Your workspace is 10 feet away, but your employer is 100 miles away. Your uniform is a T-shirt, jeans, or whatever you feel like wearing at the moment. Your preferred method of contact is chat with a little bit of email mixed in. And now your employer or client wants you to step outside your comfort zone and do something terrifying: Have a video meeting.
While working out on the fringes, it’s easy to forget that at some point you exist beyond your latest email missive or chat volley. Here are five ways to optimize your Skype calls and make your video meetings both painless and professional:
- Light it up
Whether your Skype call is ultra-short or really, really long, you will be judged based on the brightness of your workspace. Go for natural light or multiple lamps to lighten up your room, but make sure you’re not so backlit that you look like a silhouette.
- Mind your six
Before you start your call, check for anything that looks weird in the background. Books stacked haphazardly on a shelf, spots on walls, or even piles of clean laundry in the background will give you an air of unprofessionalism. Think office, not bedroom.
- Clear up bandwidth
When your digital clock, tablet and cell phone all share your wireless connection, the quality of your Skype calls are destined to suffer. Do more than close unnecessary programs on your laptop or desktop, look around for outside devices that can erode the quality of your video meeting.
- Wear nice pants
I know it’s tempting to put on a nice shirt and throw on sweatpants. Don’t. Will you have to stand up during your Skype call? Probably not, but if something unexpected happens – earthquake, doorbell, urgent bathroom break – you’ll curse yourself if you’re wearing raggy pants.
- Sit up straight
Let’s face it: body language matters, even during Skype calls. You’ll want to project confidence, but if your camera sits at the perfect height and you’re channeling Oscar the Slouch, you’re simply going to look bad. Sit up straight at all times and whoever you’re speaking with will notice how professional you look.
There are just as many tips to make great Skype calls as there are ways to make your conference calls fall flat. These five are just the basics, but they should definitely improve the quality and professionalism of your face-to-face meeting.