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Video Chat Tips for You and Your Family

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Many aspects of work and school life have changed because of the pandemic which has led to having meetings and classes via video chat. Here are a few things to remember for using video chat effectively as we start 2021.

Set up a Professional Environment

Setting up a professional environment for your video call is an important part of getting your message across. It never hurts to plan ahead to make sure you’re ready. Test the camera and the microphone before the meeting and set up the lighting in a way that helps people see your face.

One aspect of a successful video meeting or class is dressing appropriately. Professionalism is always important, even when working and learning from home. Never wear anything (especially on top) that you wouldn’t wear in your office. The same goes for your kids in school – they should wear the clothing that they would be wearing in the classroom if they were there in person.

Be Prepared

Inform others in the house that you have a meeting or a class. With family members working and learning from home in close quarters, it’s best to let everyone know when you need to have quiet surroundings. While this might not prevent all video chat mishaps, it can go a long way toward helping ensure that your background and microphone stay clear so you can concentrate. 

On some platforms, it becomes very obvious when someone has arrived late (with noisy notifications or in-your-face displays that may disrupt the meeting). It’s best to be on the safe side and join a few minutes early.

Introduce Yourself

Conference calls and video chats – even for relatively small groups – can become jumbled quickly if it’s not immediately clear who is currently talking and who will talk next. One way to help identify yourself is by saying your name before you add your thoughts to the meeting or to your class. 

Be Mindful of Others and Yourself

Generosity with and awareness of the mute button can really help a meeting or virtual class run smoothly. Especially in larger meetings or classes, muting yourself when you’re not speaking is best practice. That way, others aren’t distracted by the sound of your typing or other background noise from your house.  

Be conscious of others speaking. It is much easier to interrupt over video chat than it is in person. It can be difficult to read visual cues over Zoom or Skype that would typically tell you that someone is done speaking – or about to talk. Try to avoid situations in which you’re frequently interrupting others.

Close Out When You’re Done

It can be easy to forget that you’re on a video chat or screenshare when a meeting or a class ends, but make sure that your camera and microphone are off before moving on to something else.

Though this is not the first time we’re exploring video chat, it’s good to have a refresher before the start of the year. Hopefully these video chat tips will help you be more prepared for any virtual interactions that you have.

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