How to Video Conference like a Pro

I’m sure we’re all going to get better at this, but right now, many people are entering the video-conferencing world at a gallop instead of a tiptoe.

It can be unnerving. Two weeks ago, having a meeting meant heading to the conference room, Nespresso in hand. Now, your office meeting is a Brady Bunch sequence of tiles featuring your co-workers’ poorly-lit faces, perched in front of a pile of living room junk that serves as their backdrop.

Things have changed quickly.

I’m no stranger to meeting with clients online – in fact, in many cases, it’s my preferred scenario. But in the last two weeks I’ve done enough Zoom-ing to compose a doctoral thesis on the subject.

Since no one would be remotely (ha) interested in reading that, I’ll summarize. Here are four ways you can video conference like a pro.

Have a dedicated Workspace

“A Room of One’s Own” is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf and also a literary nudge to the quarantined world. Find a place you can call “mine” somewhere in your house. It could be a 2 x 2 foot square on your kitchen table or the windowsill of your studio apartment or even a tricked-out closet. Wherever your virtual office may be, make sure it’s free of clutter, because an organized workspace will not only be easy on your colleagues’ eyes, it’ll also boost your overall productivity.

Position your Device Correctly

This one’s crucial. People tend to place their laptop/tablet/phone on a table or desk, which is fine – if you’re sending emails or watching cat videos. But if your device is at breast-level during a video call, your camera is too low, and no ones wants to see a close-up of your chest (however magnificent it might be). From this angle, even if you tilt the screen upwards, your camera is still beneath your face and therefore showcases your double chin.

An easy solution is to grab a stack of thick books and put them on your work surface. Place your device on top of the stack so that it’s at eye-level, or even slightly above. Almost everyone looks better from this elevated angle, and you won’t have to worry about stray boogers.

Also – please don’t be the guy or girl who’s maneuvering their device throughout the whole meeting. You’ll make everyone dizzy.

Don’t Hate on Older People

I know, I know. I have parents too. But instead of getting frustrated with older colleagues who might not be as comfortable using new technology, why not take initiative to help out? You could send them a pre-conference-call email offering to do a test-run before the actual meeting gets underway. If your’re worried this might offend, skip it, but try to treat older workmates as you would any other co-worker who occasionally forgets to un-mute his mic or shows up late because his computer decided to auto-update.

Give a Ton of Positive Feedback

Head nods are the digital version of an “mm-hmm.” You probably already know how important it is to give nonverbal feedback in your face-to-face conversations. This is all the more necessary when you’ve muted yourself so that your full attention can be directed toward the speaker. But guess what? He or she is delivering a monologue to a bunch of semi-blurry faces staring into the lower corner of their screen. Offer your pal a nod or thumbs up every once in awhile, so he or she knows they’re being understood. When it’s your turn to speak, refer back to what others have said and offer support and encouragement. ♥

What are your best tips for video conferencing? Comment below! ↓↓

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