Having a virtual office has some advantages to be sure. They save time commuting to a physical office, rent on a physical office and the gas to get there (no small expense these days). But virtual offices are not without their challenges. Often, those who are using a virtual office set-up find themselves using video conferencing on a regular basis. Video conferencing is one of those things that we can either do well or get less than ideal results from. Here are a few tips on conducting a successful video conference.
Pick the right location
The meeting may be virtual, but your location still matters. Since most virtual office users won’t have a broadcast studio, they can do the next best thing. A carpeted room with soft furnishings creates a better audio environment than a mostly empty room with bare floors. Related to the audio is background noise. Understandably, there are times we simply can’t control that, such as a passing siren, but we can take steps to mitigate those things. Closing doors and windows, telling others in your space that you’re on a video conference and measures like that will go a long way.
Proper lighting can also make a difference. Dimply lit rooms filled with shadows feel unprofessional and amateurish. Lighting rings and other LED lights that are made for video use are inexpensive and can make a world of difference.
Pick the right background
Just as important is your background. In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many were learning about video conferencing and there were plenty of gaffes. They were often funny, but the expectation now is that people know what they are doing. Even if you are new to video conferencing, your peers probably aren’t. Your clients and peers don’t need to see your unmade bed (or your bedroom at all) or housemates walking around in the background.
Platforms like Zoom or GoTo Meeting allow you to use virtual backgrounds. The problem is that those backgrounds quite often end up giving people an eerie glowing or weird pixelating. That makes your hardware and lighting very important. Green screens are inexpensive and easy to use, although they don’t always solve the eerie glow problems. Aside from that, some of those backgrounds are a bit silly. We all know you’re not at the Golden Gate Bridge or out in space, so we often start to wonder how much dirty laundry that background is meant to hide.
You can create a custom virtual background and that can be a good option. The background can help to promote your business by showing your logo or products in the background. An alternative that is less prone to technical hiccups is a physical screen. These can be high-resolution photos of something like a brick wall or wood paneling or they can be more neutral, such as a flat gray or a muted white. Perhaps a good picture of your table at a trade show would be an option. One company that does backdrops is Anyvoo.
Pick the right camera position
It is tempting if you are working from your virtual office to put the screen you are viewing on a large monitor. That’s fine as long as your camera is in the same direction. If the camera is on your laptop in one spot and you are continually looking the other way, others in the meeting see the side of your head the whole time. Even though you are fully engaged; it can look like you are distracted from the meeting.
Related to that is to position your camera at eye level. This replicates sitting across the table from the other people in the meeting. It also keeps it from looking as if you are looking down at people…and prevents them from looking up your nose for 45 minutes.
First Street Executive Suites offers virtual offices starting at $99.00 a month. You can have a prestigious business address in the historic Earnhardt building in downtown Fort Myers. Take a virtual tour of your new virtual office and start seeing the possibilities. Contact us for questions and details of the different packages.