Making The Most of Video Conferencing

Along with the coronavirus pandemic came the challenge of continuing to work with each other, but with physical limitations. This has led to an upsurge in the use of video conferencing software such as Zoom. 

Until we have an effective vaccine – and even beyond its availability – video conferencing will continue to be a key medium we use to communicate. With this in mind, it’s worth learning how to make the most of it. 

Here are our tips for communicating more effectively on platforms such as Zoom.

1. Test

By testing your video conferencing software before your meeting goes live, you’ll be better prepared to manage any technical challenges that may arise. Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

Whether you use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Skype or something else, test its features until you are comfortable with the platform. Run a practice meeting with a friend and take the time to press all the buttons and explore the functions. 

Run through some scenarios and test them so that you learn how to problem-solve if technical issues arise during a live meeting. For example, if you create a breakout room in Zoom, test what happens if the person in the breakout room exits the meeting and then attempts to re-enter. 

This scenario testing will go a long way to giving you confidence the next time you run a meeting. If an issue arises that you have encountered in your test, you will know how to resolve the issue when it unfolds during a live meeting.

Our ethos is “measure twice, cut once.” If you apply this to your video conferencing, you’ll be prepared and confident.

2. Set Dress Your Background

It’s important to curate your background for your video conference calls. Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Run a meeting with no attendees, and review your background. Is it cluttered? Could you tidy it? Is there a door behind you which could possibly open during your meeting and cause embarrassment when someone walks past?  

Consider that your background is a reflection of who you are. Take the time to tidy and “set dress” it so that it speaks to your personality. However, don’t overdo it: keep your background neat and not overly “busy” as this can be distracting. Remember: the focus should be on you and what you have to say. 

Similarly, if you use a virtual background choose an image that contains plenty of space so that it isn’t overly distracting. Again, think about your area of expertise and select an image that reflects it. 

You may wish to place an object in the background that reflects you and your area of expertise. For example, if you are a doctor consider placing an anatomical model behind you as part of your background.

3. Have Fun!

Don’t forget to be yourself when on camera: it counts for a lot and helps build rapport with your audience. Photo by Gabriel Checchia Vitali on Unsplash

Remember to enjoy the experience! Experiment where you can, and smile when you’re on camera! In video communication it’s really important to convey who you are to the camera. So, be yourself and speak to the camera from a place of authenticity. If you are passionate about what you are talking about, this will come through to the audience and your message will be more memorable. 

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

4. Speaking Notes

Try and maintain eye contact with the lens of your computer’s camera, even if you need to refer to notes. Photo by Nathália Rosa on Unsplash

By looking into the lens of your computer’s camera, it will appear that you are making eye contact with the audience. If you have notes that you wish to refer to, place them near the lens so that you’re maintaining this “eye contact” as much as possible.

If you have electronic notes on your computer, drag them so that they are as close to the lens as possible. This may take some experimentation. Run a test meeting with someone and experiment with reading your notes while in the meeting. 

If you want to learn more sign up for our weekly newsletter, register for a camera presentation skills workshop, or book a free 15-minute Zoom chat.