10 Practical Video Call Tips You Just Can’t Miss!
Mid-March most of our team and our clients started working from home due to COVID-19. Events, trainings and coaching had to quickly pivot to digital and there were those that quickly mastered it and then there were some that struggled. Our public speaking coaching sessions became video call coaching sessions and there are significant differences in the communication methodologies which I will address in this article. For example, one out of ten respondents in a survey said that they had not put on pants or undergarment during a video call in a Zogby analytics survey but imagine doing that in a live presentation. The study surveyed 800 respondents and their results have now put words on some of the things we are experiencing in the many video calls we are now having to attend. We have surely all experienced an awkward moment or two on a video call, so in this article we explore how you can use science-based tips to shine and leave a memorable impression during a video call.
Your Start Position
Let us start with the very obvious one that can enhance the video call experience. Have great light and look straight into the camera. The Zogby analytics survey respondents mentioned that 30% of respondents spent half the video call looking at their own face. Your audience will pick up on it and it isn’t the best approach really. You would be more memorable and likeable if those listening to you felt like you were looking at them. The easiest thing to do is to actually take a post-it and write “look here” and put it next to your camera. This will be a reminder for you to look at it instead of yourself.
Look at the camera angles. There are some things that can annoy the people on the call such as chewing gum, eating while listening but apparently the worst pitfall was sitting too close to a camera according to the survey. The extreme close-ups or camera from low angles can create an illusion of a double-chin or like you are looking down on the other participants. We really don’t want to be doing ourselves a disfavor on the call by doing that. The visual matters. Perhaps you want to put some boxes to lift up your computer or adjust your chair to keep the camera at a comfortable distance, at eye-level so that the audience can ideally see your torso and full face.
Dress to impress
Researchers at Princeton University conducted a study. The participants in the study looked at individuals with different clothing styles. The types of attires worn were categorized as either “poor” or “richer.” They found that when people wore clothing perceived as “richer,” they were rated as more competent. So, take this opportunity to put on your professional bling and look sharp on your video call.
Who remembers the BBC interview with the gentleman that had his 2 kids and wife walk in on his call? It went viral and has now become a cautionary tale. It is a funny situation and he handled it with some grace, but I don’t believe you want that incident to be your claim to fame. Adjust your background, if you can’t be in a tidy and professional-looking background then use the background pictures on platforms in your video call instead of your real background. Zoom calls has this functionality or you can bring a little bit of intentional humor by using Snap Camera it offers different overlays for your video calls.
The non-verbal communication
One of the major perks of video is that you can read others’ body-language. However, it does make more sense to audit your own as well. Have you paid much attention to your listening face? When I listen, it looks like I am listening to the person that ate my sandwich. It isn’t very sweet, so I have to consciously tilt my head and show my ear to really signal that I am listening.
Our friends at Science of People found that hand gestures are unbelievably important in a speech and that the more hand-gestures, the more likeable a speaker was. Thus, it means that speaking in a congruent manner using hand gestures will amplify your message. You may want to give it a try when you are on camera and see how it looks and feels like for you. Do you prefer it when you speak with your hands on your lap or when you are moving your hands to elaborate on your message? Another way is to record yourself and ask for feedback, see what your colleagues or friends say.
Content is king
When it comes to content then video calls allow for something which I hardly encourage in a speech. In a live speech there are less distractions and obstacles but, in a webinar, or video call then it is appropriate to have slides with text. Since connectivity is varied then it gives the attendees a chance to read and understand the topic. It becomes almost like subtitles and it works in this context. Just make sure it is elegant and not superfluous, with the right clear color contrast and big font size.
Repeat questions during the Q&A session of a call. Perhaps you want to have a facilitator with you that can filter the questions and comments. MENA Speakers has recently been hosting free webinars for the public and the quality of questions and comments that dropped in have been varied. Not all comments need to be acknowledged but if they are then do your participants on the call a favor and explicitly repeat the question.
Applications to help your message
Loom.com it’s a video recording app where you can present and then share the link right away. Some amazing apps to recommend are Krisp is an app that lets you cancel the background noise. Fireflies.ai lets you record, transcribe, and search across your Zoom calls.
To keep things interactive and to have everyone be present then I encourage the video call participants to have their camera on. And to keep the engagement then do plan for interactions. Some programs have fantastic functionalities like break-out room, polling and emoji signaling by attendees. Use all the functionalities to the best of your capacity to make it interactive and engaging.
As a speech coach, we analyze the pitch, pace, melody, tone and volume of a speaker. So, once you get acquainted with these elements then surely you will be able to navigate the toolbox called your voice to suit your message. Undoubtedly an excited and happy voice will excite your listeners. So, before you jump on that call then perhaps you want to get energized and get some endorphins going. This will often be translated on to your voice.
A word of caution, there is a prevalence of something called Zoom Trolls and these are individuals that access your link and then can hijack your call or disturb it. I was recently on a call and had someone attempt it and started drawing on the presenters notes. It took a few seconds and then the participant was removed. However, it’s a real thing . Make sure that your settings on your video calls are set-up properly to avoid this type of disturbance.
In conclusion, digital communication is now entirely changing the game for how interactions are happening and how leaders communicate. There are many ways for you to communicate and to make sure you are memorable but like under normal situations, leadership is about listening. We were given 2 ears and 1 mouth to use but now we have 2 eyes in addition. Use them to truly understand what is going on, to read the body language and between the layers of communication to help you keep your video call participants engaged and interested.
To get a free diagnostic on your webinar skills from my team then please feel free to book a strategy call her: https://book.mena-speakers.com/strategycall