Just like everyone in the world just now my first priority is to ensure the safety and support of my nearest and dearest and those most vulnerable in my community.

A close second however is to beat this vile thing (I personally refuse to give it the satisfaction of naming it) by keeping closely connected to my colleagues and clients throughout.

Video is your friend during this period maintaining both personal and professional relationships as well as for the mental health benefits

1.Turn the camera on. Right now we need to see each other more than ever. Get over the discomfort of how you look on screen (newsflash: that’s how you look in real life anyway!) and turn the thing on. Equally forget about how your house looks or the kids/pets running around. It’s fun and a new dimension to our relationships.

2. Head and shoulders. Video calls are about the human connection and not about showing off your extensive book collection (or indeed zooming into your nostrils). More face, less Proust (that you’ve never actually read anyway!)

3. Look at the camera lens. Counterintuitive this one, but when you’re talking or someone is addressing you directly look at the camera lens not their video image on your screen. Just like the real world, it’s all about eye contact.

4. Mute your microphone. The interference caused by meowing cats, shouting kids or email pings is a bit inevitable but so avoidable! It’s a simple mouse click to turn the mic on and off – get in the habit.

5. Use a platform where you can see everyone all the time. Some platforms limit the number of people visible at any one time (Teams – why?!) whereas others keep everyone on the screen. Keep everyone engaged by keeping them on the screen.

6. Keep it short. 90-mins absolute maximum. Preferably no more than 45-mins.

7. Keep it interactive. If you’re leading the meeting, plan specific questions before you start and then keep one eye on everyones facial expressions letting them in for comment/question. Even better use your radio DJ skills and encourage and react live to the chat stream. Just like the real world, no one likes meeting chairs who lecture.

What are your top tips for success on video calls?

Matt Crabtree


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