As the global workforce shifts to a work-from-home model, conference room meetings have moved to online video-calling apps. If you’re new to video conferencing, we’re here to help you out!
Close Other Apps for Best Performance
Before you start your video conference, take some time to save your work and close any apps you won’t need. You especially want to close any programs that contain personal data or use too much CPU power.
Too many open apps will slow down your computer while you’re on a video call. This is because the call itself requires a lot of resources, especially if you’re on a lightweight laptop. If you hear the fans spin during a call or the video conferencing app starts to lag, quit all other open apps.
Take Precautions Before Sharing Your Screen
If you’re going to share your screen during a video call, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions so people can’t see anything private or potentially embarrassing. First, go to your browser and close all tabs, especially anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to see.
Next, enable Do Not Disturb mode on your Mac or Windows computer. This ensures that others won’t accidentally see messages from private conversations when you share your screen.
Check the Internet Connection
Before your call, use a speed test tool, like Fast.com or Speedtest.net, to test your internet speed. If you’re not getting enough speed, move closer to your Wi-Fi router or try some other tips to boost your Wi-Fi signal. You can also use one of these tools to speed up your internet connection.
Pick a Bright Spot and a Neutral Background
It’s best to make a video call in a location with ample natural light. This way, your face will be clear. However, if your room doesn’t have plenty of sunlight, try to sit under some soft florescent lighting (nothing too harsh).
It’s best to choose a spot with a neutral background, too—nothing too busy. If you just sit in front of a wall, that should be fine.
If you can’t find a suitable background, you can try to blur your background on Skype. If you’re using Zoom, you can even switch to a virtual background.
Test the Video and Audio
Before you start a video call, make sure both 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 app.
For example, in Skype, you can go to the “Audio and Video” section in “Preferences” to make a test call.
Position the Camera at Eye Level
It’s important that you position the camera at the optimum level. Try to put it right at eye level so you’re not looking up or down. You don’t really want your colleagues looking up your nostrils during an important meeting.
Also, when you’re talking, don’t look at yourself or the chat window—look straight into the camera. This way, others won’t feel like you’re distracted.
Get a Better Mic or Camera
For occasional calls, the built-in microphone and camera on your laptop should do just fine. But if your laptop is a couple of years old, you might notice the video isn’t even as clear as your smartphone’s camera.
If you’re going to be a part of online meetings every day, you might want to consider buying a better camera and/or headset.
Next, try to use headphones or earbuds when you’re on a video call. Because of the close proximity to your mouth, it will sound better than using your laptop’s built-in microphone. To avoid latency, go with wired headphones.
If you’re running a meeting, try to have all your talking points and documents ready beforehand. If your colleagues need to see a document, send it before the call and make sure everyone has access to all the necessary data prior to the video meeting.
This way, you won’t have to spend the first few minutes of the call waiting for everyone to get up to speed.