Since we’re all hanging out on Zoom so much these days and I’m basically a pro after working from home for years, I decided it was my civic duty to bring y’all my must-know video conference tips. It’s definitely been a rough transition for a lot of people. We’ve all heard the horror stories. People who forgot they didn’t turn their video off as they went into the bathroom. People whose nude partners walked in the room.
Yeah, you don’t want that to be you.
MUST-KNOW VIDEO CONFERENCE TIPS
So, my job today isn’t to bring you tips on how to have the most productive video conference meeting or anything technical like that. It’s just to give you the tips that will make this process go more smoothly as we all figure out this remote work life.
- Let anyone else in your home know, “Hey, I’ve got a video call!”. You don’t need any surprises walking in (though people tend to be more forgiving of children and pets interrupting!).
- Face a window rather than have a window as a background. The lighting will work in your favor and you won’t be lurking from the shadows.
- Take a quick look behind you. If there’s a pile of laundry on your bed and that’s what’s right behind you, maybe toss it on the floor (or, better yet, fold it and put it away!). Same to piles of dirty dishes or just general mess. If there’s nothing that can be done (I get it, times are crazy!), check out the plug-ins that let you do a green screen background. West Elm just came out with some chic options this week.
- Get dressed from the waist up! You can wear leggings, sweatpants, or joggers all day long, but put on a “dressier” t-shirt or sweatshirt. Wash your face, brush your hair — you can do the bare minimum. I do prefer to do light makeup and my hair because it makes me feel more pulled together and ready to work.
- Mute yourself when you’re not talking. We can hear you typing, breathing, fidgeting. But, don’t forget to unmute yourself. Too many times, I’ve been talking to myself and, then, by the time I realized I was muted, the conversation had moved on.
- If you need to take a bathroom or coffee break, just turn off your screen and excuse yourself quietly. Don’t take the computer with you or you risk not realizing that you didn’t actually turn off your video.
- Small talk at the beginning of each meeting is going to be awkward. It’s fine. We’re all figuring this out together.
DON’T FORGET TO SCHEDULE THAT SOCIAL HAPPY HOUR ON ZOOM!
Lastly, now that everyone has Zoom or WebEx access and we’re all getting accustomed to using it, don’t forget that you can utilize it for social meetings with coworkers or friends! I, for one, absolutely hate FaceTime. I refuse to use it. Even when Adam was abroad for 5 weeks this past summer, I refused to FaceTime.
But, something about a Zoom happy hour with friends isn’t that bad! Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like my face is 90% of the camera because you can actually see some background and context? Maybe I’m getting to a desperate point in this socially distancing era? Whatever it is, I’m 100% on board with using these video conference platforms to their fullest extent.