Most, if not all of us are confined at home, no thanks to this coronavirus crisis we are facing. But then, even if we are undergoing this extremely traumatic experience in fighting an unseen enemy, there’s still work to be done. While it used to be that we need to schedule conference rooms and book restaurants to meet with our teammates and clients, we now need to make sure we have somewhere to accept meetings from our “home offices” – whether it be in the bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, or for those with foresight, their home offices. Attending meetings is such a big part of working and whether you are working in the office or in the comforts of home, you need to know how to successfully hold them. With your laptop, videoconferencing platform, and agenda in tow, what else do you prepare as you embark on your journey to becoming a remote working video conferencing pro?
Look the part
The way you look in your videoconference doesn’t just matter to the attendees of your meeting, but it will also affect how you conduct yourself in your meeting. When you just brushed your hair, grab the nearest and most presentable top and wear it five minutes before a video conference, you will feel rushed and unfocused during the meeting. Thus, you need to prepare your clothes and your appearance in a video conference, just like how you prepare yourself when you’re going to the office. Take a shower, shave (for the men), and wear your power attire and feel the difference – you will be more confident, alert, and focused during the meeting.
“At the end of the day, even though everyone understands you’re working from home, it’s important to project a certain image of how you want to be seen as a professional,” says Linda Raynier, a career strategist and YouTuber with nearly 630,000 subscribers. “You want to show there’s no difference between working from home and going into work.”
Make sure your background doesn’t distract anyone
What you want to avoid when conducting a videoconference is your teammates or your client wearing weird expressions when they see you on their screens, and if pressed, asking you what that hanging thing is behind you. You certainly don’t want dirty dishes, laundry, or dusty walls making your meeting attendees uncomfortable when they see that on your video. Look for a corner in your place that has a professional, plain background, install lighting fixtures, and test yourself by opening your laptop’s camera and recording something of you and your background, so you can check how it looks like.
In fact, many video conferencing programs allow you to change the background to something else entirely. So if you think the time is ripe for something a little more relaxing than a plain blue or green background then perhaps a woodland scene or Lakeland background might be the way to go. It obviously depends on the context of your meeting but having the ability to flavor your meeting with something complimentary to the subject matter might be a neat touch.
Run a tech check
As suggested earlier, make sure your camera is functioning properly by doing a recording before the meeting. Your headset has to be in good condition too, with a functioning mute button that you can use when you’re not the one doing the talking. You wouldn’t want to distract the other attendees with a couch or a sneeze, would you?
Headsets are purpose-built to make your voice sound clear and eliminate outside noise. Cutting out in the middle of a big meeting, or having your teammates hear the garbage truck pass by is not a good look. If you’ve been relying on a sub-par microphone setup for your conference calls, this guide has you covered.
Speaking of sound…
Even with a top-of-the-line headset and camera, there may still be other audio factors that may be out of your control. From the neighbor’s lawn mowing to your baby’s sudden crying, it may feel like you are helpless against these noises tat can distract your meeting. Or are you helpless? There are apps available that do a phenomenal job in canceling background noise so that your video conference attendees don’t get distracted by the sounds of a dog howling or a big bike passing by.
One solution: Krisp is an AI-powered noise-cancellation technology that can virtually eliminate those kinds of noises. And while Krisp is a paid program, in response to the coronavirus, the developers of Krisp have introduced a free tier of service.
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