5 Ways to Stop Screwing Up Your Videoconferences

Dog ate your microphone? Zoom not connecting? I’ve seen it all.

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Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Your organisation might be implementing videoconferencing for the first time as the wave of home working spreads during 2020, or you might need to speak to your clients that you’d usually meet face-to-face.

Use these tips to make the experience as easy as possible!

Prepare in advance

Set up your cables in advance to make sure that Jess the cat didn’t bite through your only connection before the conference. Sign in before, checking your microphone and camera before starting.

Make sure that you’re charged up before you start, or that you have at least enough juice for your 1–2–1 with your boss so you don’t look like you hung up on them.

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

As the host make doubly sure about settings and sign in procedures.

You need to have your full concentration on the video conference you are taking part in. It goes without saying, don’t do anything else at the same time. Please.

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Your preparation should include technical components:

Ever set up a FaceTime meeting to only discover that Dave from Accounts doesn’t have an Apple phone?

Larger organisations have rules on which technology that is in use (Microsoft Teams is a corporate favourite).

Don’t self-promote

Recently many journalists have been broadcasting from home, and a few took the opportunity to promote themselves in the process.

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#PESTON, if you didn’t get it

Now this might not apply to Jenny the software engineer, but you might just notice that people carefully place a copy of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” on the bookshelf behind them (YouTubers; we know that you’re doing that as well).

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You know what does work? A simple plain background (no, your kitchen is not a good idea either). You must have a plain wall for that 30 minute catch-up meeting, and if you don’t just try to use a door.

Look. I just don’t want to be distracted by your bookshelf that you think will impress me. I’ll start thinking about why you think that particular book might impress me, but I’m directly impressed.

Zoom allows you to change your background but if you’re sharing your screen please make sure that your pornography tabs are closed. Please, please do that Zoombomber.

Dress to impress

Don’t have a video conference in your sweatpants and t-shirt, or worse. Skype and Teams can blur the background but make sure that the foreground is worth looking at.

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Photo by Oleg Ivanov on Unsplash

This includes being a miserable person (old you can’t do anything about), particularly if you are trying to persuade people of something. Have no doubt about it, you are trying to impress upon people your confidence and competence in your job. Make sure that your dress and your attitude matches the image that you wish to project onto your audience, unless of course you wish to be fired for any particular reason (if you’re at home already you might be ready for a stretch of unemployment?).

Dress to impress

Make sure you’ve a decent connection

There are ways to make sure that your conference is not a stuttering mess. Use your broadband home connection for the videoconference and if it isn’t of good enough quality switch to your mobile sim connection.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

You’re checking this beforehand right? You should be.

If you don’t have a great connection turn your video off. It’s less annoying for everyone than both seeing and hearing a stuttering mess. You might be like that anyway, but certainly don’t let your technology contribute to poor communication.

Watch your body language

Like an face-to-face meeting you need to watch how you look. I know your face might fall back into a gormless expression, but everyone knows how to switch this to an interested facial expression.

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Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

Not only that, you need to sit up straight, and perhaps strike a pose into one of the High Power body language seated poses.

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Another important piece of advice is that you need to smile. People smile when they are happy and when they greet other people. People like you when you smile.

You’re at work, you want people to like you and surely you like the people you work with?

Show it. If you don’t, fake it until you make it. Your career prospects will thank you.

Conclusion

Working with colleagues should be fun. Meeting your colleagues should be fun, and you should work with your colleagues to produce excellent work no matter your industry and role.

Video calls are a part of teamwork, and should be there to help you to work together in the best way possible.

You want to increase your productivity and create the best possible environment for everyone to work in.

Follow the tips above and you will be closer to a fantastic working environment, even if you are working at home!

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