Meetings face to face are great but not necessary in many cases. We often cooperate internationally, work remotely and become more and more location independent. However, many people still have doubts when it comes to video conferences and it is hard for them to get used to this form of communications. Here are some tips on how to handle virtual meetings in a professional way.
1. Scheduling a video call
Choosing the right hour for your call is easy when everyone is in the same timezone. Make sure you checked the time difference before discussing the hour of the meeting to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. Always put the timezone symbol next to the hour you suggest so everyone can easily relate to it. CET (Central European Time) would be probably the safest for scheduling calls in CEE.
2. Make sure your Internet connection will be good enough
There is nothing as annoying as poor quality of connection during a video call. Don’t risk calling from a crowded coffee place or from the car if you are not sure that your Internet can handle the call without interruptions.
3. Turn on your camera
Isn’t it awkward to sit in front of laptop with the camera on and talk to someone’s profile pic? If we want to replace face-to-face meetings with video calls we need to act like in normal meeting. And please don’t explain yourself with a broken camera, no one’s buying it 😉
4. Take care of the background
Just place your laptop where you plan to sit during the call and check how do you look in the camera. With all the consideration for those working from home, kitchen or bedroom aren’t the best backgrounds for professional video calls. Choose something neutral like a wall or shelves with books. The less stuff behind you, the better.
5. Place your laptop camera in front of your face
Don’t look down in the camera or from the angle. It should be placed on the lever of your face. People are used to looking directly in your face during a meeting. Putting a few books or a box under the laptop will make you look more natural and professional.
6. Have a source of light behind the laptop
You may sit in front of the window or put a lamp on the table. Good lighting makes you look good and increases the quality of the image.
7. Test your microphone
Unlike the camera, the microphone is crucial for a call itself. Having any issues with mic just shows you’re are not prepared on this very basic levels. While checking the microphone you may also want to test your speakers or headphones. Hearing well what people say on the call may be very useful.
8. First words are important
Make people feel comfortable and as natural as in face-to-face meeting. Don’t start with “can you hear me?” As first words. It’s much nicer to say “hello” and ask “how are you?”. You will find out immediately if someone has problems with audio without showing that you are not really sure if everything works.
The main problem of video calls nowadays is not lack of good software, poor Internet connection or laptop cameras breaking down constantly, but the amount of effort we put into online meetings. Usually too little.