Video conferencing has become an essential component of business so learn how to make it work for you over the pandemic.


During the coronavirus pandemic, most organisations have been depending on video conferencing as the "new normal" to maintain a remote working environment.


You today might hold your virtual meeting on Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, GoToMeeting, Join.me, Cisco Webex Meetings or Slack.


Wherever it is, it is important that you are equipped with the necessary tools to help navigate through this previously unfamiliar territory.


Below is everything you'll need to know from lighting and body language to communication.

LIGHTING FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING


A properly lit meeting space can help you present your absolute best self and get the most out of every call.

  1. Make sure your background is clean and appropriate.

  2. Wear professional and comfortable clothing that won't clash with your background. So, for example, if your background is dark opt for light toned clothing and vice versa.[*]Sit facing the light source (this could be the window, a desk lamp, and so on) to ensure your face is illuminated and clearly visible. [*]Balance the lighting by avoiding harsh side and top light, as it causes dark shadows on your face. You don't want this to convey a more solemn mood during your video call.[*]Once you have your webcam lighting set up and ready, be sure to test it via opening a camera tool, before you go live.

Lighting complements high quality video by helping render a crystal clear image. If the visual is good, you may even feel as if you're in the same room with the person you're talking to.

BODY LANGUAGE

Video conferencing: Tips for light, sound and body language

Image: Dylan Ferreira, Unsplash


Movement and gesture play a significant role in deciding the fate of any video meeting.

  1. Make firm eye contact by looking into the webcam when addressing your virtual attendees, rather than looking down at the screen. Lower eye contact conveys the message that you are a poor listener or lack self-confidence.

  2. Avoid touching your face.[*]Keep your facial expressions professional by having a moderate smile with slightly raised eyebrows (but avoid frowning, sneering or staring).[*]Ensure that your posture complements the message that you are trying to convey by sitting up tall, shoulders leaning slightly towards the camera with arms uncrossed. You want to avoid looking overtly stiff.[*]Use basic hand gestures to display warmth, energy and agreement.

You don't need to be a professional actor to becomfortable in front of the camera. However, you may need to be a little more aware of your posture, facial expressions and general mannerisms.

COMMUNICATION FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING


Here are a few tips to help make your voice sound crystal clear, while avoiding familiar problems like echoes and sounding monotonous.

  1. Try to sound relaxed with the optimal vocal pitch that you maintain during a regular in-person conversation (not too high or low).

  2. Keep your microphone muted when you're not talking[*]Consider wearing headphones or earphones to prevent causing unpleasant echoes, aggressive aural feedback and having to repeat yourself.[*]Test whether your video meeting device is actually using your microphone beforehand, as some devices or tools require you to make a manual switch.[*]When using headphones or earphones with a built-in microphone, ensure that it stays about a centimetre or two away from the corner of your mouth.[*]Stay in a controlled environment to eliminate background noise. For example, try to  avoid corners as sound bounces off walls which causes echoes.[*]Close as many programmes and tabs as you can before hopping onto a call. This can free up power and internet bandwidth.

Overall, don't forget to practise good manners etiquette by being on time and paying attention during your video meeting.