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Here’s some lessons learned from our own video conferencing:

  1. Test your equipment and connection 5 minutes before joining a call. Video conferencing involves many actions from your computer and 3rd party software, and sometimes connection challenges occur – your webcam may not have started or your audio was not released by another software program in time.  Those extra few minutes can give you the time you need to work through setup issues so you join the call ready to go.
  2. Think about your background.  Find a place in your home where your background isn’t messy or too distracting.  Use an interesting part of your home as an ice-breaker, and ask other video participants about their backgrounds.  People love to talk about themselves. Microsoft Teams has a variety of backgrounds from beaches to other planets.
  3. In large group calls, mute your audio when others are speaking.  Your microphone can introduce unexpected sounds, and disrupt other speakers.
  4. A headset with a microphone will have better audio than the microphone on your computer.
  5. Get familiar with the sharing options of your video platform, so that you can collaborate quickly.  The more you are familiar with how video conferencing tools work, the easier it becomes to have productive meetings.
  6. Get used to sharing only a single application or a single browser tab instead of your screen, especially if you are using a personal computer or doing personal business on a work computer.
  7. What to wear? Think about your attire.  You are still presenting a professional image – throw a suit jacket or blazer on top of some casual clothes to give that Work From Home style some professional flare.
  8. Use video conferencing tools that are easy for others to use.  If someone has to download an application it may take them more time to join a meeting, or they may not be able to join at all if their work settings are restrictive.
  9. Look at the web camera at eye level.  Adjust the video screen window so that the people speaking are right under or above where your web camera is situated on your computer. The people looking at the screen will see you looking at them and making eye contact.
  10. Buy a better web camera.  The web camera that comes with some computers or laptops may be low resolution, not work well in all lighting, or be blurry.  An investment in a better web camera will send a better impression to those you are conferencing with.
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