Video calls are the essence of the Symposium marketplace. We take the virtual services from experts and allow them to be packaged and sold just like you’d sell a product online. As with a product, presentation is key for your virtual online business. In the case of Symposium video calls, you could be offering the best service, but if the video is buffering, the sound is cutting in and out, and there’s a 10 second delay, then your service won’t resonate to its maximum ability. This is why you want to ensure you’re taking all the proper measures to elevate your video calls so your message doesn’t get lost in the weeds as you gain new clients.
Here are 4 easy hacks to instantly improve your video calls.
#1- Boost your Internet Connection
Modern day internet is the sole reason why virtual meetings thrived during the pandemic. In order for the virtual model to properly replace face-to-face conversation, the interaction has to feel seamless and operate in real time. And nothing gets in the way of a productive virtual call more than a buffering, lagging connection. However, there are two easy fixes for this issue.
Bypass wireless and opt for direct Ethernet connection. We live in a wireless world for the sake of convenience, but when you’re trying to optimize your internet connection, plugging in is the way to go. For many of us who operate our business through our laptops, this may require purchasing an external hub to connect the Ethernet cable. However, if this option is unavailable for you, moving as close to your wireless router during your video calls can minimize connectivity issues.
If you live in a household where multiple people leverage the same internet connection, make sure no streaming services are being used during your video calls so you can free up as much available bandwidth for your session. Bandwidth is like a highway and the more lanes that are taken up by Netflix, YouTube, and gaming, then the longer it will take your video signal to reach its destination.
#2- Improve Your Lighting
Once your internet connection is optimized, now you want to make sure you’re visually presented properly. Your face is the first thing clients will see and nothing sets off the vibe worse than an obscure, shadowy figure taking center stage. That’s why your room’s lighting is essential to show clients your friendly, inviting presence.
The best way to improve your lighting is to find a window and use the natural light to shine your face. You don’t want the window behind you, rather you want to place your computer, phone, laptop, or webcam in front of the light source and facing away from it. Then position yourself in front of your camera-source and find the optimal angle. A window with too much sun coming through can also be distracting, for both your client’s eyes and your own, so take a few minutes before each video call to make sure you’re using the window optimally. This depends on the time of day, strength of the sunshine, and other factors.
If window lighting is not an option, the next best thing is to use an indoor light source to your advantage. Try facing your best quality lamp towards the wall that is behind your camera source. The light that bounces off of the wall and onto your face will achieve a softer, more evenly spread out source of lighting rather than having the lamp’s light over-exposed on your face. Lastly, you can even use the light off your computer screen to help light your face. By putting up a blank word document and adjusting the screen brightness accordingly, you’ll be able to even out some of the inconsistencies in your room’s current lighting as a last resort.
Bonus tip: Utilize your smartphone’s built-in camera instead! The cameras in our smartphones are getting scarily good and very likely is of higher quality than your built-in laptop camera. Use apps like EpocCam or iVCam to leverage your smartphone during your virtual calls.
#3- Optimize Audio Quality
You do not need a studio-quality microphone to have successful communication through your video call. However, using your built-in microphone on your laptop is not ideal. This leads to feedback issues, audio that cuts out, distortion, and inconsistent dynamics between loud and soft noises, all of which can be unpleasant for your listeners. Also, if there are any momentary delays during the connection, clients may hear their voice echoing when it’s their turn to speak.
All of this can be improved by simply using any pair of wired or wireless headphones that have a microphone attached. Simple! Most headphones on the market will have their own microphone built-in. Once you plug in your headphones, go to your input sound settings and adjust the volume accordingly, as each headphone-microphone set will be different.
Bonus tip: use noise canceling apps to block out any background noise! Noise Blocker, NoiseGator, and Krisp are all great options to help minimize barking dogs, air conditioners, outside traffic, and any other noisy distractions that can potentially deter your virtual call.
#4- Create Human Engagement
Lastly, once you get the technical issues out of the way, now you want to position yourself in front of your camera to create the most engaging experience. The best way to do this is to bring your camera to eye-level, whether you’re using your laptop, smartphone, or an external cam. A simple trick to do this is to simply stack some books underneath your laptop or smartphone to raise it to the proper level. Position your camera source directly in front of your face, not off to an angle, but also not so close that your face takes up the entire frame. Make sure you are far enough away so that your upper torso and shoulders are visible – but not so far that you start blending in with the background.
Bonus tip: To simulate eye contact, try looking directly into your camera when speaking. Although it’s tempting to look at the screen to see your client, it’s important to think about it from their end. Humans are social creatures and we look to each other’s eyes to decode nonverbal communication. So as often as you can, direct your gaze at the camera itself. You should still look back to your screen to read your client’s gaze and nonverbal cues as well, of course. To seamlessly switch back and forth, drag the video chat window as close to the camera source as possible.
Once you optimize your video calls using these tips, you can feel safe knowing that there wil be no interferences, interruptions, or barriers in the virtual space that prevent you from delivering your message to your clients. If you have any other strategies for our fellow hustlers to improve their video calls, we’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts with us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
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