Ready for Your Webcam Closeup?
Video-conferencing has become a vital communications tool for people working from home. Whether you’re meeting with clients, suppliers, or taking a journalist on a virtual tour of your latest projects, here are some basic guidelines for a successful call.
Equipment and Location Preparation
- If using a laptop to connect, make sure it’s fully charged
- Do a background check—for the camera. Tidy up any shelves that are visible. Draw the curtain, if there’s a window behind you. Consider what’s on the wall: A firm logo or project renderings are a more suitable background than family photos. If working from home, make sure you are in a clean, neat environment. Try to make your workspace look as professional as possible
- Position the camera properly. Looking slightly upward or directly ahead are the most flattering angles. This can be tricky if you’re using a laptop; elevate it close to eye-level where possible. Adjusting your chair can also help frame the shot
- Check lighting conditions. Avoid backlit settings, which cast you as an ominous, dark silhouette. Side lighting or lights directed at your face from behind the monitor/screen are best. Test your lighting setup to eliminate shadows
- Be prepared to adjust the mic’s volume settings [input and output] once the interview begins, to balance ambient noise levels
- Mute notifications on your phone
- Dress neatly and professionally. Avoid bright colors. And take care not to blend in with your background!
- Have a glass or bottle of water nearby, to help with a sudden dry throat
- Sit upright and remain still. Having both feet flat on the floor helps ensure good posture and precludes fidgeting
- Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera lens
- Speak in a natural tone
- Avoid using jargon
Just as with audio-only conference calls, it’s always a good idea to keep a list of the participants’ contact info handy, in case technical glitches interrupt the session and you need to coordinate a response.