Over the past few months, our social media feeds have been graced with humorous videos of video conferencing fails. From bathroom-related blunders to adorable interview interruptions on live TV, there are numerous ways to offer less than your best during a video call.
Servicing customers from home vs. in a contact center often creates a more relaxed work environment, so it can be hard to determine what standard of professionalism you should meet during video meetings. From daily stand-ups with your agents to check-ins with contact center managers to team happy hours, being on camera is now a normal part of daily life. Though your calls may range from professional to casual, there are some tricks that can help you create a winning video set-up in any situation.
In this blog, we’ve put together a few of these tips to help you choose the right tools, attire, and image to use during all of your future video conferencing experiences.
How to look your best on a video conference call
1. Choose your setting
Creating a great video image starts before you even jump on your next call. Search your home for a great spot to use as your background. Though you may have an office space already, you need to look for a neutral, uncluttered area. Often, the best option is to put your back to an empty wall. Wherever you choose, just ensure that it provides a professional setting. Having an unmade bed, dirty dishes or messy room behind you will only distract others.
2. Focus on lighting
As any selfie-obsessed individual will tell you, lighting is everything when it comes to cameras. Position yourself so your lighting is behind the camera and illuminating your face. Try to use bright natural light or a lamp rather than relying on your screen brightness or overhead lighting. If you have to join a call at night or in a dim room, additional lighting is even more important. Above all, make sure the other participants can see you well, especially during a recorded webinar or discussion.
3. Work the camera
Once you’ve found a good balance of light, play with your camera to find the most flattering angle. Adjust either your seating or the position of your laptop or webcam to place it at eye level. You can prop your laptop on books or find a seat that places you lower than the camera. When the camera is eye-level and head-on, you won’t leave others feeling like they’re looking down on or up to you. When setting your camera up, just make sure you can still use your device without disrupting the view to prevent mid-meeting mishaps.
4. Dress smart
Though you may want to dress to impress, eye-catching outfits can be distracting on video. Instead, choose solid and bold colors without patterns, plaids, or stripes. While you don’t need to wear a suit and tie, you should still present a professional appearance. Follow your company’s or contact center’s dress code, if they’ve given any guidelines. If not, try to treat each meeting with the same care you’d give for a day in the contact center. At the very least, be sure to wear appropriate bottoms to avoid embarrassing mishaps if you have to stand or move.
5. Practice your demeanor
It’s easy to get distracted or intimidated during a video conference call. Unfortunately, everyone can see the moment you start surfing the web or looking at yourself rather than the person you’re addressing. During every call, look right into the camera or at the person you’re talking to in order to maintain a connection. This can help you stay focused and look more professional.
6. Prioritize call security
There are numerous free video services available, but you often trade costs for security. Before making any calls, ensure your service uses security measures such as private recordings, user verification, and meeting passwords to protect your data and employees. Setting clear guidelines about which services are approved and what can be shared off of your company network can also help strengthen security.
7. Monitor sensitive data
Screen sharing is a powerful tool that can easily create big problems. Remind employees that everyone can see everything that is visible on their screens, not just the information they intend to share. This includes browser tabs, file names, desktop images, and bookmarks. Encourage users to keep their computers free of personal clutter and use during business hours to further avoid uncomfortable moments.
8. Keep noise to a minimum
Our microphones pick up more noise than we think, which can sometimes lead to background audio interference. When joining a video call, make sure you’re in a quiet space, preferably with a door between you and any other noise. Headphones and headsets can help minimize background noise and may also offer better microphone quality. Muting your microphone when you’re not speaking is another great way to prevent unnecessary noise.
9. Test your tools
When callers have to adjust their tools, location, or distractions during a call, it creates frustrations and delays for everyone involved. By testing your set-up before joining the call, you can ensure a smooth experience from your end. Having a backup plan in case you run into issues can also help you appear prepared and professional, maintaining a high standard for others to follow.
Servicing customers from home is an adjustment for contact center agents, supervisors, and managers but with a little preparation and video meeting tips, you’ll be connecting with your contact center teams and managers and looking your best.
Originally published Jun 23, 2020, updated Jun 15, 2021