a robust microphone but test its levels first to avoid potential embarrassment…
Just farted on a zoom call and it lit my name up.
I’ve been betrayed
— Scarlet Châppell (@ScarletChappell) June 20, 2020
Location, location, location
Not all of us have a dedicated office space to conduct meetings (and anyone who saw that adorable BBC interview with Professor Robert Kelly knows the value of a locked door), so choosing a calm, quiet location for your meeting is crucial.
Position yourself against an interesting background with good lighting. Bookcases are a popular choice but if you don’t want your clients/colleagues to know you’re a Danielle Steele nut, then a plain wall will do. Make sure that pile of laundry is shoved well out of shot before you go live.
Wear it well
By now, working from home should – 24 fingers crossed – should be close to normal, so slobbing about in pyjamas won’t even be on your radar. But if you’re video conferencing a potential new client or the meeting is more formal than a colleagues’ get-together, make sure you reflect that with a smart outfit.
As long as you’re 100% certain you won’t be required to stand up or move around, chances are you can get away with wearing whatever you like below the camera.
Although you’re probably miles from each other, don’t forget the pleasantries when people join the conversation. Getting the ball rolling with a little bit of small talk – especially when socialising face to face is a bit of a luxury at the moment – goes a long way when building relationships.
…but don’t hog the airwaves
That said, it’s easy for us to be on transmit rather than receive, so it’s important to stay focused on the point of the meeting and not waffle on. If you’re hosting the meeting, then have a series of bullet points to hand so you don’t wander off-topic. Mute yourself before you wreck yaself.
Make sure everyone gets a chance to have their say and that everyone is respectful and keeps schtum when someone else is talking. Enthusiasm is great, but a noisy babble where no one can get a word in edgeways is off-putting and could put people off future meetings. Sad face.
If the thought of video conferencing has you pulling your virtual hair out, talk to us at 24 fingers and we’ll have you ready for your close-up before you can say “lights, camera, action”.