Web Conferences, Meetings and Interviews
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Web Conferences, Meetings and Interviews

How to look and sound your best in the virtual world

As seen in Commpro.bizTechnology has fueled the “connected” employee and has empowered the workforce to transition from physical to remote offices without skipping a beat. Even though instant communication such as email and internal messaging systems is the new way of “walking to someone’s cube,” for quick exchanges of information, talking “face-to-face” via WebEx and Skype has become a lot more common for more in-depth discussions and even job interviews.

But with the advantage of using video technology to communicate with customers, colleagues, or even potential employers, you still need to maintain a visual and vocal atmosphere of professionalism. Essentially, you need to always look and sound just as engaged as you would if you were sitting across the conference table from the other person.

There are various “dos” and “don’ts” for remote video meetings, depending on the number of people, the purpose of the meeting, and whether you are showing slides, but here are a few quick tips to help ensure a professional, virtual environment for anyone with a home-based office:

Visually

Look behind you. What others see in your background can give a less-than-professional impression or be distracting. Make sure the background is appropriate. For example, if your home office is in your bedroom, be sure your bed is not visible. And, while meeting participants might enjoy your favorite sports team, seeing the shrine you have of your favorite athlete behind you can be distracting.

Check the lighting. You don’t want to be in the cast of any shadows. Light should be placed in front of you so your face is easy to see, rather than above you. Overhead lighting can cast shadows under your eyes and make you look tired.

The perception of making good eye contact is important. I say “perception” because you should actually look at the camera on your computer when speaking, not at the face on the screen. If you look at the person on the screen, you are essentially looking down.

Carmie’s pro Tip: Put a photo of someone right next to the camera lens and look at the photo when speaking and listening to the other person speak.

Vocally

Invest in a good microphone and don’t rely the one that is integrated in your computer. They pick up ambient sounds and create an “echo” effect. Also, do a sound check prior to your meeting or interview, the last thing you want is for the audio to not work.

Increase your intonation and inflection. Sitting at a desk talking to a computer screen makes it easy to slip into a monotone vocal delivery–and quickly lose the attention of your audience. Be sure you are enunciating clearly and speaking with enthusiasm.

Rehearse what you are going to say. While you shouldn’t sound like a robot, like any presentation or interview you should sound poised and prepared. Set aside time earlier in the week and a few minutes before your meeting and interview to review notes, slides or resume. Record yourself and play it back. This will help you fine-tune the content as well as your speaking style for your responses to questions or presentation.

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