31 March 2020

Video conference calls have become essential during the coronavirus outbreak, allowing colleagues to stay updated and feel connected. Just like face to face meetings, video calls have their own tacit rules. First, ask yourself if the video call is really necessary. If it is, here are our five tips to never fail a conference call from home.

2:00 min

1 “Mic check 1 2 3”

You may have done tons of conference calls from the office, but now that your desk has moved to your home it is worth doing an audio/video test before connecting. Check everything is working with a colleague or a friend – this will spare you from any embarrassing attempts to connect when the official call begins.

2 Sit facing a light source

Sitting with your back to a window or a light source obscures your face and produces a harsh silhouette effect. Find the right spot, facing a window, desk lamp, or other light sources to ensure your face is well illuminated and clearly visible. After all, the main reason for doing video calls is so we can see each other!

3 Choose the right background

While a completely white background is not ideal, walls overflowing with pictures, books and souvenirs should be avoided – these will distract your fellow participants might also disclose aspects from your personal life that you might want to keep private. Check your video conferencing software – it might have a feature to digitally blur your background or insert a generic background.

4 Dress appropriately

Yes, you are home, but the way you look on a screen still makes an impact on people’s perception. Dress appropriately – avoid tracksuits, pyjamas and scruffy t-shirts. Maintain presentable attire. Even if it’s just your face and shoulders in the frame, you never know if you’ll need to stand up for some reason.

5 Practise good etiquette

Last but not least, as soon as you stop talking, mute your microphone!