Monday, January 14, 2019

How to Look Your Best on Video


We all had a good laugh at the Dad doing a video chat when his children managed to scoot into the room and Mom followed moments later to frantically try and remove them.

While such moments are pretty funny, you don't really want things to go off the rails when you're trying to have a professional conversation via video.

Stanford Graduate School of Business Lecturer Matt Abrahams offers some helpful tips on how to make the most of your video chat:

1. Clean up your environment. Would you let an important client or your boss into the dump you call your bedroom with the unmade bed, dirty underwear on the floor and empty pizza boxes scattered on the desk? Look carefully at your surrounding environment and make sure it's tidy and won't be a distraction, whether you're at work or at home.

2. Use good technology. Check before a video chat to ensure your microphone and camera are in good working order and convey clear sound and pictures.

3. Lighten up. Abrahams says he spent $10 at a hardware store for a light used by car mechanics and fixed it behind his camera. Office lighting is often terrible, so look for extra lighting that will clearly illuminate and flatter your face.

4. Look into the camera. Many people put their notes on their desk, but that forces you to look down -- the equivalent of talking to the other person's shoes. You want to look directly into the camera, which means you are making eye contact. Abrahams suggests posting your notes behind the camera -- he uses a music stand to hold his notes at eye level.

5. Be prepared. Before a video chat, Abrahams says he always thinks about the key questions he wants answered, and the "themes" he wants to highlight. These themes should be supported by examples to support the ideas or reinforce them. Those themes and questions that are prepared beforehand "will help you convey more and walk away with more," he says.

"The value of communication is only increasing and the ability to communicate clearly, confidently and in a compelling way is absolutely critical to business success," he says.

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