Since many companies know the advantages of video conferencing over phone calls or traveling to work events, many meetings are now taking place online. You've been meeting with people in person your whole life, so this is new for you. However, if you're nervous about your first video conference, you're not alone. There's something nerve-wracking about having to communicate using new technology, especially when you're in a professional setting.
Here are seven tips to make your first video call look like your 100th:
1. Take a Practice Lap
The last thing you want is to be fumbling with the technology during an important video conference with a big customer. Before your call, take some time to set up the software and adjust the settings. Then, find a co-worker with a few free minutes to chat with you as a test run.
2. Use a Headset
Though your laptop or desktop computer has a built-in microphone in it, the sound quality can sometimes make you sound like you're in a tunnel. The solution? Use a simple headset with a microphone. You can then clearly hear the other parties, and your brilliant ideas will be crystal clear. And if you're worried about looking like a drive-through employee, remember the other attendees will likely be sporting headsets as well.
3. Look at the Camera
It's easy to unknowingly negate one of the advantages of video conferencing with poor eye contact. It's a natural reaction to look at the other person you're talking to on the computer screen. However, this strategy will give that person a great shot of the top of your head. Your webcam is not embedded in your screen, but likely at the top of it. Find where your camera is located before the call and make a conscious effort to look at it throughout the meeting.
4. Find Yourself
Just in case you forget where to look, keep an eye on the mirror image of yourself in the corner. This is how you look to the other party. Be sure to check it when you first join the call as well as periodically throughout the meeting so you can make adjustments to your camera or position.
5. Check Your Background
On a normal phone call, you can be sitting in a messy office or in a closet to hide from your children, and the rest of your team is none the wiser. However, on a video conference call, the others can only see you and what is behind you. Make sure you are presenting a professional image. And if all else fails, find a blank wall to use as a backdrop.
6. Minimize Potential Disruptions
Everyone who regularly takes conference calls outside the office has been saved by the mute button. However, there isn't an equivalent in video conferences. Even if you hit the mute button so attendees don't hear your dog greeting the mail carrier, they can still see your four-legged friend howling in the window behind you.
7. Get Rid of the Beeps
Be sure to turn off your phone, email, and anything else with the potential to make distracting noises. You risk annoying other participants if your phone beeps every time you get a text or email — or worse, the funny ringtone you set up for your best friend makes a guest appearance.
While this may be your first video chat, it probably won't be your last. It's worth taking the time to prepare and learn the tricks to video chat like a pro. There are so many advantages of video conferencing that it's likely the next time a meeting is scheduled, it will be your idea to set up a video conference call.
Is your business ready to add video conferencing to save travel time while still getting the benefits of face-to-face communication? Contact a Vonage Business representative to take the next step forward.