Guide to video conferencing from home
Zoom. Slack. FaceTime. Skype. These are some of the most popular video conferencing programs the world is assembling on in place of face-to-face meetings.
Remote gatherings for work are the new norm. Enter a virtual foyer. Sign in. Allow your device's camera to feed live. Point it at your face or upper body. You're now on screen for all attendees to see.
Not everyone will master the techniques of video conferencing at home. Here are ways to look like a pro when leveraging this new way of meeting.
Nail the login
Enough depends on your arrival to earn it some added focus. Make sure to be on time with all your login information. If it's a new tool, give yourself extra time to make sure the software works on your computer. You want to make a prompt and professional entrance.
Find out ahead of time what the meeting is about and who'll be there. Determine your key objectives for attending. Be ready with a 12 – 20 second (less is more) intro – name, department, what your roles and duties are for this work gathering.
Know your meeting strengths and must-fix mistakes
Think back to some of the face-to-face meetings you've attended. Pick out an instance or two where you stood out (or when nothing seemed to work.) Reflect on the words and tones you used. Facial expressions, timing and gestures as well.
If you want to improve on how you come across in video meetings, there are affordable ways to learn these kinds of skills from the experts. For instance, Toastmasters International is a not-for-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking via its worldwide network of clubs. Look for a virtual community near you.
Or, try a mock meeting with one or more people. If you're stuck at home, recruit your spouse or roommate. Afterward, ask for feedback. Start with what they noticed as your strong points. Go from there delicately but truthfully. Most novices use hmmm or Ummm too often. In place of those offputting sounds, take a breath and stay on track.
Manage the impressions you make
On a work video call, your live image might be on-screen the whole time. Even if you're at home, wear an office-worthy outfit instead of something too casual for the workplace. Groom enough to look kempt. And keep your background neat.
Show that you're interested throughout the videoconference. Sit up straight. Take notes or look at the person speaking. Keep your gestures moderate. Try to avoid touching your face. If you're accustomed to doodling or fidgeting in meetings, do so very quietly. Your mic could draw attention to it.
Watch a few sample virtual videoconferences online. Notice how often people are checking and using their devices. When a person speaks, their image and name are highlighted. They should make their point concisely and not stomp over others' attempts to contribute.
Consider recording your live meeting to review, then give yourself a critique. Also, learn how to use some of the software's extras. There may be features like sending group or individualized messages, changing your background image and adjusting camera settings.
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