Conference calls don’t need to be a drag. You’ve got the technology to make sure that you get onto the call without any stress (Hint: use MobileDay), so really all that is left is up to your personal conduct while you are in the meeting.
The trouble is, that conference call etiquette is less well defined than in-person meeting protocol is. That, however, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a right way and a wrong way to doing it. You can totally kill a conference call for everyone involved if your energy is off the mark. Here are some conference call tips to help you be the most motivated person in the (virtual) room.
Tip 1: Sit to Attention!
You’re right, nobody can really see you. Even if you are on a video call the image quality is not usually that great. Nobody can tell if you are slouching, right?
So what? You can tell if you are slouching! It might not affect anyone else on the call directly, but if you slink into a slouch and drool into your coffee, you’ll feel your energy seep out your ears. Then you get sleepy, and then you stop contributing—either that your contributions suck—, and then you might as well not be there at all.
Would you slouch in a board meeting? No, so don’t slouch on a conference call!
Video calls are kind of weird in that you sit and stare directly at each other’s faces. Do your colleagues a favor and don’t make it even more weird by wearing your most intense frown the whole time. Smile, or do something as close to a smile as you can without feeling like the Cheshire cat.
Tip 3: Get Dressed
Doesn’t matter if it’s not a video call. Get dressed all the same.
No cheating—you can’t wear a nice top over your PJs and hope that nobody will notice that you are wearing Caption America pants. Getting dressed isn’t about the other people in the virtual room seeing you, it’s about your state of mind. Put on your “work” clothes and you’ll put your brain in work gear. Put on your slouch pants and you’ll slop all over your meeting.
Tip 4: Frame it Right
In video conferences, pay attention to what the other attendees are going to see in their screen-view of you. Funny as it might sound, how they perceive you on the screen will affect how they think of you as a person, and how they react to your ideas. Humans place a lot of judgement on the visual—for better of for worse.
If you are sat in a dingy, poorly lit corner in front of a droopy potted plant at a desk covered in cat hairs and coffee stains, for example, your projection of what you believe the department should do in Q3 might be shelved in favor of your lesser-experienced colleague’s suggestions just because she is sitting in a sunlit room with a symphony of angels in the background singing Gloria in Excelsis.
It’s not because her ideas are better than yours, it’s because she has the visual upper hand. Subtle, but this is a thing, and one that you should consider on your next video conference. Think: Lights! Camera! Action!