I think it’s fair to say that video meetings have become an all-too-familiar part of our everyday life now that working from home is more common than it’s ever been! And making sure you’re a success in online meetings is a lot more difficult than having a meeting face-to-face. Several problems come to mind: poor connection, home distractions, background clutter and more.
If you’re struggling to impress your colleagues working from home, or are starting a new job and want to make a good impression, read on to discover these top tips on how to master the art of video meetings.
Remove all distractions
When you’re working from home, the number of distractions is multiplied by 1 million compared to when you are in the office. If you have pets that constantly want to play or cuddle, it’s hard to say no and if you have children, you can’t exactly tell them to go on mute for an hour whilst you chat to Brian from Accounts! Not only children and pets, but EVERYTHING in your home is distracting because it’s your stuff – you can’t stop going back to the kitchen, again and again, to get yet ANOTHER biscuit (no one is there to judge), sorting your dirty laundry and popping it in the washing machine to save you from doing it later, or having a look through that book your mum bought you ten years ago, but you just decided to start reading it now. Yes. It’s certainly easy to get distracted at home. But how do you stop?
If you want to be a video meeting god or goddess, dedicate a room or space in your home that is “the work zone.” Remove all distractions from your eye line as well as anything else that doesn’t need to be in the room. And that includes your mobile phone. As long as you don’t need it for work, place your phone in another room. Yes. I know it is hard for most of you – me included. But it is crucial! If you are worried about missing an important call, leave it on ‘loud’ and only get it if it rings. If you follow all of these tips, your eyes won’t start wandering off when you’re talking to your colleagues. Nothing is worse than seeing a colleague, who you are talking to, look at their phone text, or speak to someone in their house.
It might seem obvious, but if you’ve been working from home for a while now, you probably understand what we mean. Wearing your dressing gown all day is not going to put you in the right frame of mind. When you aren’t dressed for work, you are probably not going to feel professional. And having a video call with your boss whilst wearing your favorite scruffy hoody isn’t going to encourage them to give you that all-essential pay rise any time soon.
Instead, get up a bit earlier so that you have time to brush your teeth, have a wash and get dressed in smart casual clothing – keep your interview outfit in the cupboard. It’s all about feeling fresh, professional and comfortable.
Think about what is behind you
I don’t know about you, but when I have a video meeting with a colleague who has lots going on behind them, I don’t listen to a word they say. Whether it be a random toddler running across the screen, a bookshelf full of unsavory literature, a photo gallery of their wedding day, or a pile of leftover takeaway boxes on their kitchen counter, I just can’t help, but look. After all, as humans we are inquisitive creatures, so, your background needs to be mess-free.
We recommend applying a background supplied by the video meeting app, such as a tropical beach, pretend room, etc. If you like to get creative, why not install a gorgeous mural on the wall behind you, such as a sleek geometric wallpaper? Geometric wallpapers look professional but are still trendy enough to look good in your home setting.
Make sure you have a good internet connection
Of course, taking away distractions, getting dressed appropriately and having a neutral background are all great ways to master video meetings. However, if your internet connection is poor, you’re always going to lose. It may seem like an obvious answer, but it’s so important. Finding a new internet provider is one of those jobs that many of us put at the back of our minds and we just put up with what we have got! But it’s time to stop so that you can avoid meetings where your colleagues are constantly repeating, “What was that?”, “You just cut out. What did you say?”, or, “I think you’re on mute?”
If you have a dreadful internet connection, it’s time to break up with your current provider and move on to new and better things. Then you can concentrate on getting your points across and impressing the boss!