Unless you typically work from home, you are one of the millions of people who are now adjusting to working from your home office, living room, or maybe even your kitchen. And that means, the vast majority of us are also struggling with the option of clicking the enable video option during that conference call.
We get it! At Walk West, we facilitate professional development trainings for our clients. And we have not conducted one training in which someone didn’t say, “I hate being on camera!” Even though an audio conference calls allows you to wear your fuzzy robe while working, here are three reasons why video is essential to making that call more productive.
First, it’s a time saver. Think of all the times you’ve been on a conference call while also checking or even sending emails. Have you ever asked someone to repeat themselves on a conference call because you were only half-listening? This attempt at multi-tasking often delays the meeting. It also breaks trust with others on the call because you’re essentially wasting their time. Time is valuable. Video conferencing forcing everyone on the call to be present.
Second, video conferencing also can improve your relationship with your co-workers and clients. We all know in emails and text messages the written tone can be misinterpreted. The same can be said on a conference call. Without seeing someone’s expression, certain vocal tones can be taken the wrong way. Let’s be honest, you aren’t likely to roll your eyes or yawn of boredom if others can see you. Video can ensure a more positive experience.
Finally, most of us are quarantined. Seeing people’s faces right now should be welcomed. You haven’t seen your co-workers in person in weeks. And we need to preserve that connection with our colleagues and our clients. Even when we return to our offices, seeing subtle expressions, whether it be a smile or an inquisitive look that can lead to a deeper conversation, makes a meeting more productive.
Before you begin your video conference:
- Look around. We are naturally curious creatures. So make sure you tidy up and remove anything behind you that would be distracting. You are essentially inviting people into your home. Preferably, find a space in your home that you can designate for video conference calls.
- Make sure the space is well lit. Try to avoid white walls behind you. Some people have gotten creative and put up backdrops to spruce up their background. Many video conferencing apps offer virtual backgrounds, which is a really cool option.
- Also avoid sitting directly in front of a window because it can make you look like a silhouette. Instead, set up an area where you are facing a window so that you benefit from natural lighting. There are also handy clip-on lights for your computer, that are under $20, if natural lighting is not an option.
The final piece to your video conference puzzle, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Don’t assume just because “you’re working from home” you shouldn’t dress professionally. Maybe you can skip the suit or dress, but it’s not the best idea to wear that baseball cap either. Engage that video option and let them see that you’re present and engaged.
And most importantly, don’t let a fear of the camera hold you back professionally.