Conquering Video Calls

Just like real life meetings, video calls can be nerve-racking. They can also be hilariously awkward, a great example is after a painfully long silence, you always still manage to talk at the exact same time as someone else. That’s not to say they can’t be incredibly productive. In fact, 94% of businesses who use video conferencing state that the company benefits from greater productivity[1]. To have worthwhile meetings with video, it’s important to conquer your video call confidence issues, on that note, let’s get going.

A certified newbie

We’re all newbies at one point, the first time trying something is scary. Whether this be riding a bike, learning to drive, flying a rocket into space (we’ve all been there), once you’ve got over the initial fear things get easier. The same goes for video calling. Sure, your first ever meeting with video might include some hiccups (hopefully not literally) but stick with it, you’ll soon take the fear out of video.

It’s important that you get used to your webcam reflection. You ever seen yourself on video and thought to yourself wow, do I really look like that? There’s a reason it’s such a surprise. The vain creatures we are means that we’re used to seeing ourselves in a mirror, which wait for it, is a reverse image of ourselves. So, when we see the reverse of that image (you still with us?), it can be quite a shock. But this can be solved by good old familiarity, the more you see yourself on camera, the more comfortable you become.

It’s all about the prep

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again (and probably many more times), preparation is super-duper important. An effective way to sedate those butterflies in your tummy is to do your prep. If you go to a meeting with no clue what it’s about or what you want to say, then of course you’re not going to be full of confidence.

The same applies to video calls and how to prepare for one. You will want to test out the tech beforehand, this ensures you know exactly how to use all the features such as screen share, present document, online chat, agendas and more. Knowledge around the features and how the tech works will only bolster your confidence when it’s showtime. Location is important too, try not to have a meeting at your local food market.  Choose a place where you feel calm, cool, and composed (the 3 cs) with relatively good lighting so you don’t appear as a mysterious shadow. Last but not least, if you’re working remotely then get dressed. It doesn’t have to be black tie, just make the effort to change out of your loungewear (the top half at least).

Know the unwritten rules

Great, just, great, there’s unwritten rules I need to follow. Don’t worry they’re all fairly straightforward and by following and understanding video call etiquette you’ll be closer to conquering any confidence issues you might have.

  • Rule 1: We’ve already touched on this slightly but arrive on time and prepared. This way you’ll know exactly what’s on the agenda, your role in the meeting and hopefully avoid saying anything too silly.
  • Rule 2: Stay engaged during the meeting. This is just common courtesy.
  • Rule 3: Make use of the mute button. No one is going to be offended if you put yourself on mute if you’ve got some background noise, quite the opposite it’s appreciated.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll have better meetings, simples.

There’s a time for video

One way to knock your confidence is to use video when it’s not necessary. Knowing when to use video calls keeps them exciting and will help you be more productive when you have them. If an email, instant message or conference call will get the job done, that’s fine. You don’t need to feel pressured to always have your video on. Try and save it for those occasions when you need to discuss something in depth, when that virtual face-to-face really does benefit the meeting. This will help with your video call confidence because you achieve stuff in the meeting and no ones time gets wasted.

Familiarity, preparation, manners and knowing when to use video will help you overcome any confidence issues you have. So, you know what they say, there’s no time like the present!