In May, I published 10 tips to improve your video presentations. Now, five months later, and what feels like ten thousand video calls, I have learned a few new things that can help you level up your video call skills. Here are six tips:
- Present standing for sales calls or important presentations: Do yourself a favor a purchase a standing desk; your spine and your audience will thank you. When you present standing up, you automatically come across as more confident and tend to have more energy. I consistently produce better results and receive more positive feedback from video presentations when I stood during the call.
- Avoid the awkward intro period by “passing the mic”: I have been on countless calls where ten or twenty people jump on, and the intro period turns into an unorganized cluster of people talking over each other, awkward silences, and no one speaking up. Help everyone by kicking off the meeting and providing ground rules for intros. It’s super simple: thank everyone for their time, give a quick introduction, and say, “Now, I am going to pass it to ______ (the name of the next person), and when it gets to you, please pass it to the next person.” That way, you automatically tee up the second speaker and inform everyone that they need to be polite and pass the mic when their intro is up. This technique works well and avoids people talking over each other or not speaking up at all. If people join the call late, the call moderator should say hello and summarize who’s on the call to make them feel welcome.
- Ditch the giant microphone and aviator headset: something is distracting about giant microphones; ditch them for the mic built into your webcam or computer, or use AirPods. Aviator headsets make it look like you are an air traffic controller or work in a 1990s call center. I recommend no large, visible gadgets or microphones while you are presenting. Let people see your smiling face, and don’t distract them with near field props and accessories.
- Ensure you have a good angle with your camera: Ideally, your camera should be straight onto your face or slightly above. Never use a camera that points at the side of your face; it looks weird and makes it hard for people to engage because you look as if you are purposely ignoring them.
- If you are using an external monitor, buy a webcam: trying to use the built-in camera in your Mac or PC with an external monitor is awkward. To have a good angle, you need to put your computer directly in front of your monitor, blocking it (unless you put it too high), or you have to put your monitor at an uncomfortable side angle. Using a webcam gives you a better angle from the top of your screen and also allows you to close your laptop lid and experience your monitor in its full glory.
- If your Wifi is terrible, fix it: there is no excuse for lousy Wifi in 2020. Numerous affordable solutions provide mesh coverage of your house. Working from home is now mainstream, so please invest the time and energy to solve your Wifi issues.
I hope these tips help you to improve the qualify of your video calls and presentations. If you have other tips to add, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave them in the comments below.