As a company we often find ourselves moving at the speed of technology. When we’re not beta testing a new posting and analytics tool, we’re figuring out how to automate data collection and comparison for analysis. All of that testing and figuring requires a lot of collaboration and idea sharing. One of the best ways that we’ve found to do that has been to use video chats. They’ve been a great way for everyone to get “face to face” without getting on a plane, train or elephant.
Like any tool, video chats are only effective when they’re used properly. We’ve put together five tips to help you have a professional and business appropriate video chat experience.
1. Remove Distractions
Video chats are the halfway point between phone calls and in-person meetings. Find a place that is quiet, without people walking in and out of the frame. The focus should be on the conversation, not the background noise. To that point – know when to mute your microphone or put on a headset.
2. Look into the Camera
Eye contact is just as important in a video chat as it is in person. Don’t fiddle at your desk, pace, or browse the web. Try and sit still and maintain eye contact – even if you’re on a device that allows you to move around. Just because technology allows you to host a video chat from the elliptical, does not mean that you should.
3. Frame Yourself
Think in terms of in-person conversations. You would not sit so close to someone that your face would be the only thing that they see or so far away that they would need to strain to see you. Think about how newscasters are framed when they’re sitting at their desks – your head, shoulders and the top of your torso should be visible on the screen. The lighting should be clear (don’t lurk in the shadows) and the background should be simple, without anything inappropriate creeping into the frame.
4. Dress Appropriately
Your outfit should be something that you would wear if the meeting were to take place in person.
5. Understand the Platform
Keep in mind that when you reference something on your screen, the person you’re speaking to may not be able to see it. Most video chat services allow for screen sharing, making it easy to reference something in front of the group as a whole.
Bonus Tip: if you’re using a video chat tool for the first time, test it with a friend and work out the bugs before using it in a business setting.