Video conferencing is part of mainstream business. With a few adjustments, you can be a video conference pro wherever you are and on whatever device you are using.
Video Conferencing Tips
- Mute your microphone when not speaking
- Be aware of your video and audio settings
- Beware of bad camera angles
- Make sure your room is well lit
- Wear appropriate business attire
- Ask for audio feedback from attendees
- When speaking look directly into the camera
Below is a summarized transcript of this video.
Review Microphone Settings
When you're not speaking, it's a good best practice to mute your microphone. Now, if you're in a larger environment, you may have a technical director of some sort for larger conferences that may be controlling those things, such as muting and un-muting you. But if it's a smaller event, if you're not talking, be sure to use that mute function.
So, typically, most conferencing systems have it. I use Zoom and it does have that feature available. So when you're not speaking, mute your microphone. Anything can happen in the background. You want to be able to minimize any of that background noise so it doesn't distract during your meeting that you're having.
Check Your Audio and Video Settings
Make sure that you check your audio and video settings. Test your microphone out before you start your conference. Test your video settings out as well. Make sure that they're connected right, that you have the right device.
On a laptop, a lot of times they will default to your laptop items, but in this instance, I'm using a laptop but I'm not using the webcam that's on there. I'm using an external webcam, and so I needed to make sure that I clicked that, and make sure that I also chose the microphone that came with that particular webcam. So do check those settings, test them out, and make sure that they are working correctly.
Check and Adjust Your Camera Angles
Don't position your camera too close to your face. So we don't want any of this, and I've seen people who are like looking down all the time, or the opposite way. It's like they're way too far back. So take a look at your camera, focus on the camera, and pretend that there's somebody behind it.
That way, if you're doing a presentation or making any comments, you're talking to that person. You're making good eye contact in the same way that you would if you were in a real-life situation. It takes a bit to get used to, so that might be something that you want to practice as well. Focus on that camera, and that way, you're getting the best eye contact. But just be careful of your spacing. Again, don't be all over the place because that can get distracting in a video conference environment.
Make sure there's a little bit of space above your head. That's a tip that I think just looks visual because you want a nice, centered look. So take a look at that shot, and get used to having that position as tight as possible.
Video Conferencing Requires Great Lighting
Lighting is another critical item. So I'm in my office right now. I've got a couple of LED lights going. Another light that's shining up on the ceiling. So you notice I don't have anything blasting on my face. I am using a virtual background, so that's a choice, too if you don't think you have a background that is suitable. For me, this is going on our YouTube channel, so I wanted a nice background just to kind of show you what you can do with video conferencing.
Now, I also have a green screen, so that helps, too, with making sure there's not the pixelating and things like that that you may see when people are playing around with virtual backgrounds. So a green screen can help, but if you don't have it, you may not even need it. The idea is the lighting is good. Make sure that whatever you do have in the background isn't distracting. It can just be a plain wall, and that's fine. That'll work just as well, but just think of your overall surroundings.
And I think a lot of people are getting very comfortable with it. The culture is shifting overall. It's like “I must have this video the exact same way that I have at my office.” To me, that's just going away. But, again, it's unique to your own office environments, so just kind of go with whatever the culture is for what your company requires of you.
What Do You Wear When Video Conferencing?
Do you dress for success everyday. Success and culture go hand in hand. What works for one person may not work for another. I decided today for this video I'm doing doing a shirt and tie.For this situation this is my dress for success. When I'm doing presentations to large groups, this is what I wear. It typically is a shirt and tie, but no matter what your choice is, don't show up in a bikini, or in a thong, or anything like that. No good. Show up presentable. Wear appropriate clothing, and clean yourself up. To give dignity to the event we are involved in, make sure that you just look your best. That's what we do. Dress for success.
Ask For Audio Feedback
Another item that's really important is overall clarity. So we talked about testing your microphone. It's good that you may think it sounds great, but take a minute and ask your audience. “Audio check. How does that sound? Good. Any issues?” And get their feedback.
Often, people think that they sound great, but because of the device that they're using, or maybe the room that they're in, it may sound very, very hollow. It may sound like they're talking like in a drive-thru. Like … You know, that kind of noise, and you don't want any of that. So don't depend on just your own sound test. Ask for feedback from the people that you're meeting with. Make sure that they feel that it sounds okay, and just set the standard. You may not have the best equipment, but at least everybody knows that you've done your best.
Speak Directly Into the Camera
The last item that we're going to talk about is making sure that you're engaged. Look at the camera. You may even need to minimize the participants window in order to focus your attention. It's all about eye contact. Now, it's okay to have notes. You guys can see I'm looking down, I've got a few notes here. I'm not using a teleprompter. Maybe that might be something down the road that I'll add to my overall production, but right now I don't have one. Again, it's your presence. You want to be there and notes are okay. So just have them right there with you. Like right now, my iPad is actually sitting on my laptop, and it's tilted up so that it's right in the center with the camera. So I'm able to not only talk to you, share some thoughts, but also look through the notes that I had that I wanted to kind of share with you today.