With more of us adapting to working from home we need to make home-working as comfortable and productive as possible. It’s all about creating a space where you can get your work done, improve the quality of your meetings and be as professional as possible. My family are dotted around the world and I’m currently working from home. I’m a seasoned veteran when it comes to Skype with mum or, Zoom meetings with the office. So here are a few handy tips to get you started to improve your working from home environment and the quality of your calls with the Office or Clients.
Front lighting is your Best Friend
The best way to make your video calls look clear and professional instead of blurry, grainy with shadowy patchy light is to get yourself some lighting. That means “make sure there’s a light source illuminating the front of your face.” If you want to get perfect even lighting that will impress and make you stand out, then the Bi-Colour Ring Light could be an option for you. Or, for those who want something that sits right on your desk then the Fovitec 25cm Desktop light is perfect. You need to make sure that light source illuminating your face is the brightest light source in the room, and make sure that you have not got your back to a sunny window.
As you can see here are some images with a good lighting setup
Make a Good Impression & Sit Up Straight
Think about how you look and the look of your environment. You don’t really want to take work meetings with your computer on your lap sitting on the couch dressed in your pants! It’s always best practice to find a way to sit up straight while you’re on a video call, tilt your head just slightly forward. This will make your head look bigger. You might have seen this being done on social media, making your head look a bit larger draws more attention to you and makes you look more photogenic than if you were to sit slumped back with your head behind your shoulders. It’s also better for your posture.
Get the Right Camera Angle
Whether you’re using the built-in webcam on your laptop or an external camera, try to make sure that it is at or, just above eve level. If this is not possible sit a bit further back and try not to drop your chin right down. This will give you a much more flattering image and give your face better definition. Never look straight down at your webcam as this is rarely a good angle for any face shape! Also, make sure to make eye contact with the camera regularly as this is effectively the same as making eye contact in person. What’s behind you? Keeping people’s attention during a video call or conference can be difficult so make sure that your background is tidy and clutter-free with nothing on show that you don’t want people to see. An easy way to do this could be to use a pop-up background (link to backgrounds) or, choose a well-lit plain wall.
Here are some images with poor posture and bad camera angles:
And here is a image with good posture:
Use a Microphone & Wear your Headphones.
The last thing you want is there to be an echo in the room. If you use a microphone and headphones you won’t end up with the kind of video call audio loop where your client or teams voices gets picked up by your laptop microphone and then send it back into the call as fresh audio. This creates a cascade of echoes that will disrupt the meeting.
If you wear headphones and use a quality microphone like the Boya BY-M1 Lavalier Mic your boss’s or teams voices will go directly into your ears and your microphone won’t catch it.
Wait Your Turn to Talk & Mute if you can.
While we’re on the subject of audio, just a little thing to be aware of when video conferencing, the video systems don’t really handle simultaneous audio streams very well. To put it simply: if you and a co-worker are talking at the same time, the app might pick one audio stream to share with the group, this will mean that your important contributions to the meeting might not be heard. There is one video conferencing app that does work very well which is Slack, when in a video conference with multiple co-workers it will enlarge the video of the person who is currently talking so you can focus on them.
Get the Whole Kit in One
I really hope that this has helped you get an idea of what you need to get your video meeting nailed and help you be heard. If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments and either myself or one of the Fovitec team will be in touch to help you out.