As we face greater challenges with remote working, improving our communications tools can lead to a combination of greater concentration and collaboration, both of which are being tested in new ways through these workspace changes. Technology also offers a way to future proof your teams or business while safeguarding fundamentals like concentration and collaboration, regardless of what the future of work looks like.
Though our work interactions are increasingly done on camera, we still leave lasting impressions, for better or worse. This makes it important for us to present ourselves professionally during virtual meetings. Ling Lu, regional product marketing manager at Jabra APAC shares six tips and tricks for video calls in the new norm.
When face-to-face meetings are not possible, leveraging unique camera technology is vital. With the right setup, you can make your virtual meetings as good as the real thing. Position your camera at eye level and not pointing upwards or downwards. If you’re working on a laptop, use a laptop stand to raise the camera to eye level.
Lead by example by having cameras on whenever you’re in virtual meetings while encouraging the same for other participants. You can do this by mentioning how nice it would be to see everyone’s faces at the start of the meeting.
- Ensure you are sitting in the center of the screen. Sit closer or zoom in until your face fills at least 50% of the height of the screen.
- Look into the lens from time to time, directly into the eyes of the other person. Eye contact during video calls is found to trigger the same kind of psychophysiological responses as face-to-face eye contact.
- Focus on the content at the top of your screen, as looking at the content to the side of the camera, or at a second screen, is likely to feel more impersonal than looking at a point just below the camera.
Building a connection with your audience will ensure deeper engagement and leave a lasting impression. You should always try to create the same professional and approachable image even in virtual meetings, by:
- Dressing as you would if you were meeting face to face. Impression are also important in virtual settings.
- Sitting upright and avoid distractions by moving around. You may find that it’s easy to be distracted by incoming emails, or a movement in the room.
- Try to keep your eyes on the camera, switch off any potential distractions, and use your body language to demonstrate engagement.
It is important that you are heard properly while ensuring that you hear others accurately. Miscommunications can easily take place where audio quality is poor as people make assumptions of words. Audio quality drops when you experience network or connection issues, usually due to your own bandwidth. Regularly run a speed test to ensure your bandwidth is at optimum for good audio and video quality. Connectivity problems can also be due to memory and CPU usage. Closing down other memory-hungry programs should help with lag and, in turn, uninterrupted audio. For best sound you should use a professional headset to deliver optimal audio for you and your audience. In a noisy setting, opt for headsets with noise cancelling features to keep the call’s audio quality crisp, clear and free of background noise. Jabra provides a wide variety of professional devices that support your professional needs however and wherever you work.
The better your lighting, the better the visual quality of your video. Good lighting and contrast are also vital for best results with virtual backgrounds.
- Light from the front. When you’re on a call, you should be at the center of the screen. Make sure your face is well lit. If you have a bright overhead lighting, it can cast shadows on your face, so you may need to add frontal lighting to balance things out.
- Natural is best. If you can use natural light from a window, do so, but make sure you are facing the window, with light flowing towards your face.
- Soft lightning. Use diffused lightning for softer shadows. If you have a wall in front of you, you can point the lamp at it and use it as a diffuse reflector.
Your background says something about your personality, there is no need to completely sterilize it on your calls, but keep these pointers in mind:
- Uncluttered background give a clean, professional look, and less distracting.
- Your home office might be a multi-purpose space, but you should still ensure no unmade beds or children’s toys are visible in the background.
- If using virtual backgrounds, pick one that is easy on the eyes. Choose the most appropriate one based on your audience.
Don’t forget to smile. After all, you are on camera.
Article by Ling Lu, Regional Product Marketing Manager, Jabra APAC.