Tips - Preparing for a video call


I started collaborating with clients and consultants in an online basis more than 10 years ago. I have meetings with clients, design programs together, conduct coaching sessions, deliver training and present proposals all through audio or video calls.

Even today, many organisations still prefer using dial-in (landline telephone) approach to deliver corporate training programs to their employees nationwide. They believe the call/video approach is easy, cost effective, and flexible to arrange for offices in different time zones around the world.

I enjoy very much of this "working environment". As long as I have a device with a camera connected to Internet, I can actually feel that people are here working with me together, that is quite fun, and distance is no more an issue.

In fact, I just finished a video call training session with a team of my client, and I would like to share with you a quick checklist of what and how I usually prepare for a video call.

  1. Is your "view" pleasant? - prepare yourself a pleasant "view" when you sit at your desk. A window to see outside, an inspirational canvas artwork, a pot of plant, a lighted candle, sunlight or even a family photo. Give yourself a pleasant view to help your thinking process and keep you in the vibe.

  2. Is your background clean? - check the camera, make sure there is enough sunlight or bright enough, and your background is clean and tidy.

  3. Do you "look" professional? - check the camera, do you look professional? Not just about your make up, your hair and your business suit (just like you go to work in an office), also check how you look on camera. Position yourself in the centre of the screen, allow people to see your upper body as well so that they can see your posture and gesture, and please make sure you don't have a double chin!

  4. Does stand-up help you today? - depends on the nature of the call and how could help you perform your best today. I sometimes prepare a setup (a stand desk with an open space background) that I actually stand up and talk during the call especially when I do a presentation.

  5. Is the call ready? - test the app/software online, do you have enough call credits? Is the internet connection good? Do you have the correct contact information for the call on FaceTime, Skype, Wechat, Whatsapp or other video chat. I use headphone when I do audio calls, and a good speaker and mic for video conference.

  6. Does your device have enough battery? - if you are using a mobile device, prepare backup battery for your device or just plug in!

  7. Do you have the material ready? - properly organise all the necessary materials on your desk, so that you don't need to move around to get your material during the call (even it is a audio call) because people can actually hear that.

  8. Do you have stationery? - yes stationery! Nowadays you may use computer to type note, still, I suggest you to prepare a pen and papers right next to you to jot down important note. Don’t try to type the whole meeting minutes because you want to focus on your call with eye contact and necessary gesture, and you want to show your focus to your client. Also, people can hear you typing during the call, it is quite interfering.

  9. Do you need a cuppa? - prepare yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and an extra glass or bottle of water. You don't want to move around to get your drink. Also, check your cup - does it have any sensitive quote printed on it?

  10. Are you ready? - take a deep breath, how do you feel? I like to prepare my workplace with calm and relax scent. I love to use aromatherapy room spray, roll on, essential oil diffusers, or even just light a candle. My favourite essential oil is bergamot, mandarin and mint, to help myself calm and focus. Here is our room spray DIY information sheet for your reference.

Be creative. Anything that could make you do a better job, try it out! Like this one, a mobile phone stand my son built to me last year. It still works every time. Enjoy your call.

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