To appear professional in a video conference, you need to pay attention not only to how you look but the light, sound, shot framing and what is behind you.
- Practice before the actual event. SERIOUSLY! Kids know this stuff because they practice socially. Adults are silly enough to try things for the first time under work pressure.
- Be 10 to 30 feet from your wireless base station and in a direct line of sight with no large appliances, or other metal objects, in between you and the wireless base station. Ideally, plug your computer into a hardwired Ethernet cored (the large phone wire thingy).
- Designate a “chaperone.” Each teleconference call needs a person on each end of the call. They need to stay for the entire event and be able to reestablish the call, sign into accounts, install software and restart the computer.
- Have a “back channel.” Each call needs to have an additional way to be in contact with callers if calls drop or technology fails. Good choices are google text chat, Skype text chat, or cell phone numbers.
- Mute your mic unless you are talking.
- Use headphones, or earbuds if you can. They limit feedback.
- Frame your shot: Have good light on your face, with no windows or sky behind you. Frame a close up shot of your face. Place your eyes in the top third of the frame even if you have to put your laptop up on a box or some thick books.
- Limit room noise. Close windows, turn down TVs, move away from people talking.
- Clean Webcam lens. Check for fingerprints and dust on your webcam.
- Restart. Give the group a short break. Restart everything (computer, call, etc).
- Turn off video. If the video keeps freezing or dropping the call, try having one, or both, sides of the video conference turn off their video streams. Keep audio on. This saves bandwidth as video uses the most bandwidth.