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Ace your next video conference call with these 3 skills

By Mballa Mendouga, Communications — Manager, Corporation Social Responsibility & Campaigns, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Video conference calls: although they may feel like a casual alternative to in-person meetings, it’s still important to look presentable.

The increase in employees working remotely and the need for a more personal, albeit flexible, alternative have made video-conferencing a great solution. However, it’s still important to keep your professional image intact. If you wouldn’t show up to the office wearing your pyjamas, it’s likely a good idea to avoid that on a video call. 

Here are some human intelligence skills you can brush up on for your next on-camera business meeting. 

  1. Body Language & Posture

    Similar to when you talk or present to someone in person, body language is a key way to send messages without using words. When you’re in a video conference, your body is as important as ever because it can tell the person on the other end how engaged – or not engaged – you are. For example, talking with your hands may suggest you’re confident about what you’re saying. And, as we know, confident people are more likely to become successful people. 

    This should go without saying, but it’s happened before: Please remember to sit up during all business video calls. Laying down on your couch, your bed or your floor will lead people to believe you’re not serious about the conversation, or maybe even your career. 

  2. Good Judgement

    Video conference calls invite people into your personal space, which means it can get complicated. Although you avoided a dreadful commute and a shower isn’t 100% necessary, there are still a few ways you should prep. Make the best judgement call in terms of what being professional looks like on camera. Everyone loves a family portrait, but you may want to move your favourite beer posters or your questionable photos out of the way. Ask yourself, would I hang this picture up in my office? If no, you might want to take it down. Brush or comb your hair and make sure you’re only wearing pyjamas from the waist down. Even though you’re not physically in the office or in the meeting, it’s important to show respect by offering your most presentable self.

    Another tip is to choose the least distracting area in your house so no one’s attention can waver from the meeting at hand. Flying Legos, flashing lights and passing traffic are all things to be aware of. Be mindful about not distracting other call participants, and make sure you’re able to speak without annoying interruptions. 

  3. Listening

    If you’re multitasking, it likely means you’re not listening effectively. And on camera, it’s very easy to tell when someone is checked out. If you’re reading something else on your screen, talking to someone else in the room or playing on your phone, everyone can see you doing it! Work on acting like you’re in the room with everyone and actively listening and contributing to the conversation.

    The main takeaway is: if you wouldn’t do it in a conference room, don’t do it on a video call. It’s important to sit up straight, speak with enthusiasm and listen actively in order to reap the real benefits of video conference calls.