New at video conferencing? Here are tips from a local pro
While home-bound workers are doing their jobs remotely, sometimes for the first time, one local company has created a guide that could help many, many businesses carry on in the wake of a pandemic.
Perinton-based First American, with 30,000 video conferences under its belt since 2014, is sharing tips for how to do remote meetings well.
The company has incorporated long-distance technology in its business model. First American provides businesses with financing for equipment purchases, managing sales and debt service in all 50 states with a work force mainly in suburban Rochester.
“We wanted to share our advice and takeaways from doing thousands and thousands of meetings over the past few years,” said Karen Pomezal, senior vice president of marketing.
CEO Alan Sikora said the list was composed with clients in mind and has been shared with them and posted on First American’s website.
“Over the last 20 years we have sort of pioneered a new way of interacting with client,” Sikora said. “We’ve been conducting business meetings with video for well over a decade.”
The company late last week moved its 265 employees — 250 in the Rochester area and the rest in New York City and on the West Coast — to their home offices, where they will employ their well-practiced remote communication skills.
Here are First American’s suggestions:
- Turn on your camera. Video communication is the key to making a human connection with clients and coworkers – a vital connection that is more important now than ever. In your next meeting, encourage your co-workers to enable their cameras, as studies show that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal.
- Brighten the day. Make sure the lighting in front of you is brighter than the lighting behind you. If you have a window nearby, face the window instead of having it in the background. This will ensure your image is clear and crisp to the other participants.
- Look behind you. Ensure you have a professional background for virtual meetings. If working from home, consider a background wall with pictures or shelves. Don’t take this too seriously—if co-workers have a glimpse into your home it enhances the human connection.
- Elevate your camera. Raise your camera and/or laptop to eye level for face-to-face communications, avoiding the awkward and unflattering low camera angles.
- Lights! Camera! Action! Keep your energy level high and your speaking cadence natural. Remember that this is a person-to-person conversation. When listening, make extra effort to nod or make nonverbal cues, instead of multi-tasking.
- Speak into the dot. Many people struggle with this one. When speaking, look into the camera lens. The moment you begin your remarks, the rest of the meeting will look at your image. Enhance that experience for everyone by looking into the camera.
- Take 5. Minutes, that is. Carve out time prior to your video meeting to prepare and test all equipment and connectivity, look at yourself on screen, critically examine your background, and make certain you have access to all documents and files you need to conduct business.