Video Call/Conference from Home – 5 Mistakes that Ruin a Professional Impression

Today, when a large number of people work in self-isolation from home during the pandemic, video calling and video conferencing solutions are a real salvation, which, despite the distance between the participants of the conversation, creates a sense of presence.

Below we have collected the 5 most popular mistakes that can ruin a video call or conference, as well as simple tips that will help you avoid these mistakes.

1. You are hard to hear

In any verbal communication, the most important thing is the sound – its clarity. It is your task to ensure that the other party hears you clearly and easily understands what you say without regular questioning.

What to do?

  • Keep the microphone as close as possible to your mouth
    , strong, lb. The further the microphone is from you, the more it will pick up not the direct sound from your mouth, but the reverberation (i.e. echo) created in the room. If the microphone is far away, the other side will hear your voice “like in a barrel” and will have difficulty understanding what is being said. Therefore, keep it as close as possible to your mouth (at a distance of 10–20 cm) – it is best if you use headphones with a built-in microphone or a separate external microphone.
  • Reduce reverberation (echo effect)
    Make a video call in the room with the most upholstered furniture! The best – in the bedroom. Upholstered furniture (and also curtains, soft floor coverings, etc.) absorb sound, significantly reducing the “barrel” effect.
  • Reduce external noise
    Close the windows and doors. Turn off any equipment that makes noise! Make sure that the housemates (for example, children) do not disturb you during the call.
  • In a conference, mute the microphone when not speaking
    When participating in a conference, when you are not speaking, turn off the microphone. The background inevitably created by the microphone will interfere with the other participants hearing each other. You hardly want all conference participants to hear your dog barking, children pushing or water pouring in the bathroom! ?

2. You are hard to see

Instead of seeing you, the interlocutor sees a black spot on a light background instead of your face. The problem is the backlight coming into the camera because you have a window behind you, another light source, or light reflected by glossy furniture or other objects. Such a view creates a very unprofessional impression.

What to do?

  • Light source – from the side or from the front
    Find a place in the room so that the light source is from the side or from the front. It should also be outside the frame – i.e. at least 1.5 m away from you. Make sure there aren’t any shiny objects behind you that reflect the light!

3. Sound or video “bumps” from time to time

Online video streaming requires fast internet. If other devices are connected to the WiFi network in your home, the video broadcast may simply run out of resources and it starts to “bump”!

What to do?

  • When using WiFi at home, make sure that other devices (computers, TVs, children’s tablets, etc.) are turned off during the video call/conference, thus freeing up resources for video streaming.

4. You look “just out of bed”

Thoughts from the “can’t see me that well” series are misleading. Both unwashed and untidy hair, lack of cosmetics, and your pajamas – all this can be observed very well in an online video broadcast?.

What to do?

  • Don’t be lazy – organize yourself as if you were going to a real face-to-face meeting!

5. The background around you spoils the impression

An unmade bed, a pile of dishes, unfinished repairs, housemates walking around in pajamas, etc. – all this creates a very unprofessional impression.

What to do?

  • Find a place in the room where you have as smooth background as possible behind you (for example, a painted wall). Be careful not to get objects that reflect light into the frame! An even better (and inexpensive) solution is a special photo wall – a wide (at least 1.5 m wide) roll-up stand with a special matte surface. With this, you will be able to turn the room into a professional video studio in a few seconds, because the background of the roll-up stand is completely covered, which the other party does not need to see, your company logo will be on it, and the properly chosen material will not create reflections (backlight). Such a stand costs very little, but obviously creates a professional impression. In addition, when you don’t need it, you can disassemble it in a couple of ten seconds and put it under the bed!