Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations in which volunteers undergo solidarity projects transferred their all to remote work. Negotiations and meetings are now held by the majority in a virtual format. Moreover, in terms of their productivity, videoconferencing often turns out to be much more effective than real meetings: as practice shows, their participants speak more about the case and focus their attention on the main issues.
However, business communication with the boss and colleagues from the project, by video link from the home kitchen or living room, is fraught with a lot of pitfalls. Therefore, participation in such meetings requires thorough preparation. Advice to volunteers on how to avoid embarrassing situations and best serve themselves, I will try to tell you.
Where should the gadget be?
In no case do not sit in front of the camera with your back to the window. The light source should be in front of you. Otherwise, you will find yourself in the shade, and your interlocutors will not see your face. Install the gadget so that it does not look into the camera from above. Otherwise, your interlocutor will subconsciously feel lowered, and as a result, this may negatively affect your communication with him. The laptop camera should be at eye level. If you use a smartphone, lock it on a selfie stick or on a tripod.
Make sure that your back is straight, and the image of your face does not fill the entire screen: otherwise you will look non-photogenic. But you should not install the gadget too far from yourself: there is a danger that the microphone will then pick up extraneous noise. To avoid audio interruption, close applications that use a lot of RAM before the virtual meeting. Remember: for all the significance of the picture, sound during video conferencing plays a paramount role.
And one more thing: do not go during an apartment meeting, all the more so with a smartphone or tablet in your hand. This will create problems with sound and become an annoying factor for other conference participants.
When preparing for a video conference, think about the background behind you. If in the background there is an ironing board with a pile of linen or a ladder on which a bucket of paint is hung, this will not be good for your reputation: if you see such a picture on the screen, the mentor will probably decide that you are abusing his trust and will not disdain to switch to household chores.
Remember: in the frame there should be only a working area where it is clean and tidy. However, using a special computer program for video broadcasting, you can choose some suitable virtual background.
And it’s also very important: warn the volunteer neighbors in advance (if you are in different projects, of course) so that during a video conference they would be in another room (if possible), not make noise, break into the frame or distract you, politely offering a sandwich or coffee. If this happens, calmly, but at the same time, insistently ask them to leave. It goes without saying that during a business meeting in your room there is no place for four-legged pets either.
As they say, they are met by clothes. A videoconference participant needs to dress like he always dressed, going to work for his company. As psychologists note, wearing a business suit, a person automatically starts and behaves in a businesslike manner.
If the company where you work does not have a dress code, then, of course, for such an event, a more imposing outfit would also suit - say, calm colors of a T-shirt and jeans. But pajamas or tracksuit are taboo. If you appear in front of the boss in this form, he will definitely think about it.
When they give you a word, look not at the screen, but at the camera. So the interlocutors will have the impression that you are looking directly into their eyes. Do not interrupt the speaker, and also do not forget to turn off your microphone when someone else is talking. If you want to say something, raise your hand. And this is not only a matter of etiquette. If two or more participants in a video conference speak at the same time, the rest will be able to hear only one of them. Needless to say, there will be little use for such a business meeting.