Successful Zooming

Zoom like you mean it…

To keep us in touch with work colleagues, friends and family the shift to video calls and conferencing has never been so important. With so many different platforms to choose from its difficult to know if you should be Zooming, Teaming or FaceTiming. Which ever you choose here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of staying connected.

Check your internet connection

It might seem obvious but before your call check your broadband is working well. Its just about being connected but if you have a good connection. Use a speed test tool, like which will test your internet speed. If you’re not getting enough speed, move closer to your Wi-Fi router as this may help if you have a poor signal.

Close down other apps

Be prepaired for the call by saving any work and closing down any apps or programs you won’t need fore you start. You especially want to close any programs that use too much CPU power. Too many open apps will slow down your computer whilst using the video function, because the call itself requires a lot of resources.

Take precautions before sharing your screen

If you’re going to share your screen during a video call, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions so people can’t see anything private. Go to your browser and close all tabs, especially anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to see. Next, enable Do Not Disturb mode. This ensures that others won’t accidentally see messages from private conversations when you share your screen.

Background & light

It’s best to make a video call in a location with ample natural light. This way, your face will be clear. However, if your room doesn’t have plenty of sunlight, try to sit under some soft florescent lighting (nothing too harsh). It’s best to choose a spot with a neutral background — nothing too busy. If you just sit in front of a wall, that should be fine. If you can’t find a suitable background, you can try to blur your background on Skype. If you’re using Zoom, you can even switch to a virtual background.

Check the camera position

It’s important that you position the camera at a good height. Try to put it right at eye level so you’re not looking up or down. If you have the camera too low you will be constantly looking down, colleagues will have an up-nostril shot and will also make it look like you have six chins. Whilst talking, don’t look at yourself, look straight into the camera. This way, others won’t feel like you’re distracted.

Organise beforehand

If you’re running a meeting, try to have all your talking points and documents ready beforehand. If your colleagues need to see a document, send it before the call and make sure everyone has access to all the necessary data prior to the video meeting. This way, you won’t have to spend the first few minutes of the call waiting for everyone to get up to speed.

Dress appropriately & focus

Working from home does not mean you have to let standards slip. Just becuase you own a Wonder Woman onesie doesn’t mean you should be wearing it. You certainly don’t have to wear something formal, it is best to find a smart casual middle ground and remember to do your hair and make-up. 

The other temptation is to just dress the top half, but why risk it. Just because it’s sunny outside and you are sat in your conservatory certainly doesn’t mean you can get away with the bikini bottoms you wore last year in Marbs. 

Make sure you are focused and on top form. Don’t have late nights before your big meeting or presentation. Treat this the same as if you are attending in person. 

Mute yourself when you’re not speaking

When you’re in a video meeting with a lot of participants while you’re at home, it’s best to keep yourself muted most of the time. Only unmute yourself when you need to speak.

Distractions… but don’t stress

Let’s be honest here, this is real life. You’re at home, and chances are you have pets and/or children. If you can make sure the little darlings are cared for, distracted or entertained during your video call then everything will go a lot smoother. 

Disaster strikes. Even though you set up the electronic babysitter and the children were five minutes into ‘Finding Nemo’ you suddenly find your little ones have got bored and just invaded the call. Don’t stress, just politely excuse yourself and usher them back to the other room. Probably best to mute your microphone at this stage so you don’t jeopardise your ‘Mum of the year award’.

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