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April 2, 2014
5 Video Conferencing Tips that Aren’t Quite So Obvious
I find that oftentimes the silliest questions — What should I wear? What does SEO stand for? How should I introduce myself? — are usually the most popular. If you think something should be obvious to you but you just don’t get it, chances are you aren’t alone. Fortunately, we live in the 21st century and Google is here to help. If you’ve typed into Google “How should I act during a video conference?” then Google has taken you to the right place.

The great thing about these basic questions is the idea that they really aren’t basic at all. It seems like the answer should be simple, so people get embarrassed that they have to consult Google for something so obvious. However, some of the most basic questions are the ones that end up helping someone the most in the long run. Learning about video conferencing is one of these questions.

Everything You Need to Know about Video Conferencing
Companies often use webcams and/or web conferencing software to communicate with customers, clients, or other employees who are not in the area, and you guessed it — for potential employee interviews. Companies have also begun hiring employees to telecommute, or work from home, in order to save money on resources in the office. Video conferencing is therefore a great way to help keep these employees involved in company meetings and/or activities and interview all candidates. In other words, you will likely deal with a video interview or be a part of a video conference at one point or another. Below are five of those “obvious” questions that, not coincidentally, many people find not-so-obvious.

1. Make sure that you’re in a space where the lighting isn’t too dark or too bright.
Lighting does matter during a video conference. If you’re in charge of setting up the camera, make sure the lights aren’t too dim or too bright. You will also want to avoid sitting in front of a bright light, such as a window, so you are not blinding the people on the other side of the conference. It is common for someone involved in the conference to make requests about the lighting, so don’t get nervous if this happens. It can be tough to get the lighting right, but with a little bit of trial and error you will figure out a system that works.

2. Your camera setup will help make sure you’re at eye level.
Just as they say to do with a TV or a picture, it’s a good idea to set the camera a little bit above eye level and the angle the screen downward. It’s important that the screen looks as though it’s pretty much eye level, however, otherwise those on the other end of the conference will feel as though they’re looking down at you.

3. Eye contact can be tricky!
Everyone knows that eye contact is important in a meeting, but this can be much more difficult when holding a video conference. However, it’s important to remember that although it is more difficult, it is still just as important. You must look into the camera when video conferencing and not at the screen. Even though you may see your audience through the screen, they see you through the camera.

4. Joining the conference is something you should practice beforehand.
People often wonder when they should join the conference. In person it makes sense to be early so you can make small talk and review any materials that will be discussed, but this sometimes seems odd when video conferencing. The truth is: Nothing should change. It may seem odd at first, but get used to being early when attending a video conference. In fact, you could maybe be a little bit earlier to a video conference as opposed to a face-to-face meeting just to make sure the technology works.

5. Pay attention to your motions while on camera.
By the same token as eye contact, you want to make sure that your body is always in view of the camera. Although you may be able to see the screen and your audience, if you’re gesturing away from the camera they will have no idea what you’re doing. It will take some getting used to, but it will help make your presentation more effective.

Attending meetings and hosting company meetings can sometimes be stressful. Knowing what to expect when you walk into a room is important, and for many video conferencing makes this seem even more overwhelming. The truth is that many actually find video conferencing to be less stressful than face-to-face interactions. If you can remember some of the tips listed above, you will likely nail your video conference, and then these questions won’t seem so silly.  

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Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger at Highervisibility, nationally recognized as one of the best SEO companies in the country. Connect with HigherVisibility on Google+ and Twitter to learn more!
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