12 Tips for Video Conferencing While You Work From Home

The hands of a woman on the keyboard of her laptop, with four people in videoconference on the screen. Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

As the global workforce moves to a home-based business model, conference room meetings have moved to online video calling applications. If you’re new to videoconferencing, we’re here to help!

Close other applications for better performance

Before you start your video conference, take the time to save your work and close any applications you don’t need. In particular, you want to close all programs containing personal data or using too much CPU power.

Too many open applications will slow down your computer during a video call. Indeed, the call itself requires a lot of resources, especially if you are using a light laptop. If you hear the fans spinning during a call or the video conferencing application begins to slow down, quit all other open applications.

Take precautions before sharing your screen

If you are going to share your screen during a video call, it is a good idea to take additional precautions so that people don’t see anything private or embarrassing. First, go to your browser and close all tabs, especially anything you don’t want someone else to see.

Then activate do not disturb mode on your Mac or Windows computer. This ensures that other users will not accidentally see private chat messages when you share your screen.

RELATED: How to share your screen without revealing private information

Check the Internet connection

An Internet speed test on Fast.com.

Before your call, use a speed test tool, such as Fast.com or Speedtest.net, to test your Internet speed. If you’re not getting enough speed, get closer to your Wi-Fi router or try another tips to boost your Wi-Fi signal. You can also use one of the these tools to speed up your Internet connection.

RELATED: How to get a better wireless signal and reduce wireless interference

Choose a bright spot and a neutral background

A man wearing headphones and waving his laptop.djile / Shutterstock

It is best to make a video call in a place with lots of natural light. That way your face will be clear. However, if your room does not have a lot of sun, try to sit under soft fluorescent lighting (nothing too harsh).

It’s best to choose a place with a neutral background too – nothing too busy. If you sit right in front of a wall, it should be fine.

If you can’t find a suitable background, you can try to blur your background on Skype. If you use Zoom, you can even switch to a virtual background.

RELATED: How to hide your background during zoomed video calls

Test video and audio

Before you start a video call, make sure your video and audio devices are connected and working properly. Most video conferencing tools have a test call service. Look under the options or settings menu in your video conferencing application.

For example, in Skype, you can access the “Audio and Video” section in “Preferences” to make a test call.

Position the camera at eye level

It is important that you position the camera at the optimal level. Try to put it at eye level so as not to look up or down. You don’t really want your colleagues to look at your nostrils at an important meeting.

In addition, when you speak, do not look at yourself or the chat window, look directly into the camera. In this way, others will not feel distracted.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Better Watch Conference Calls and Streaming Video

Get a better mic or camera

Webcam RazerAmazon

For occasional calls, your laptop’s built-in microphone and camera should do the trick. But if your laptop is a few years old, you may notice that the video is not as clear as the camera on your smartphone.

If you are going to participate in online meetings daily, you may want to consider buying a better camera and / or a helmet.

Then try to use headphones or earphones when you are in video communication. Due to the proximity of your mouth, it will sound better than using your laptop’s built-in microphone. To avoid latency, opt for wired headphones.

Organize beforehand

If you are hosting a meeting, try to have all of your talking points and documents ready in advance. If your colleagues need to see a document, send it before the call and make sure everyone has access to all the necessary data before the video conference.

This way, you won’t have to spend the first few minutes of the call waiting for everyone to know.

To be dressed properly

Videoconference outfitAndrey_Popov / Shutterstock

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you can attend meetings in your pajamas. Of course, there is also no need to overdo it with a three-piece suit. Find common ground and dress casual clothing or formal, or whatever the dress code at your workplace.

Yes, pants are optional, but why risk it? If you forget to turn off your camera before getting up at any point, it could be disastrous.

Mute when you don’t speak

When you are in a videoconference with many participants while you are at home, it is best to remain silent most of the time. Only reactivate when you need to speak.

This eliminates any background noise on your side. Also, if someone walks into the room and starts talking while you’re on the phone (a very real possibility since you’re at home), you won’t have to rush to find the mute button.

Concentrate as if you were attending in person

While it’s tempting to use video conferencing time to check your inbox or read articles, you probably shouldn’t be. Try to be careful when someone is talking and keep your eyes on the camera.

Basically, treat it like you would for an actual meeting. Would you like to scroll through cat memes on Reddit if you were in a conference room right now? Otherwise, don’t do it during a video call either.

If you type or watch something, your colleagues may tell you that you are not paying attention.

Try to keep pets and children away, but don’t stress

If you have children or pets, it’s best to have someone look after them during a video call. If there is no one else to watch them, try engaging them in something they enjoy, such as watching cartoons.

Even if you follow these steps, your kids can still break into the room, but don’t worry too much. Given the current situation, everyone should be fairly understanding.

If this happens, politely ask your colleagues if you can walk away for a moment, and they will surely understand.

If you are new to working from home, take a look at some tips and tricks to improve the experience.

RELATED: Tips for working from home (from a guy who’s been doing it for a decade)

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