Video calls are now an essential part of the working day as we continue to maintain social distancing and communicate digitally as opposed to travelling all over the world for meetings and conferences.

With a record number of downloads made in just one week back in March, there is no doubt  that video conferencing software and apps are here to stay.

While many will be familiar with video calls and therefore comfortable with communicating and presenting in this way, many will be new to the process and may feel unprepared to engage with colleagues and clients without meeting them in person.

Traditional, face-to-face meetings allowed for individuals to read body language and build trust, whereas video meetings rely on a more basic audio-visual connection. This isn’t to say, however, that you can’t make a positive first impression on video.

In fact, there are several minor changes that you can make in order to make a strong first impression when communicating with anyone digitally. We’ve shared three of them below:

1 Improve your desk lighting

This is a simple change that can be implemented quickly! If you can’t physically be in the same room as the person or group you are meeting with; you are going to have to rely a lot more on facial expressions to convey your ideas and attitudes.

Likewise, if your audience cannot clearly see your face, you run the risk of misinformation and miscommunication, as well as disengaging them.

To ensure that you can be seen clearly, it is helpful to place additional lighting on your desk pointing towards you, so that your face is well-lit on the screen.

2 Eliminate distractions behind you

While some people will be fortunate enough to work in a dedicated office while at home, there will be many that need to carry out video meetings in a communal area of the house, such as the living room. This can pose a number of distractions for your audience, which means they may lose interest in what you are saying.

Whether it’s switching off the television, moving that basket of washing or even just ensuring that you won’t be disturbed for the duration of the call, eliminating distractions will help to ensure that your audience is focused only on you.

3 Ensure that all your documents and presentations are prepared

This may seem obvious, but if you are spending time working out how to share your screen or share important documents and files with your audience while on the call, you are going to look unprepared and unprofessional, and your audience will quickly lose interest.

To ensure that you are fully prepared for your meeting, it is useful to quickly run through any sharing processes you’ll need beforehand, so that when the time comes, the session runs as smoothly as possible.

Our virtual pitching and presenting programme

Did you know that we offer a dedicated training course to help you improve your presence on video calls? MDA Training’s ‘Presenting and Pitching Virtually with Impact’ workshop is full of practical tools, tips and tricks that you can use immediately to improve your digital presence.

The virtual workshop blends facilitator-led inputs with interactive exercises and experiential activities designed to engage participants throughout. It is centred around five key themes essential to presenting, pitching and meeting virtually with impact.

To see this programme in action, please watch the video below: