Whilst we are all becoming more comfortable engaging with our stakeholders via video conferencing, it’s good to remember that the technology isn’t new and there are some long-term guidelines which are good to stand by.

The OPF Consulting team has been preparing clients for media interviews via laptop or mobile phone for many years. The skill has always been particularly useful when in a remote site or if experiencing an issue or crisis for which a message needs to get out quickly.

We thought we’d share some of the long-held guidelines for video conferencing that may help with stakeholder engagement.

  • Be at eye level with the camera by either lifting the device or lowering your chair. It’s far more engaging and reduces the temptation to look out and over your computer.
  • Wear what you would normally wear to this meeting if it was face to face. Whilst most will say this only needs to be from the waist up, there are enough disasters flying around social media to suggest you may need to consider the whole ensemble. You have to get dressed anyway right! So why not get dressed for work?
  • Maintain very straight shoulders – rounded shoulders are far more noticeable on camera. This will be easier to do if you are sitting on a chair rather than a lounge.
  • When you are not speaking, show interest through eye contact, smiles and nodding.
  • Keep your visual background simple, eliminate outside noise and the chance of distractions.
  • If you have to go into your online files for a document or to clarify something, let people know. “Bear with me while I find the folder and just check on that.” Otherwise it may look like you are working on something completely different.
  • Put some time between video conference calls. Jumping off one call to jump on another gives you no time to stretch and look around before you refocus.

Remember, the secret to good communication via video conference is to minimise anything that will distract the other conference members from really hearing and absorbing what you are saying.