One of the changes brought about by the coronavirus is the transition to working remotely. With more people working at home amid the crisis, teams are relying on virtual meetings to operate. Even after the crisis has passed, it’s likely that teleconferencing will become a large part of the average employee’s workflow. The new medium introduces new challenges, as the skills that were once previously used to communicate effectively no longer work in the digital environment. That being said, it just takes a little readjustment before you can crush your next teleconference, virtual meeting, or web conference.
Where you place the camera and how you interact with it carries a lot of weight when it comes to video conferencing. Eye contact still matters even when you’re working remotely, and to achieve this, be sure to look at the camera while you’re speaking. It may be tempting to try to make “eye contact” with the people on your screen while you’re talking, but that takes your attention away from the camera and can make you come across as being unfocused.
The best placement for the camera is at eye level or higher. A laptop on a low desk can create a very unflattering angle that, even worse, makes you appear less authoritative and professional. There are many configurations you can try to raise your laptop or monitor to the appropriate level.
Platforms like Zoom can allow you to import a virtual background in case your surroundings are less than ideal for video conferencing. If that’s not available, make sure that you can clean up your background and appear more professional. An ideal setup for a video meeting is to have a neutral wall behind you, but if this isn’t an option, the best thing you can do is to frame the shot so that you fill most of the space with your head and shoulders.
Sitting Still and Speaking Up
Proper meeting etiquette still applies even when you’ve gone digital, so the golden rule is that if you wouldn’t do it in a real meeting, don’t do it in a virtual meeting. If you make a sudden movement or fidget, you’ll take the attention away from the speaker, and everyone will notice.
The same general tips that apply to public speaking work here as well. When it’s your turn to talk, be sure to speak loudly and clearly. Pretend you’re in a large room where your voice needs to carry, but be mindful not to yell. There’s a big difference between coming off as authoritative and overbearing.