With the world conducting myriad formal and informal meetings and conversations on online platforms, there’s never been a better time to brush up your preparation steps to make a great impression.
When you pay close attention to how you come across on the video call, you can choose the changes that serve you. Here are some simple steps to prepare you well before you go online.
Deliberately set up your environment for virtual success. Create a professional-looking background. Hang a picture that’s attractive but not distracting. Place a table behind you with one or two classy-looking ornaments. Check the image: does it project you in a way that you want to be remembered?
If you want to have a bookshelf behind you, carefully tidy up and curate the books you have on it. Ensure the book titles send the right message about you for a professional meeting.
Place a light source or lamp in front of your face to light it pleasantly.
Put your laptop on a stack of books so that the camera is level with your eyes.
Minimise risks and disturbances. Shut the window to block outside noise. Turn off the fan. Close the door to send a firm “Do Not Disturb” message to the household.
Set up resources you’ll need in advance. A glass of warm water with lemon is perfect for a clear voice. Place pen, paper, tissues, reading glasses – anything you might need – within easy reach.
Your Audio and Visual
Whichever videoconferencing platform you’re using, be sure to set up earlier and test the technical features before your meeting.
A general rule of thumb is to always start on Mute and with camera off. Turn on the camera and turn off Mute only when you’re composed and ready to start.
Upload a good photo of yourself with your account name so that even before you turn on your camera, your audience knows what you look like.
Turn off all audio and visual notifications on your computer and put your phone on silent.
Do a Test Run
At least 30 minutes before your important meeting, record yourself delivering your key messages. Then play it back and analyse it.
Are you projecting your best self on the video call? Is your face fully visible? Does your background look professional?
Did you make good eye contact with the camera? It is natural to look at your notes or at the screen during a meeting, but remind yourself to always look into the camera frequently. When you do, the other party gets the impression you’re making eye contact – the best gauge of honesty, confidence and sincerity.
Even when you’re not speaking, adopt an alert posture. Remember: the camera is always on you!