Using Video to Make Working from Home Easier
Working from home has been part of my day to day life for a few years now. Ever since I started my business. Though working from home has certainly not been for everyone in the past, with COVID-19 it’s looking like it might be a new reality for many.
With that in mind here are my Top 10 Video Tips to help you both look professional on video, and also maximise time spent…
TIP # 1: MAKE A PLAN.
Always come prepared by bullet-pointing what you want to talk about during your video or video chat. This will keep the meeting straight to the point and within the timeframe you have allowed for. (It also helps to minimise any unprofessional silences or “umms…“).
TIP # 2: TURN ON DO NOT DISTURB.
If your computer has this option, it’s always worth using. It will help keep you focused on the task at hand and prevent all those loud (email “whoosh”, or text “bing”) notifications from interrupting your call.
TIP # 3: USE HEADPHONES.
If you don’t have a microphone, this is always a great way to ensure your call has clear audio and minimised background noise. You certainly don’t want to rely on your computer’s inbuilt microphones (which often aren’t very good). So, pop those headphones in!
TIP #4: LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING!
There’s nothing worse than barely being able to see the face of the person you’re video chatting, because of shadows or poor lighting. Good lighting looks professional, and helps with eye contact and engagement. So, take some time to find the perfect spot (I usually find near a window with natural light to be perfect!).
TIP # 5: ANGLES ARE EVERYTHING.
Avoid those double chins when using a laptop, by raising it up just above your normal eyeline. And if you don’t have a laptop stand, then try using books (I usually find a stack of 3-5 thick books on a desk to be perfect!).
TIP # 6: DRESS APPROPRIATELY
One of my favourite things about video calls – you can definitely do them in your pyjama pants! However, I would definitely recommend that you make an effort on the top half. Wear what you would if you were meeting that person face to face.
TIP # 7: PAY ATTENTION.
You hopefully wouldn’t start browsing Facebook in a meeting, so don’t do it in a video call. I recommend sitting forward in your seat when someone talks to you, and if you need to type anything, then mute your microphone so they can’t hear the keyboard clicks.
TIP # 8: SET THE SCENE.
Nothing screams unprofessional quite like seeing someone’s overflowing laundry basket in the background! Depending on the professional level of the call – I recommend either sitting in your office space if you have one OR in front of a blank wall. Keeping the background neat and unobtrusive minimises distraction and helps keep it professional.
TIP # 9: ZOOM / SKYPE.
These video chat programs are great, especially if you want to chat with more than one person. Skype lets you blur your background, and Zoom allows you to smooth over your appearance (love that one!). Zoom also lets you change your background too – A great option if you can’t find the perfect place to sit!
TIP # 10: SORT THE KIDS.
If possible, schedule calls for times the kids are likely to be occupied. Set them up with an activity and snack to decrease the likelihood they will need to barge in with endless demands. Or if you have a 2nd adult at home, tag team your video calls so they can field child demands.