Video Conferencing from Home!

Whether it’s for an interview, sales call, business meeting, or a casual video chat, many of us have adapted to video conferencing… and it’s here to stay!

Interested in upping your video conferencing game? Here are a few tips to consider that can make it a better experience for you and your fellow conferees:

 

First, what’s your internet speed? Speed is important for the best quality sound and video, which makes meetings more effective (and less frustrating). You can test your internet speed at www.speedtest.net. For one to two devices with minimal video streaming and lower quality video conferencing you need at least a 25Mbps download speed. If your partner or spouse is also using the internet for video conferences, and your kids are simultaneously doing so for schoolwork or playing video games online, you might need to upgrade your internet speed. Speeds between 50 and 100Mbps are more common these days and very affordable. Contact your provider to see what options are available for you. It may be less expensive than you think, and the increased speed will dramatically improve the quality and consistency of your video conferences.

Lighting, lighting, lighting! Consider the lighting setup in the room where you “meet” via web camera. The best scenario is to face a window (natural light is the best!) or position a lamp or other light source in front of your face, directed at it. The worst thing to do is to sit with a strong light behind you and no source of light to brighten your face from the front. The people you’re meeting with will only see your dark, undistinguished form, surrounded by a glowing light. That may be best if you’ve just gotten out of bed and are still in pajamas, but that’s for you to decide…

Another tip–it’s also nice to have ambient light on in the room so that walls and objects behind you are visible. You can check out how you look to others in almost all video conference applications.

 

Next, what about sound and sound quality? There are many options available now.  Earbuds (wired or Bluetooth) work well and the microphones on most earbuds are generally excellent. You may be happy using the speakers on your laptop or desktop, but it’s a good idea to purchase a USB microphone so that others can hear you more clearly. These microphones can be positioned near you and away from your computer speakers for enhanced sound clarity.

You might also think about ways to reduce any echo that others may hear. Hard surfaces like walls, ceilings, and floors can be bad for acoustics during video conferences. Placing a rug on the floor in the room where you “meet” is a quick adjustment that can make a big difference.

 

Lastly, if your laptop with a built-in camera or webcam, is more than a few years old, a newer, better camera may be in order. And nowadays, most webcams simply plug into a USB port. Be sure to check out the consumer reviews of the camera before you buy!

Regardless of whether you’re using a built-in camera, the camera on your tablet or phone, or a USB webcam, be sure to position the camera so that it’s at your eye level or a bit higher. You’ve watched others who place their camera on the desk providing a great view up their nostrils… Don’t let that be you!

 

Video conferencing doesn’t have to be amateur hour. Impress your friends, co-workers, and maybe even your boss with these simple tips!

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