How to Make Video Meetings Effective When Working From Home

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I’m Harsh Agrawal

Blog Scientist & a passionate blogger. Love minimalist life & talk about things that matter. Adventure from heart & doer by action.

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Remote working has become the norm because of the ubiquitousness of video communication software like Skype and Google hangout.

Popular company Basecamp have 28 out of 40 employees working remotely. That is literally 70% of their workforce working outside. So most of their employees get on Video calls to discuss strategies and communicate with their colleagues.

A lot of business takes place on Skype and Google Hangout and it is completely essential to put your best foot forward and be prepared for this. You can either be attending an interview for a remote job or you could be speaking to a client for the first time. For all this, it’s essential to understand the etiquette of a Video call and to make sure you look good. It’s not only about the physical appearance, but also about communication as well that would make you look good.

4 things you must do for successful video meeting from home

1. Internet Connectivity

Internet Connectivity

The biggest problem faced during a call is mostly to do with connectivity, a slow Internet connection where the people cannot hear each other or are talking over each other. If you having a call at the end of the month, make sure your Internet usage hasn’t passed its quota, and if you are working from a co-working space with less bandwidth make sure you go out to a coffee shop where there are lesser people fighting for the bandwidth.

A bad Internet connection is a 1st world problem, but it can really annoy the parties Involved. You want to make sure, the problem isn’t from your side.   If you work from home like me, ensure you have a high-speed broadband connection. In my City (New Delhi, India), I use 100 MBPS internet connection which cost me less than $100 & worth every penny.

If you are someone like me who enjoys traveling & working (Blogger’s lifestyle), ensure you pick those destinations like Bali, Thailand which is heaven for Digital nomads.

2. Appearances and Setting

Working from home isn’t seen as negative anymore. But still being professional is very important. Here are some tips that we follow before a call.

a. Make sure you are sitting on a table.  

When people work out of home, they sit literally anywhere. This can be comfortable while working, but when video calling it makes a huge difference. When you are sitting on the bed and skyping, the laptop is much lower than you and it captures your face chin first. This is the first rule of photography, is to not take images from the chin-first, it makes people look fat. Also, when the person knows that you are not sitting on a table, it looks unprofessional.

b. Make sure the area is well lit

These days most of the laptop camera are of high quality so I’m not going to comment on it, but you need the work on lighting.

The camera of your desktop or laptop is a small one and it does not absorb all the light, in fact, different light displays in contrasting tones. Make sure there is enough light on you and there isn’t direct light hitting the camera that can blur your Image. It is like trying to take an image with the sun in the background, nothing can be seen. 

Camera light

You might want to avoid this kind of an experience 

c. You are in a separate room, away from family or the sound of hustle and bustle.

This is also another key item to look professional. If you have kids running around in the background or have crying babies, it looks thoroughly unprofessional while on a call. The best thing you can do is to go to a separate room and get away from all that noise. If your house is surrounded by traffic sounds, the best option would be is to take the call from a coffee shop.

d. Dress professionally.

People do judge a book by its cover, no matter where you are. Always dress like you would dress to work or an outside setting. When people are working and they see a person dressed in a torn tee or something they wouldn’t wear outside, they will not be able to take you seriously. To be seen as an authority, you need to dress like an Authority.

3. Etiquettes

We’ve done a lot of skype calls and Identified some common themes.

a. Muting When necessary

When you are skyping, you might get disturbed with an emergency, by either a call or your spouse. In situations like this, make sure you tell the person you are talking to, to give you a minute and mute and speak to the other person.

b. When sharing your screen

Another important point is while sharing the screen. More often than not, you might share your screen to discuss further your points. Make sure, your desktop is clean and not cluttered and you do not have an improper background. To save time, make sure you have all the appropriate links open in the browser with only the necessary tabs. Having a lot of tabs and being uncluttered does not look good.

c. Looking at the camera

In Skype, because you can look at yourself, people have a tendency to look at the box to see if they are looking good, try to avoid that. And always look at the camera when you speak, that way when they are looking at you, your eyes will be straight and not down below. Imagine talking to a person who always looks down and does not maintain eye contact?

4. Have an Agenda for the Call

Always make sure your calls have an agenda. This will help in structuring your thoughts and being clear. If you do not have an agenda and if there are a lot of pauses, it sounds bad and you look unprepared. Always know what you are talking about. Most of the time, I make a note of things to discuss in Evernote & ensure that by the end of our meeting, we had a discussion about all the points.

Bonus tips for making video calls productive: 

1. If you are not in a place that is quiet, then your best bet would be to use headphones with a mic. This helps you hear clearly, and the mic relays your message clearly to the other person. Last year, I purchased Bose QC25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones which costed me about $299 & it’s totally worth it.

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When I’m home, I use Blue Yeti mic for a crystal clear voice. If you are planning to work from home for long, have your gears ready. The Sooner you get, the better it is.

2. If you are going to go on an important call, it is always suggested to test your settings before the actual call. test your speakers, and the background, and iron out all the kinks before the actual call.

Those were our tips to make yourself look good on a call. Remember, it’s not only about appearance but preparedness in other aspects as well.

What were your experiences while making a video call from home? Share with us in the comments below. 

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