10 Image Management Strategies for Video Calls
In the current situation, video calls have become an integral part of business continuity. These could be interactions between your existing colleagues and customers or with people you are connecting for the first time. Let us look at 10 strategies to create the right impression over video calls.
A. Before the call – Preparation
- Camera and frame
Check in advance and ensure the camera is placed slightly elevated, preferably at your eye-level. This enables you to look straight into the camera, rather than looking down. The opposite person can see that you are looking straight towards them rather than looking down at them. Use a book or box to elevate the laptop. Also, do not sit too close or far from the camera. The appropriate frame is to get an unobstructed front view of your face and shoulders.
Also, make sure the background is not distracting. Avoid paintings, pictures, book shelves, etc. so that the focus remains on you through the video call.
It is important to create a professional atmosphere even if one is working from home.
- The right lighting
Ensure there is good lighting in the room. Natural light helps if you are near a window. In a closed room, opt for front or side lighting. Overhead lights may create a shadow. Avoid backlighting at all costs. This makes it difficult for the other person to see you as it creates a silhouette and the video appears dark and grainy.
In case, you do not have good lighting, an easy hack here is using the torch from a mobile phone placed at a slight distance in front of you.
Preferably use a headset or earbuds. Put mobile phones on mute and close windows to avoid any external noise.
- Be prepared for the meeting
Just like any other meeting, be well prepared.
If you are hosting the meeting, ensure the agenda has been sent out in advance. If you are attending the meeting, make sure you have read the agenda as well as prepared your inputs. Also, log in to the meeting a few minutes before the scheduled time to avoid any last-minute technical glitches.
- Dress well
Dressing well is a sign of respect and shows importance that you place on the interaction. Hence, even though it is a video call, ensure you are well dressed. Avoid dominant patterns like stripes, checks, florals as they can be distracting over video. Also, avoid fabrics like satin which could reflect light. Women should avoid chunky jewelry as the mic could pick these sounds and cause disturbance. Hence choose simple, solid (without patterns) clothing with minimal accessories.
- Use the mute option
It is courteous to hit the mute option when you are not speaking. This reduces background noises which can be very distracting during a call, especially with multiple participants.
- Notes and printed material
Keep notes and printed material ready so that you are not flipping through different files on your computer during the meeting. Alternatively, you could keep a few files open on your desktop for easy reference.
- Eye Contact
During a discussion with multiple participants, you may look at the participants. However, during a webinar or a presentation, where you are speaking to a group, look towards the camera. This increases presence and authority and helps you come across as more engaging.
Avoid distractions like checking emails, looking outside the window or speaking with family members (unless inevitable). It is disrespectful and people notice if you are distracted.
- Posture & Gestures
While speaking, ensure your back is straight and you lean closer to the camera. It boosts your energy and makes your voice be heard clearly. If you are listening, it is alright to be a little more relaxed, however avoid slouching as it may look like you are disinterested and casual about the interaction.
Depending on the camera frame, you may use hands to enhance and emphasize points like one would do during a face-to-face meeting. This helps increase your presence over the video call.
Apart from the above, some basic etiquette tips are essential. For example, always seek permission in advance, in case you need to record the call for the benefit of those who may have missed it. Also, avoid eating during a call. Beverages may be acceptable like in a regular meeting. You may use the chat option to ask questions, or remind the host of any unfinished discussions rather than pointing it out to the entire team.
We hope these tips help you make the right impact over your next video call. While it would take us some time to get accustomed to the new ways of working, treat video calls with the same importance as any in-person meeting. This will allow businesses to communicate more effectively and efficiently and indeed help you to grow professionally.