We're living a completely new "normal" these days where we're trading in-person meetings and office life to video conferences.
It's an adjustment, that's for sure. In this new world of presenting online, meeting online, collaborating online, there's not really a "standard" for how we're supposed to show up. I've put together a list of 8 tips to help you look and feel more professional while on a video conference.
1) Invite them to the meeting via email.
When you are sending a link to the meeting, make sure to send it to their email address as opposed to texting them. Give them the choice to join from their phone or computer. Mute the video conference until you begin. Be aware that when you join you need to make sure your line is muted. This will avoid any awkwardness when joining a call if you're also finishing up something else (keep that video off too until you're ready). I always do this because I’m usually in the middle of a conversation with my daughter, son, or husband and I want to make sure they aren’t a part of the zoom conference.
2) Mute the video conference until you begin.
Be aware that when you join you need to make sure your line is muted. This will avoid any awkwardness when joining a call if you're also finishing up something else (keep that video off too until you're ready). I always do this because I’m usually in the middle of a conversation with my daughter, son, or husband and I want to make sure they aren’t a part of the zoom conference.
3) Show up early!
Make sure you join a couple minutes early. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I think it’s important to remember since we are all in our homes.
4) Make sure the background is pleasant - move your junk!
It’s easy to get distracted with clutter, so just move it out of the way. You are in your space and inviting someone in, and they are making judgments whether they mean to or not. Present the best version of yourself and the environment that you are in.
5) Close the door if you can.
Do the call from a room you can close the door if possible. I know this isn’t always going to be a choice, but I want you to do that for yourself in order to not be distracted. I know we are all home, your kids may be home with you, so give yourself that space.
6) Print what you need beforehand.
Don’t pause the screen to go look at it. It’s awkward when you pause the screen and people have to look at it. To that point, get as organized as possible before the call. That way you aren’t shuffling through a bunch of papers.
7) Learn to screen share if you don’t know how.
This is a really useful tool, I’ve been using it a ton. It’s a great way for people to see what you’re seeing on your screen and for you to also be able to teach them how to do something.
8) Do your damn hair.
Ok, I get it, we’re home and no one is expecting perfect right now, and I’m on that page. However, I want this for you. I want you to feel like your most confident self, and it’s hard to do that when you’re not done-up the way you would present yourself in life. Take the time to do that for yourself whether it takes 20 minutes or an hour. Give yourself that space, and you will have a way better experience.
If this is our new normal for at least a while, I hope these tips are helpful for improving your professional image while on a video conference call.