COVID-19 revolutionised the way we work and business is now conducted on screen – globally; remote working took off on a big scale. People work from their kitchens, home office, study or gardens and photos on all social platforms reflect this. As we are wired to connect, we shifted our face-to-face communication to video conferencing to get a glimpse of our colleagues and do business with clients.
Here’s the big change for most of us: From the full on corporate look working from an office, we are now opting for more casual outfits. Make-up is minimal, jewellery too, and hoodies have become acceptable. That’s the top part of everyone’s outfit. No need to elaborate on the bottom part and the shoes. They’re hidden from the camera – unless you need to get up and get something during your call.
Business on screen, though, requires more effort if you want to increase your chances of closing a deal. Here are a few points to consider when conducting business on screen:
Ask these questions: Who are you meeting? Is it a new client or someone you’ve been trying to pitch to? Will they be alone or will you be joining a meeting in a board room? Be well-prepared rather than under prepared. This could well be your one chance.
Wherever your space, finding the right time or creating the right environment around you is key. If you have young children, make sure they are not running behind you as this will distract your client. Avoid a cluttered background and if you can blur it, do so. Lighting is very important and it is best to check whether any background lighting will reduce the clarity of your image on screen. Check the sound and adjust any echo effect that you may hear.
Test your camera and your position on screen. Where should you look to command the best attention from your audience? Look straight at the camera, not at the audience. This is just like having great eye contact. It may feel awkward at first but if you want to convey confidence virtually, then that is where you look. Experts working on TV recommend that allowing enough headroom should be taken into consideration. Remember, the impression you are giving is via a screen and small details can make a great difference.
After having found your optimum angle on screen, prepare any documentation that you will need to refer to during your meeting and have it close by. Next comes you – how are you going to look? We all know the situation we are currently in, so there is no need to overdo it. Go for a classic shirt or a blouse that looks polished. Light make-up, neat hair and clean shaven for men, and last but not least, it’s good to smile too. It is also advisable to check on your posture while on screen. Sitting on a chair would be much better than on a sofa but if you cannot do otherwise, just sit straight during your call.
You may need to share your screen with your audience during your call so be sure that any non-related windows on screen are closed and that your notifications are also off. If you are at home, you may wish to consider turning off the door bell for the duration of the meeting and putting your phone on airplane mode for minimal distraction. Remember to keep looking at the camera as much as possible and if it helps, place a small sticky note near it to draw your attention there.
Just like you would at a normal face-to-face meeting, thank your clients for their time and allow for further interaction if this is necessary.
And as we all say to each other, wish them well and to stay safe.
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A word of thanks goes to Claire Agius Ordway who shared a few tips from her extensive experience working on camera.