How you look on a video conference is similar to how you think about your appearance when you get dressed in the morning for work. You may not care how you look at work, or you may want to appear professional at work. 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! Otherwise you may look great in-person, and not so good on camera.
- 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 “wifi” basestation and in a direct line of sight with no large appliances, or other metal objects in between you and the wifi basestation (unless your computer is plugged into a large phone wire thingy, then you’re fine.)
- Designate a “chaperone.” Each teleconference call needs a person on each end for the entire call who can reestablish the call, and sign into accounts & software being used.
- Have a “back channel.” Each call needs to have an additional, low bandwidth, way to be in contact with callers if calls drop or technology fails. Google text chat, Skype text chat, or cell phone text messages.
- Mute your mic unless you are talking.
- Use headphones, or ear buds 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 finger prints 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.