While face-to-face time with prospects and clients is preferred, it’s not always possible. Thankfully, video conferencing is an option. Likely, video conferencing will become even more common, as services like GoToMeeting grow and more employees telecommute.
But, before you schedule your next video chat, make sure that you are aware of basic etiquette. In a recent Bizjournals.com article, Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey share 10 tips to make sure your video conferencing etiquette is up to speed. With these tips, your communications will be much more effective. Read on for a few highlights:
- Prepare yourself. If you telecommute, you may be used to chatting over the phone while wearing casual, comfortable clothes. When video conferencing, you need to be a bit more discerning. Make the effort to present a clean, neat, professional appearance. Try not to overdo it: “Don’t distract them with flashy jewelry, dramatic makeup or wild styles,” Houlihan and Harvey write. “Business casual and low key wins the day.”
- Clean your desk. Before you sign on, make sure you’ve organized your desk, tossed out any trash and eliminated clutter. This not only prevents distractions but also adds to your professional image.
- Prep the background. Think about what the audience will see behind your head. Close the blinds over any brightly lit window and take down any distracting art or knickknacks. A bare, neutral wall works best.
- Aim your camera. Align yourself with the camera for optimal viewing. “Ideally, it should be coming from the middle of the screen or even with their eyes,” they suggest. “Don’t sit too close or your head will appear much too large.” Always look at the camera when speaking.
Along with their other suggestions, Houlihan and Harvey hope these tips help others prepare for and conduct successful video conferences. You can make a great impression from miles away by taking the time to present a polished, put-together image. As the authors note, “Think of it as a visit from them to your office.”