Like it or not, video calling through the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts has become an important part of the daily routine while we’re working from home. And for good reason too – video allows individuals to communicate in a way that closely mimics face-to-face communication, which is critical for supporting collaborative working whilst we’re all out of the office. To get the most out of video calling, and to make sure that it is as productive as possible, here are a couple of pointers to bear in mind, both for you and the team by experienced technology and product marketer Logitech EMEA head of video collaboration Anne Marie Ginn.
Get your set up right
A no brainer, but a video call’s worst enemy is poor WiFi. Having a poor connection will not only be frustrating for you but will also hold up the call for everyone else. You’ll need to position yourself somewhere that provides 8 Mbps download / 1.5 Mbps upload speeds – this is really the minimum requirement for effective video calls. At the same time, you’ll want to sit somewhere with ample natural light, ideally with the light source coming from behind the camera. If it’s dark outside, position a lamp behind the camera. This will help you look clear and crisp.
Prepare for camera
You’d make the effort to look your best when meeting a new client, and it shouldn’t be any different when meeting over video. Make sure you still dress the part and be wary of what might be in the background – no one wants to see your dirty dishes! Having to join a call in a hurry? Some video software has the option to blur your background, which can provide a smokescreen.
Alongside getting the lighting right, make sure the camera is shooting from a flattering angle. Ideally, the camera should be at eye level so you’re seen at a natural angle. If possible, choose an external webcam – built-in laptop webcams are often low quality, and a dedicated webcam will have many fuller colours and better lighting.
Get everyone ready and have a plan
The productivity and effectiveness of video calls rely on all participants knowing what they’re doing and why they’re there, so if you’re leading the call it may be worth providing a little pre-briefing. Ahead of time, make sure everyone has the right software installed and knows how to use it, knows how to enable their camera and audio and how to put themselves on mute when not speaking – this will stop coughs and rustling distracting the person speaking.
It’s also good practice to circulate an agenda ahead of time and stick to it and designate someone to chair the meeting to give the call structure and minimise participants talking over each other. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be sure to get the most out video calling, whilst looking and projecting your best to your clients and colleagues.