How to Enhance Your Video Conferencing Experience
As offices around the country start planning for a return to the office, many of us are still working remote and connecting with our colleagues and teams via video conferencing. Video platforms like zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Meet have all become an integral part in the way we communicate and hold each other accountable at a distance. And though video conferencing etiquette isn’t something that’s often discussed during COVID-19, it is something that should be considered while navigating work to enhance your meeting experience.
Over the last few months, we have all been on more video conferences than we can count with many of us working in situations that are out of our control including multitasking with children in the background, pets barking, or living next door to a neighbor who has decided to mow their lawn midday. However, what we can control is the appropriate way to present ourselves. Similar to in-person office meeting etiquette, there is etiquette that should be taken into account when video conferencing.
Consider your headspace.
Although often overlooked, your headspace and the appropriate amount is a big factor in creating a presentable look on a video call. A rule of thumb is to reference the rules of framing that journalists use while capturing their interview shots. In most cases the 90-degree rule or The Rule of Third applies. Similar to interviews, it’s important to ensure the top of your head isn’t cut off and the entirety of your face and head is shown with 2-4 inches of headspace above to spare. Avoid severe profile shots and too much of your body being shown – as you should always be able to see both eyes and the face straight on. Viewers are attuned to seeing someone’s whole face when they speak and profiles are also unflattering to your team.
Backgrounds for video conferencing.
Not only do we focus on faces when we’re on video, but the backgrounds of others. Busy backgrounds are distracting and can distract others on the call if you let it. We’ve all experienced gazing for long periods of time and strain from spotting things in the background. Similar to shooting an interview, a best practice is to keep it simple and consider a clean and neutral colored background or both while you’re working from home. If you are outside, make sure you’re not video conferencing in a busy area and that the lighting and colors don’t affect your presentation on screen. Another option to consider is creating a company-branded background that you can distribute to your teams and upload via zoom. This is something that doesn’t take too much time and that as a company we have implemented for our Sales division.
Achieve the best lighting.
Proper lighting is a big factor in creating a presentable look during a video conference call. Similar to our eyes, the cameras on our laptops need light to render the best image and achieve the highest quality video possible. When there isn’t enough light or too much light, it can cause cameras to render a lower quality image. It’s important to know how to use proper lighting in order to optimize your video conferencing calls. It’s not necessary to go out and purchase new lighting; any amount of sunshine or room lighting will do. However, minimizing distraction as much as possible and avoiding poorly lit rooms, which can result in harsh shadows or glares on video is best. Proper lighting eliminates this and keeps everyone focused on the speaker and current meeting.
Minimize noise level.
There are many pros and cons of capturing volume from a computer. A con being that all background noise is usually amplified to those who are on the video call. Though a quiet space may be difficult to find during this time, don’t be afraid to use the mute button. Many of us have experienced audio fading in and out while video conferencing or someone working in close proximity to their partner. It’s always worthwhile to test your volume prior to joining a call as this can make a huge difference. Still experiencing issues? Keep a phone nearby and stay dial-in ready.
Adapting to a changing work environment over the last few months has taught us a lot about the resiliency of our teams. No matter what you’ve experienced in the past, implementing these tips going forward during your next meeting can enhance your video experience and take your meeting to the next level.