The past few months have caused massive changes to the way many businesses go about their work with lots of employees now working from home and having their communication limited to video conferencing rather than face to face interactions. Applications like Zoom have become common around the world and while incredibly useful, there are a few things to watch out for. Here are a few rules and regulations of video conferencing to help you when working from home.
Before the call
Prior to joining or hosting a virtual meeting, it is vital that you have all your equipment tested and ready to go. You do not want to be the one who has technical issues and causes the meeting to be delayed 5 or 10 minutes so be thorough and ideally perform a test call with a friend or colleague in advance. Testing your setup should be common sense but remember that you ideally want to use headphones as well instead of your ordinary computer speakers, headphones will stop any potential echo that speakers can cause the rest of the call to hear.
Finally, be sure to have tested your internet connection to make sure that you have sufficient speeds to broadcast without any lagging or distortion. If you are in a home with multiple other people, it is a good idea to ask that they refrain from streaming videos or downloading anything while you are in your meeting.
Use a background
Since you are likely working from home, it’s possible that you have had to convert a section of your house or apartment into a make shit office and, while adequate to work in, it may not be the tidiest looking setup. To maintain a professional look, consider using a virtual background. Applications like Zoom allow you to set a custom background using a virtual green screen to hide whatever is behind you and replace it with a variety of choices. Our favorite service for this is Hello Backgrounds and we highly recommend that you try this product to keep your home safe from judgment, prying eyes, or even to simply add some humor to the meeting if you want to pick something like a spaceship cockpit or submarine interior.
Take note of body language
Watching someone’s body language is as useful, if not more so, in a virtual conference call as it is in a face to face meeting. Watch out for visual cues that will help you to avoid interrupting people as they start to speak. Talking over one another is one area that is particularly problematic in virtual meetings because there can sometimes be a delay in the call. Additionally, when talking try to avoid things like waving your hands around and leaning back too far in your chair because, while these are completely acceptable face to face, they can be distracting on a camera and leaning back can make your audio quieter if you are using the best phone microphone fixed to your desk or computer.
Limit potential distractions
Another unique problem that comes with working from home is home life distractions. Whether it be family members, pets, or visitors, these distractions are akin to having somebody knock on the door of your meeting room. Should it happen too much, and this is both frustrating and incredibly distracting. Try to keep your door closed while in a meeting and make sure your phone and computer notifications are silenced. This is another thing that should be common sense but is surprisingly easy to forget when you are in the comfort of your own home.