For the past 15 weeks, the majority of office workers have been working from home and utilising video conferencing software to keep in touch with colleagues and clients. Zoom has risen massively in popularity as we all head online for meetings. The software of choice for us at Bronco is Whereby, but whatever platform you use, here are some tips to make the most of it and some etiquette.
Before you join a call, you need to remember that you’re actually going into a meeting and that this is actually work, so you need to have the right mindset. If you are having a meeting with a client you may feel some slight apprehension as to how the call will go, but that’s a good thing, it means you want to do your best. It can be slightly more relaxing with colleagues, but it’s always important whatever the situation to plan and prepare, and once you’re all logged on, carry out the usual meet and greet as if you were in a face to face meeting. As with any meeting, having an agenda helps for the call to stay on track and be as efficient as possible.
It’s important to think about how others on the call will see you. It’s an obvious tip to get dressed, but actually check that you are dressed appropriately for the situation and make sure that you are presentable.
What others can see is important. With all the video calls happening now, we are becoming voyeuristic and gaining an insight into people’s lives and homes. What is behind you can say a lot about you, so make sure your background is also presentable.
Lighting plays a huge part in the quality of the call too. Others on the call want to see you so try to get the lighting right. A window behind you will create a glare and cast you into a shadow, so always try to have a light source in front of you.
It can be hard at times for people to find a quiet place to carry out a video call, especially with other family members potentially working from home or younger children home schooling, but it’s important to minimise distractions and background noise from family, pets and your phone. Using mute on the call can help, and then you can unmute when you need to speak, and this allows less background noise to be picked up.
One of the hardest things to get right is to look interested. You have to imagine that you are in the same room as everyone else and make yourself react as you would if you were face to face. When someone is talking, show some engagement with gestures such as a smile, a nod in agreement, the odd “yep” every so often to accept what is being said, and probably the hardest thing is to try to maintain some form of eye contact. This means you need to be looking ahead (at yourself if you like) to engage in the meeting. One thing to avoid doing is looking elsewhere and fidgeting.
We’re all learning to adapt to this new dimension of how we are interacting with colleagues and clients, and as long as you keep a check on your set up and behaviours there is a lot to be gained from a video call.
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