Video conferencing technology allows you to connect with your colleagues in an online meeting from work from the comfort of your own home. But it’s tempting to get too casual. Keep these things in mind as you prepare.
- Master the technology
Be sure to install necessary video-conferencing software well in advance of the meeting. Test your webcam and microphone. During the meeting, mute yourself when it’s not your turn to speak, to avoid distracting others with background noises.
- Look into the camera
Whether using a computer of mobile device, it’s important to place your webcam at eye level. Look directly into the camera instead of at the screen; any slight difference in the angle of your gaze will be noticeable to the audience.
- Verbally direct traffic
Because of limited body-languages cues, people may find it hard to tell when it’s their turn to speak. This is especially true when asking for audience participation of group introductions. You can alleviate this by calling on people by name and/or verbalizing the speaking order in advance. Well-placed pauses give your audience a chance to ask questions. If there’s a planned time for Q&A, announce that as well.
- Don’t get too comfortable
It’s easy to let your guard down, especially when connecting from home. But remember that, even when you’re not speaking, you’re still on camera and people can see you. Avoid slouching, resting your chin in palm or dressing to casually. Also avoid eating, clipping your nails or other distracting behaviours. Most video conferencing platforms have a “gallery” view that lets participants see each other simultaneously. As a sign of respect to others, keep your camera on and be mentally and visually present.
- Watch yourself
The meeting might be recorded, so watch the video afterward and evaluate your own performance. Look for distracting mannerisms. When you put your hand to your face, tug on your ear, push your hair back – whatever mannerism that usually go unnoticed in daily interactions are exaggerated on TV.