Some tips for online networking and video conferencing

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As everyone turns to video conferencing, I thought it might be useful to give a few tips before you start, these are just a few ideas, there are lots more you will find yourself.

We also have had some excellent additional tips supplied by Karl Lehmann of Lehmann Financial Management and Mandy Swift of South West Business Connections

Simon’s Tips
1 – Download the software in advance of the meeting and test it thoroughly before you start. There is nothing worse than sitting there with someone who can’t hear you or you hear them

2 – Pick the right location, remember people will be able to see what is behind you, so don’t sit in front of anything inappropriate. Also don’t sit in front of a window – they won;t be able to see you!

3 – Remember they can see you, so make sure you dress appropriately…in fact make sure you dress first! You might be working from home but pyjamas might not look right…

4 – Remember they can hear you – don’t nip out for a wee, as it is likely that this will be heard (yes this has already happened)

5 – Warn other members of the household – you don’t want half naked people, or swearing or kids screaming ideally

6 – Make yourself a cuppa beforehand, you might need it!

7 – Ideally place the laptop/phone at eye level so you are not looking down at it and also showing off how many chins you have!

Karl’s Tips

  1. BRING THE ENERGY. To convey your message ‘through’ a screen is not exactly like being in the same room. Often you need to up your ante for it to land well at the other end.
  2. BE PREPARED. If you are going to share your screen make sure you have the files open and ready, and please make sure you have an ‘appropriate’ desktop!
  3. AUDIO – People will forgive poor video, but not poor audio. Make sure you have a quality mic, or headset and mic combo.
  4. INVEST – Invest in the time to know your preferred software well. It will pay dividends if you do. Remember it is still your actual (not virtual!) reputation on the line!

Mandy’s Tips

  1. Easy way to create a branded back drop – use a pop up banner! Also great for blocking out excess light from a window or hiding an untidy background 😃
  2. If you are using Zoom, go into settings and you can easily upload a picture and create a really cool video backdrop (if you want to show off!)
  3. It’s easy to get into “preach and teach” mode if you are running a group session or networking session online. Remember to look around the audience – who is the person who opens their mouth but never gets to speak because someone else jumps in quicker/louder. Get used to going back round to those people and asking what they had to add.
  4. Picking up from Karl’s point about Bring the energy – yes super important. Be more animated than usual with your eyes and your intonation (not your hands, you’ll look like a puppet on steroids!!) And also be very animated with your individual ‘hellos’ as people join, especially if other people are already there and chatting. It’s very easy to inadvertently create a cliquey atmosphere just by not welcoming in people enthusiastically enough. You really need to lift them and make them feel part of it.