1: We know you are at home, but we shouldn't be able to tell
- Work from a table or desk, not a couch or bed. Even if you don't have a home office, you should avoid joining meetings from your couch or your bed. At a minimum, set up at your kitchen table. Consider standing with the laptop on a high shelf for shorter meetings.
- Be aware of what is visible in the background. Set up a space with blank wall or very little in the background. Bring your screen closer to you to reduce what the camera sees and keep the focus on you.
- Be aware of what is/could be audible in the background We can't always control noise like kids, pets, traffic or others in the household, but using a headset, setting up in quiet space in the house, and scheduling calls for quieter times can help.
2: Assume we are seeing and Hearing everything you Do, The whole time you are on the call
- If you wouldn't do it in a face-to-face meeting, don't do it on a video call.
- Keep an eye on your own video.
- Vary your view - others on the call still see you even when you don't see yourself.
- Structure your environment to reduce potential issues.
3: Optimize Your Video and Sound
- More than 3 on the call - mute your microphone! The noise from your mic will be distracting and lower the quality of the call. In some formats, when you have a non-speech noise, the video will jump to you, thinking you are the speaker.
- Lighting from the side or in front of you. Make sure you don't have a light or window behind you. The light will cause your camera to react, making the foreground (your face) too dark to see clearly.
- Have your camera level with your face/eyes. Prop your computer, device or camera up on books, a shelf, tripod or computer stand. Tilting the laptop screen means your viewers will be looking up your nose instead of into your eyes.
4. Use the Tools
- Use the tools - video and audio can both be muted if needed. It's okay if you need to blow your nose, sneeze, even leave for a moment, but turn off the camera and sound before you do.
- Have your screen content close to your camera - if you are looking at a presentation or listening to someone talk, drag that window near where your computer's camera is. That way you will simulate eye contact, rather than looking like you aren't connected to the listener/speaker.
- Reduce distractions for yourself and your viewers - close other windows on your computer screen, silence your phone, etc. Don't use a background which will distract your listener.