Video conference calls are a great way to stay in touch with employees, clients or team members from around the globe, and are becoming more accessible as well as common. However, with the sudden boom in this technology it can be easy to feel lost on how to best capitalize on your screen time.
This can be even more intimidating in a group call, where you are one voice among many and the time you may have to present is short. Therefore, it is very important that you are able to communicate effectively when you are on screen. Below is a short guide of some tips to help you make the most of a group video call using software like BlueJeans, and how to avoid having your message falling through the cracks.
Do not let the fact that there is video involved distract you from the fact that it is a call, which relies heavily on having clear and distinct audio in order to be understood. One of the first things to do is make sure you know where the microphone is in your conference room, or in your device at home, and know how to use it.
Muting your microphone when you are not talking is an excellent idea that can help prevent ambient noise from diluting the call. If you are calling from home and are considering buying a microphone, consider a small desktop of freestanding model rather than a distracting headset.
A very good brand is Blue, well known for their high value for the price Snowball model, but most electronics sites will be able to provide a good mic for any budget. Look for the reviews and especially try to find ones used by other business professional, rather than video game players who may not need to appear as professional as you might. While you may indeed want to be seen, as mentioned above, you don’t want to be distracting, so try to keep larger microphones out of the line of sight of the web camera.
Being mentally prepared can help prevent stage fright or technical difficulties from slowing down the call. Part of this can be the result of practice, where you make sure that you know how to connect to the call. This is a great time to get to know the hardware, or the physical pieces such as the camera and the microphone, as well as the software or programs that run it.
Experiment a few days before the call to make sure you know how to join or leave a call, as well as mute your own microphone, and to look out for any issues. Picking a conference host program that can work with lots of devices, such as BlueJeans, can also help your video call go a little smoother. Having a short list of topics you need to discuss, as well as paper or a writing program nearby for taking notes, are also great ways to make the most of the call.
Last but not least, when you are in a group call as opposed to a one on one or very small group call, your image will likely end up being very small on the screen. This is especially true if some members are calling in remotely on a mobile device, and if there is a large amount of people in the call. Because of this, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are clearly visible in your screen.
As a general rule, natural lighting is the best option and favored especially by photographers. But as clearly illustrated in this article by CambridgeInColour, there are various kinds of natural light which can drastically affect the lighting involved in your group call. A sunny day may give your image a warm and bright light which can sometimes be too drastic if direct or not filtered by curtains. On the other hand, an overcast day can provide a dim and cool tinted light.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to not be dependent on natural lighting to illuminate you and instead consider having gentle lamps or overhead lights as back up. Your goal is to be well lit but not washed out, and to avoid any stark shadows.
In summary, presenting yourself properly in a video conference call is important but isn’t as difficult as you might think. Even if you have to set up the call and the equipment yourself, rather than calling from the office’s conference or huddle room, it can be fairly inexpensive and moderately painless to set up and run. With a good dose of preparation and the steps explained in the guide above, you should feel more than ready to take on a group call with relative ease.