An increasing number of companies and even universities are cutting back on their administrative costs by using video conferencing. Until the last few years, if you needed to meet with a potential job candidate, visit a client or attend an academic conference, there was a huge cost attached. When people attended interviews of conferences they needed travel expenses and often accommodation costs as well.
The growing use of video conferencing for a number of purposes means that people can communicate with others on a global basis without ever leaving their own office or boardroom. If you have to take part in a video conference, particularly with people that you have never met, it is important that you make a good impression on the other participants.
Impressions Always Count
I grew up hearing from my parents that first impressions count for a lot. If you want something from somebody else, or you just have to deal with them in a professional context, their first impression of you can color how the view everything you say and do. Just because you don’t have to travel a long way to a conference, or go to a company to meet with a potential employer, doesn’t mean that you can look as if you’ve just got out of bed.
In a video conference you are on camera, other people will see how you look, get a feeling for your surroundings and make a judgement. Make sure that you act and dress just as well as you would if you were attending a conference or an interview in person. Don’t think that you can eat and drink while you are on camera, the other person or people demand and are entitled to, your full attention.
If you are in a group, don’t look at them, look at the other person. If you were speaking at a live conference or to a potential employer you would look at them, the same goes for video conferencing. Make sure that you know what you are going to say, have some notes if you need them but let the other person or people know that you have come well prepared for this online meeting.
Make sure that you have some idea of the questions you might be asked, either by another conference participant, or by a potential employer. Have some answers and let others know that you have done your research beforehand. If this is a sales or academic conference, don’t speak out of turn and don’t speak while someone else has the floor. You should afford people the same kind of courtesy that you would in a live situation.
Sit up straight and don’t go to a video conference looking as if you have been up half the night. If you are nervous of just being there let alone speaking in front of the camera it will show, practice in front of a mirror or a friend the day before the conference. Above all, make sure that you have practiced what you are going to say and how you are going to answer questions before the conference begins.