Nowadays, most of your interactions are happening via camera. In many cases it is the only way we get to meet our colleagues. And so it’s logical that we want to make the most of these moments and leave the best impression. But it’s not just about a big smile.
The people you talk to should see you in a clear and bright picture without any background distractions. And with the camera appropriately positioned, avoiding any weird angles. We’ve delved into the “science of video conferencing” to give you tips on how to optimize your setup for productive online collaboration.
1. Camera angle
Think about how you would communicate in person. Conversation with someone sitting while you are standing, or vice versa, can be awkward. The best practice is to lead the conversation, so everyone feels equal. Try moving the camera up so it’s at eye level. If you have a laptop, you can get an adjustable laptop stand. Or simply adjust the height of your office chair or move up your standing desk. Check what’s in the area behind you, it will be all visible on the camera. To prevent this, go to the camera settings and blur the background, or set a custom background.
Many homes and offices are still not ready for the modern era of video conferencing. With lighting infrastructure that cannot match professional studios, modern webcams are doing a decent job compensating for the lack of light. And you will be seen even in low-light conditions. However, you can have studio-like lighting without digging deep into your pocket.
The boom in YouTube streaming in recent years has made professional-grade devices available on a larger scale. Like the ring light, which is designed to illuminate you without blinding you. Plus, it comes with a phone holder, so you can use your phone’s camera at appropriate height. Lastly, use the indoor light only when there is not enough natural light. Do not combine the two to avoid confusing visual effects.
Especially before an important video call, make sure that your microphone works and the person on the other end can clearly hear you. If you’re near a busy street or you live in a house with children, you may want to invest in a microphone that cancels background noise. Microphones can pick up many distracting sounds, including typing on a keyboard or clicking a mouse.
4. Mute button
Locate the mute button, whether it’s a physical button on your headset or a button in an app. And use it whenever someone wants to have a quick word with you, or you have to briefly leave the computer. You never know who might stop by and be heard on the call. If you need to leave the room, it is a good idea to leave the headset at the computer.
5. Treat it as if you were in the conference room
When you speak, look at the camera as if you were looking someone in the eye. Remember that you are on someone’s screen the whole meeting. Therefore, avoid distractions, the meeting only lasts so long. And the participants will appreciate your full attention.
Follow these five rules and you will master every upcoming video call.