3 Tips for Communicating Effectively on a Video Conference

By Kevin Sullivan

With most of us working from home, video conferences via Zoom, Google Hangout and other platforms are now part of our daily lives.  Here are three easy tips to make sure you are communicating as effectively as possible on video conferences: 

1.  Eye contact is everything.  This is most important. You won’t connect with the others on the call without it.  When speaking, force yourself to look into the tiny pinhole lens on your device.  Use a stack of books and a laptop stand to elevate your device so you are more or less at eye level.  Speaking directly to the camera will also naturally bump up your energy level a bit, another key to connecting and making your points effectively.

2.  Since we’re going to be doing these video conferences for the foreseeable future, establish a place at home with a fairly neutral background.  A busy background can be distracting and detract from the message you are delivering.  Remember, your colleagues and clients are likely seeing you in your natural habitat for the first time. They will be curious and notice what’s on the shelf behind you.  Make sure whatever is behind you is what you want them to see.  Make sure your spot is not in front of, or beside, and unblinded window. If your dog barks or your kids wander into the room, don’t sweat it too much.  Those on the call will understand – it’s part of the new normal.

3.  Practice before your video conference to make sure you are familiar with the all-important mute button and other key features. Be ready when called upon to un-mute and concisely make your points.  Knowing how you are going to start will help you avoid “um” and “so” as your first words. Knowing how you are going to finish will help you make your points persuasively and memorably.