Thanks to COVID-19, video calling has become a part of everyday life. Communicating with not only one person face to face, but rather everyone you’d normally see at the office video is something that we all need to get used to. Whether you’re conferencing, working, or socializing, Zoom or Google Meet is quickly becoming as normal as sending a text. Waist-up fashion has become the only style that most take an interest in, with each of us having to adjust to dealing with others professionally at the drop of a hat. Being home during work hours may grant a degree of comfort, but it comes with all new considerations and responsibilities. That’s why we’ve put together a look at how to get comfortable with technology and always look & feel your best no matter where you’re communicating from.
Improve Your Lighting
Looking good on camera takes good lighting. It’s the single most important factor in looking your best while video calling. If you’re working with an integrated webcam or a cheap camera, then extra lighting is a must. Firstly, and foremost, always be pointing towards your brightest source of light. Most situations will do better with an extra light, but be careful about mixing different light sources with varying warmth of color. This can create a strange effect. LED lighting is one of the safest options as they don’t put out any heat. However, any white light will do your call quality well. The best setup will involve a light directly before you, and two, each at 45-degree angles to the left and right of you. Lights should always point down, or else your shadows will be wrong. A ring light is about the best, but that will take an investment. If you really don’t have any extra lights to position, then make sure that you video conference in a room that is well-lit with natural light. Outdoor meetings are also possible, just make sure you’re set up with a professional area ready without anything distracting in the background.
Get A Good Mic
Your webcam or laptop’s microphone is not going to cut it. You need something that has zero echo so if you’re on a tight budget, then get yourself a cheap but reliable set of earbuds. If you can afford to splash out on the best quality possible, then get yourself a condenser mic. The better your mic and headphones, the better the call quality in most cases, so if you invest money into any one thing to aid your professional career, its a good mic or headset.
Set A Fixed Background/Meeting Area
The best way to help yourself feel comfortable and look professional every time is to create a dedicated space for video meetings. Anyone who has regular video meetings should invest the time and effort into creating a dedicated space with a gorgeously plain background. Yes, you can change your background to a custom image using Zoom, but a familiar, friendly space with nothing to hide will exude professionalism in every way. You’ll also be remarkably surprised by just how much this act of preparation helps to ease the anxiety associated with video calling. With everything in order and nothing to nag at your mind, you’ll be focused and friendly.
Customize Your Keys
The first thing that you should do is set a custom key to turning on and off your microphone. Spacebar is a popular, effective choice that you’d better get used to using from the start. Chewing sounds, sighs, yawns, the sound of other people, animals or noise in the background, and sudden interruptions will spoil the impression that you make on a professional call such as a job interview. Practice using your mic and camera with friends and family before taking on a call with someone connected to your career or job search. On this note, your camera should always be on in conference calls. Leaving it off gets you ignored to some degree no matter what you’re doing online. Video calls should generally stay away from filters and virtual backgrounds, but if you do want to compensate for a really poor meeting area that you can’t avoid, then use them with discretion.
Force Yourself to Gain Familiarity
The only way to get used to something is to do it more. Does the mere idea of Zooming with a prospective employer or a few friends make you feel shaky? Get out your phone, laptop or webcam and call your mom, best friend, or brother. You need to start using the technology in order to release the imaginary fears that grow more and more the longer you keep thinking about calling instead of actually calling. Speak to those that you’re comfortable opening up to and ask them to help you use video calling on a daily basis so that there’s no sign of nerves on the day of an interview or conference call with a range of hiring managers or potential new team.
Use Zoom / Google Meet for More Than Business Alone
Get your friends online, play a few games or video games, host a dinner, have a few drinks, or even create a fun video together. There are lots of effective, stimulating ways to break the ice. Some churches even host service via Zoom. Open your mind and get creative, but make sure of one thing – don’t leave your first few Zooms for your first interviews online. That could prove to be disastrous. Using Zoom or Google Meet with friends and for casual activities will help you discover the posture that’s most comfortable. It’ll help you get used to turning on and off a mic, and it’ll make the whole procedure of calling and conferencing far more natural overall. Those looking for an exciting way to grow familiar & comfortable can even try out Zoom yoga – nothing will be daunting after you get that at ease.
Take Frequent Calls
Don’t prepare for each and every group call unless it’s a professional situation. If you know that you’re presentable and feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, then you don’t need to worry about what you look like on camera. Getting over the fear of video calling is almost like getting over the “strange” sound of your own voice. By taking frequent calls, you’ll also pick up good video calling habits naturally. For example, make sure you’ve got a glass of water or something to drink on your desk – you never know how long the meeting will run, and you don’t want to leave your place unless it’s completely unavoidable.
Research Those Attending The Call
Once you reach the point where you’ll be Zooming or Meeting for your job interview, make sure that you’re prepared. Profile the company and its employees on LinkedIn or Facebook. Check them out on various social media channels. Try to find out who you’ll be speaking to so that you are ready for an engaging conversation thanks to having prepared a solid foundation of basic background information. The same goes for the company. Get a feel for how your potential employer does business. Gain an overview of their place in the industry, and any notable achievements the business or its employees may hold. Familiarity is your friend.
Video Calling Anxiety?
One can compare the fear of video calling with Zoom or Google Meet akin to teenage angst concerning your place or appearance. When you’re that age, the world seems to be peering in from every direction, leaving you worrying about what other people are thinking about you in every way. Switch to video calling, and the exact same feeling of anxiety arises. After all, with so many people seeing your image, they must be thinking about what you look like, right? Wrong. If they’re thinking about anything, it’s their own lighting, camera angle, niggling cough, bad hair day, a previous call’s disaster, the looming bathroom break, or just about anything other than you. If you sense anything negative, it’s one of those or some other interference of their own, most likely always misrelated to you. Try more digital hangouts, more often. Direct exposure is the only way to smash the false beliefs creating the mirror of fear that’s preventing frequent video meet-ups.
Time to Start Calling!
If you’ve been getting by without video meet-ups, then you’d better get used to the idea of shifting toward calling because this is how the whole world is beginning to do business. There’s nothing intrepid about Zoom or Google Meet. It’s an integral part of the job search, and a core component of business in just about every industry. Whether you’re trying to get hired, sell your skills, or perform your responsibilities in a company, video calling is quickly becoming second-nature to anyone in the business world. Getting comfortable with technology takes nothing more than frequent use to breed familiarity, and it all happens far quicker than you think. Start by exploring the technology with someone that you’re comfortable around, or complete strangers if you so prefer, and get ready to use a new standard of communication that isn’t going anywhere.