Video conference calls: 7 tips to be productive, professional and ‘on brand’
The Coronavirus is forcing us to be creative with working online at a rapid pace. Daily work, conference calls, presentations and meetings are all taking place digitally as much as possible. And we will need to get used to it. Suddenly we are offering our colleagues and clients a view into our kitchen (or living room or office).
That’s why one of our clients asked us last week: ‘How do I conduct my video conference calls from home in a way that promotes and supports our brand?’. A question most of us will encounter at some point; whether it’s a meeting with your team, a meeting with important stakeholders or an online event. First of all, it’s important to ask yourself the following question: what factors have a negative effect on the brand I represent and what should I do to make the brand shine even more? In this blog I share seven tips for professional, effective and ‘on-brand’ video calling.
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1. Tight planning and good preparation
Just like physical meetings, an online meeting can sometimes go in all directions, meaning your time is not used efficiently and effectively. I’m sure we all recognise the ‘chaos’ of the past week in which many of us went from call to call. Given that your time – just like that of your colleagues and customers – is scarce, it can be annoying when there is no proper planning. A clear agenda and good preparation ensure that you achieve your goals faster and don’t go off at a tangent. So always start your online meeting by sharing a clear schedule and agenda and adjust when you stray off topic. Keep your video conversations short and powerful. Your professionalism in your approach to video calls also indirectly reflects well on your brand.
"Your professionalism in your approach to video calls indirectly also reflects well on your brand.”
2. Minimise noise
This may seem obvious, but distractions arising during a video call is a common problem; ranging from children, or a dog walking into the room, to pop-up messages and meeting participants who are multi-tasking. When everyone keeps their focus on the meeting and does not allow themselves to be distracted, conversations are smoother and more productive. Choose a room in the house where it is quiet and tidy and where you can make video calls undisturbed. If necessary, make arrangements with those who you share your house with.
Don’t think you can answer an email or visit a website during the call. The other party will immediately see that you are doing something else and I don’t think I need to emphasise how negatively that reflects on your brand!
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3. Be aware of the number of participants
The more people participate, the more confusing and distracting things can be. Fewer people means more co-operation and involvement in the call. When you have a company-wide meeting, invite everyone to participate in a live stream. If not, just invite the people you actually expect input from.
4. Use the right tools to make video calls
There are many different tools available that can make your conference call a lot easier. Most organisations already had a tool set up before this crisis situation, but is this tool still suitable now that video calling has suddenly become standard procedure? Quickly evaluate whether it is time for the implementation of a new tool. The quality you offer to your participants is essential for a professional image and an effective meeting. A number of professional tools with which we have had good experiences are:
You can compare the different tools using GetApp and find out which is the best choice for your organisation. Besides these tools, I recommend using noise cancelling headphones. This allows you to focus optimally and make yourself well understood.
5. Use ‘on brand’ visuals and presentations to keep participants involved
With visuals and presentations you can get your message across better and keep colleagues, customers or other important stakeholders involved in the video call with interesting content. Many tools have the ability to share your screen. So prepare well for the meeting and consider which slides and visual information you want to share. Prepare these images for the call and close tabs that are not relevant to the meeting.
"Always important, but now that we have to rely on digital contact even more important, make sure the content you share is always 'on brand'.
Always important, but now that we have to rely on digital contact even more important, make sure the content you share is always ‘on brand’. This way you ensure a professional image of your organisation and your brand. Maintaining a coherent brand experience in different types of documents can be a major challenge for brand and marketing teams. It is therefore crucial that employees have accessible and easy-to-use templates, allowing them to easily create expressions that comply with the corporate identity directive. Don’t have a template management tool yet? Then I can recommend Templafy – as far as I am concerned, the number one solution for Microsoft template management.
6. Provide an ‘on brand’ workplace
Take a good look at your home office through the eyes of your participants. What’s there to see in the background? Do you have a bookcase behind you? Great! But what titles are in there? Your background tells your story and shows something of who you are and the organisation you represent. Does that story detract from the meeting you’re in or does it reinforce your brand values, mission and credibility of your organisation? This applies not only to your workplace, but also to your choice of clothing. Make a conscious choice of clothing that is in line with the personality and positioning of your organisation.
Do you want to leave a professional impression during your video call, presentation webinar or online event? Then make use of a ‘branded’ background. This can be virtual (e.g. in Zoom), or with a physical banner. This way you can easily create a ‘clean workspace’ and shield your personal environment. At the same time, you can optimally transfer the experience of your brand to your home workplace. Besides the professional impression you leave behind, you also make sure you minimise distractions and put your brand in the foreground. Other options are to have the logo printed to hang on the wall, possibly combined with photos that enhance your brand values. And have you ever thought of having the visual identity reflected in the clothing of your employees? You can have special clothing developed, but using lanyards, badges or other branded accessories can be an easier and cheaper solution.
"Your background tells your story and shows something of who you are and the organisation you represent.”
7. Log in on time and double check your settings
Do you want to make good use of your time? Then log in on time and don’t wait until the rest of your colleagues or external participants have logged in. By double-checking your settings, you’ll find out beforehand whether you have a good connection, your software works properly and your microphone and camera are configured properly. This prevents delays and frustrations during your meeting and also ensures that you are professionally and well prepared for the day. The position and angle of the camera and the lighting are also important. Do not place your camera too close to you and preferably at eye level. Do you have a height adjustable desk? Then stand up. An active posture gives energy to the image and that also indirectly leaves a positive impression on the conversation and on your brand.
Would you like to know more about setting up your digital workplace 'on brand'?
Our professionals will be happy to help you explore the possibilities of professionally setting up your workplace, online event or webinar to promote your brand in the right way.