An essential requirement of remote work is video calls. This tool allows you to meet “face-to-face” with team members, connect personally with clients, and maintain a personal touch as you’re working with people from all over the country. While video calls are great for business, many people can think of a time when they had a less than pleasant experience with a video call.
That terrible experience doesn’t have to be the norm. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your video calls go smoothly every time.
Our team uses Zoom for all our video call needs, but there are dozens of options out there that can fit your unique needs. Some examples include GoToMeeting, Skype, and Join.Me. Regardless of the software you choose, follow these tips to help you have a successful call every time.
Check Your Connection
The first thing that will ruin a video call is not being able to finish that call due to your internet or phone connection. Before you hop on a video call, make sure you are well connected so that your screen won’t freeze or your call won’t drop.
Find a quiet spot.
Remote work allows you to work from almost anywhere as long as you are properly prepared. Video calls are an important component of remote work, but they work best when everyone can hear clearly, and this means minimizing external noise as much as possible. If you can’t find a guaranteed quiet place, use your mute button when you’re not speaking so that the noise around you doesn’t distract those you’re calling.
Headphones are a must.
Even if you are able to have your call in a quiet place, headphones allow you to pick up everything other members of the call are saying. This keeps you from having to ask someone to repeat a statement or missing any important information. In addition to this, the audio quality of headphones are often times much better than the audio quality of your computer speakers.
Try playing the quiet game.
The mute button was mentioned above, but it’s worth talking about again. It’s really good etiquette to go ahead and mute yourself when you’re not talking. This makes sure no background noises come through to your fellow callers, and shows you want to give them your undivided attention.
Consider your wardrobe.
Maybe we should tweak that to say “Consider your wardrobe...from the waist up.” One of the great things about a video call is you can make one while wearing your slippers. However, don’t try to make one with the fuzzy robe that matches those slippers. Choose clothing that is appropriate to the tone and formality of the call. And when in doubt, always lean toward being more professional.
Upload a profile pic.
Our Zoom account allows you to upload a photo to your profile. This picture is a personal touch, and if you are using the audio only feature of Zoom, it’s a tangible reminder that your call is occurring with another person with unique thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
One of the reasons I gravitate towards video calls is that it keeps me from trying to multi-task. In a regular call (audio only), it’s tempting to send Slack messages, check emails, or work on a sales proposal while you're on that call. This is especially tempting if you’re already working remotely because you’re already in the mindset of working from your remote location. If you were to spend the entirety of a video call multi-tasking, it negatively impacts the effort to meaningfully connect.
Create an agenda.
As great as video calls are, they are still a bit limited when it comes to “feeling out” the temperature of a room and those you are talking to. An agenda helps a call flow smoothly, keeps everyone focused, and allows all callers to think of any questions ahead of time.
These are just a few of the things that we have learned about video calls since we’ve prioritized remote work as a way to care for our team. Interested in thoughts and tips like the ones here? Make sure you subscribe to our blog for regular news and updates!