Oh, for the good old days, when maintaining face on a conference call was as simple as putting the dog out and not blowing your nose directly into the speaker. Now, companies are increasingly relying on video conferencing technology to manage their remote meetings. Mostly, this is a good thing: the old, phone-based calls didn’t offer an opportunity to read the body language of the other callers, meaning that we were missing out on up to 90 percent of the message. Video conferencing allows us to get back some of that communication potential — but potentially at a high cost.
Inspired by Katrina Taylor at the Levo League’s “7 Conference Call Commandments You Must Follow,” we offer you a few ways to make your video conference calls a success.
1. Practice, practice, practice.
Get used to the technology before you sign onto your chat, or risk being that person with the giant forehead looming up from the bottom of the screen.
2. Watch your body language.
Video conferencing is even more demanding than an in-person meeting. Try to avoid scratching your nose or rolling your eyes. What might slide by in an in-person meeting with multiple participants will stand out if the camera switches to you in the middle of biting off that last annoying hangnail.
3. Don’t eat or drink.
It’s fine to keep water nearby, so that you don’t wind up parched midway through expressing an idea, but now is not the time for lunch. There might be something grosser than listening to someone eat on a conference call, but we’re not sure what that is.
4. Do speak up.
“Make sure your voice is clear and audible, without resorting to shouting,” Taylor writes. “Communicating over the phone can be tricky — try to allow brief pauses before responding to avoid interrupting your supervisor or cutting that really important client off. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to contribute and share your opinion.”
5. Dress up.
Wear what you would if you were meeting in person, not your lounging-around clothes or, worse, your pajamas. Even if the video feature isn’t turned on, dressing the part can help you act more professionally, express your ideas more clearly, and just generally feel like you’re at work and ready to go.
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