5 Tips to Host a Successful Video Call

Author: Kirstin Toms/Wednesday, May 20, 2020/Categories: Home Internet

In this era of social distancing, more people are using video not just for remote work but to stay in touch with friends and family. However, those unfamiliar with video conferencing and video chat apps may have issues with everything from slow internet speed to spotty audio when using a wireless internet connection.

How can you present yourself as a professional during a video conference — or even just minimize stress during a virtual family chat?

1. Minimize Background Noise

Most of us don’t have rooms with acoustical treatments to reduce echoes or background noise. At the very least, find a quiet spot to hold your call. Avoid having a video chat near a fan or air conditioner that creates annoying background noise. You’ll also want to hold off on starting that dishwasher or laundry cycle. And be sure you’re in a room away from family members watching TV or listening to music.

2. Find the Perfect Backdrop

While we’re on the topic of backgrounds, you want to present yourself as a professional if you are involved in a video conference for work — even if you’re working from home. Any room where you can sit with a plain wall at your back is the best option. Alternatively, consider hanging photos or plaques that represent your personal brand.

Frame yourself in the video to be sure the background isn’t distracting or comical, such as looking like you have a plant coming out of your head or the ears of a stuffed teddy bear sticking up behind you.

If you’re working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, you might consider hanging a plain-colored curtain or getting a privacy screen to create an optimal video conferencing spot in your home.

If you’re using Zoom for the video conference, you can set a virtual background. Again, pick one that is professional and appropriate. Skype lets you blur the background so you don’t have to pay as much attention to the small details to create a clean, professional setting.

3. Use a Headset and Mic for the Best Audio Quality

Even if you have a quiet household, your computer’s speaker and internal microphone may not provide the clearest connection. For best results, consider investing in a headset with a microphone for crystal clear audio. You may also consider calling in using your home telephone line; you’ll still be able to see the video, but you’ll have the option to shut off your webcam and move around freely instead of remaining seated in front of your computer.

4. Get the Lighting Right

Lighting from behind, whether it’s natural sunlight or LED bulbs in your home, can create a distracting glare on the screen of other conference participants. Aim for natural or lamp lighting from the side of where you are sitting, or try lighting that is directly above you and not visible on camera.

5. Connect Your Smartphone to Your Home’s Wireless Internet for a Better Signal

If you’re participating in or hosting the video conference from your smartphone, make sure to connect your phone to your home’s Wifi for a stronger connection than using your cellular data plan. Wifi provides a stronger, less variable signal than a cell phone connection, which may drop out unexpectedly.

If you’re making video calls more frequently from home, you may want to experiment with positioning your router closer for the best possible signal in your new video conferencing area.  

We’ve all gotten used to video conferencing rather quickly as we embrace social distancing, self-isolation, and remote work during the pandemic. These tips can help you show up at your next virtual meeting as a true professional.

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