Thursday, November 22, 2012

7 Great Tips For Looking Great When Video Conferencing

By Paul Fraser

When you're video conferencing with people who live and work in faraway locations, you don't have a chance to impress them with your charming personality over lunch or pull them aside to make some candid comments to help them see your enthusiasm for the project. Your on-camera interactions are the only way the people on the other end of the video conference have to judge you â€" and your company.

That's why looking wonderful on video conferencing is so vital. While people perhaps should not judge one another on looks alone, looks certainly matter when you are communicating over distance using state-of-the-art technology.

Here are seven quick tips for always looking your best when you interact via video conference:

1. Use a high-quality system. Good equipment conveys light, detail and sound better than bad or outdated gear, so upgrade your system as often as necessary to stay on top of technology. Today's video conferencing solutions often have high definition cameras, high-quality mics and professional switching technology to make each one of your interaction smooth, colourful and bright.

2. Don't skimp on light. There is a reason television stations and local theatres hire people to help them control lighting. Bright lights reduce the look of wrinkles and eliminate unbecoming shadows, but too much light can make you look shiny and nervous. Heaps of soft, white light typically works best, and there isn't a lot wrong with strategically placing lights behind PCs or concealing them round the room if required to make everybody look their best.

3. Make eye contact as often as possible. It's easy for people to feel disconnected or disengaged when listening to a long presentation by video conference, so make frequent eye contact with the camera. This is good etiquette, also , just as eye contact is vital when meeting with people face to face.

4. Avoid wearing distracting patterns. With older equipment, tight patterns can make a distracting strobe effect that might be more interesting to the people on the other end of the meeting than what you say. Whether or not you're utilizing the latest equipment nevertheless , viewers will not be in a position to appreciate the pattern on your tie or your interesting piece of jewelry, so stick to solids and easy, elegant adornments.

5. Sit up straight if you can. We all look more professional when we sit up straight and keep our shoulders back, but good posture can at times be hard to maintain in a long meeting. Choosing a supportive chair and being conscious of when you're being watched and when you aren't can help you look your very best when someone's actually looking.

6. Be aware of camera angles. A professionally installed video conferencing system will have well-placed cameras, but standing or sitting too close to a camera can distort your features, giving you a humourous & distracting appearance. Looking down into a camera can also make your face appear broader, making you look fat.

7. Do some testing. If a meeting is critical or if you're new to video conferencing, don't ever be scared to do some test presentations â€" and record them to help you notice and correct errors. Even the best equipment can be used incorrectly or to less-than-optimum effect, so take a little time to test how you engage with your firm's equipment to be certain you are using it as effectively as possible.

Everyone would like to look great, naturally, but in business looking good can mean the difference between making the sale and making a fool of yourself.

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