With more and more employees working from home or remotely, video calls are essential to business communications. To look and sound professional, follow these tips.
Position your webcam at eye level or higher. Looking down at the camera creates a sense of inferiority and is unprofessional. Instead, look directly into the camera or at the person’s face on the screen.
Keep it quiet
Whether it’s bills to pay, emails in your inbox, or that pile of clothes you need to fold, you can find a lot of virtual and physical distractions during a video call. But if you can’t give the person on the other end of the line your full attention, it will make you look unprofessional and disinterested.
Keeping the noise down can also help you sound better on your calls. Aside from the obvious, which is to use headphones (unless you’re in a collaborative environment and your coworkers are okay with it), if you don’t keep background noise at bay, it can echo back into your speakers and create an annoying feedback loop that sounds something like your voice on steroids. So turn off your TV, shut the office door if possible, and tell everyone in the household you’re on a video call (and maybe lock the office door, too).
Another thing to remember is that while body language is essential when communicating in person, it’s even more critical during a video call. That’s why it is a good idea to dress appropriately for your job and keep a reasonably clean appearance. It can make a big difference in how you are perceived during a call, especially if your company has a strict dress code that doesn’t allow for working from home in sweatpants.
Keep it professional
While video conferencing has become a popular work-from-home option, it’s still important to treat these calls with the same level of professionalism as in-person meetings. In addition to ensuring that your workspace is quiet and free of distractions, it’s also important to dress appropriately. It is preferable to wear business casual attire to an online video call for work rather than sweats or a T-shirt.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep your cell phone on mute while you’re on a video conference. It will prevent you from receiving any notifications during the call that could distract you or disturb the focus of others. Suppose you’re going to be using a computer for a video conference. In that case, it is also helpful to declutter the screen before the meeting by closing extraneous applications and activating ‘Do Not Disturb’ modes on them.
Finally, it is a good idea to position the camera at eye level so your face and body look more prominent. It will also make it easier for participants to see and understand your facial expressions, which is vital in building trust and confidence.
Keep it private
Video meetings are a regular part of the workday for many people. Whether you’re working from home temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic or have a remote team, coming across as professional in these video calls is vital. One way to do this is by paying attention to your visuals.
It means making sure your background is uncluttered, clean, and professional-looking. It’s also a good idea to avoid busy patterns or colors that may distract the person you are talking to during a call.
Similarly, keeping the camera in a position where your eyes are directly above it is best. It will make it look more natural to make eye contact, and it will prevent you from having to look down at the screen, which can create a sense of superiority/inferiority between you and your colleague or client.
Be mindful of the space around your computer or laptop. If animals or children run around the house, for example, they might interrupt your call with unwanted noises. If you must mute your microphone quickly, keep it from being muted for too long. If you have to take notes during a call, try to do it on a separate piece of paper rather than using your keyboard or tablet, as this will reduce the chances of your writing appearing on camera.
Please keep it simple
With more people working remotely than ever, video calls are becoming a regular part of life. So they must look and sound professional, which starts with your environment.
Find a quiet, private space where you won’t be interrupted. Close the door if possible and keep the noise level low. Turn off any music or TV that could distract you or cause noise issues.
Ensure that the lighting in your chosen room is good. Natural light is ideal, but if you can’t, try positioning two lamps on either side of your desk to illuminate your face without casting unnatural shadows.
To sound your best, you must have a quality headset and microphone. A headset with a boom mic is preferred, as it will give you better audio pickup and eliminate background noise.
It’s also vital for your agents to know how to use collaborative tools during their calls, such as screen sharing and co-browsing. It will enable them to provide customers with visual or hands-on assistance, which is great for troubleshooting and product demonstrations.
It’s also important that your agents know the importance of body language and non-verbal cues during a video call. Sitting up straight and maintaining a confident demeanor on the screen will help them seem more engaged and attentive to the customer.