ClickAway advice to keep up with colleagues, friends & family
Are you struggling to use today’s online video chat tools to keep up with co-workers, friends and family during the pandemic? The occasional Facetime or Skype with the kids was one thing but now we’re in video chat meetings and online social discussions nearly every day due to COVID-19 coronavirus.
The New York Times calls it the digital divide. Especially hard hit is the older generation, many of whom are uncomfortable with the internet and tech gadgets in general yet crave connectivity with family and friends.
If you were not prepared before, you should follow these suggestions to avoid any embarrassment during a video chat session. As an Essential Business, ClickAway technicians are ready to handle your digital needs and service your computer, network, phone, and other connected devices. Please contact us about our no-touch services and more.
Follow these video chat guidelines
Use a computer rather than your cell phone.
As good as cell phone cameras and connections are, your laptop or desktop is better for group chats and meetings. Sure, the cell phone can work as long as your on a web-based group chat like Google Hangouts or Zoom. But Androids can’t Facetime with iPhones. They are also portable devices and therefore, prone to movement that makes watchers feel like they’re on a cruise or in high wind. There’s also that random person who tries to use their old iPhone 6 or similar. The picture is fuzzy, and the camera and audio break up constantly. It’s irritating for those watching.
Hit the mute button unless you’re talking
You’re in an important discussion with your colleagues when your roommate flushes the toilet, or your dog barks, or your toddler throws a tantrum. We all know the pitfalls of working from home, especially with the kids home too. However, muting your sound can help you avoid those embarrassing moments. Look for the microphone icon and select it to turn it off or on.
Turn off the video camera if you have to get up or move away
Livestreaming is great as long as it shows what you want it to. There are plenty of examples of people forgetting to turn off their camera after getting up, only to display to the entire office staff what their bathroom looks like and what they do in it. Not sure how to do that or in a hurry? Place a Post-it note over the camera lens.
Pay attention to lighting & background
A simple desk light pointed toward your face while you’re talking can provide all the brightness you need. A light behind you will make you look like you’re talking in the shadows. Also, consider what’s behind you. Do you really want your colleagues to see your laundry or worse?
Look at the camera
We’ve all been on lots of video chats where we only see someone’s forehead or up their nose. The video conferencing apps today have a small window that shows what you look like. Be in the center of the frame. It also feels more personal if you’re looking at the camera lens when talking or listening.
Video chats are not ancient tools that have weak microphones. Computers and webcams today have pretty decent mics. So just speak normally. As long as people aren’t talking over each other and there is limited background noise, your group will hear you. Use headphones to minimize background noise if you need to.
Signal When You Want To Talk
During in-person meetings with several people, you can pick up on visual cues to help find the right time to speak. It’s a lot easier to accidentally interrupt on a video call. Wait for a few moments of silence before speaking up in case there’s a sound delay.
Sharing Your Screen
If you do need to share your screen during a video call, take a few seconds to prepare before you hit that share button. Clear your desktop of any extra tabs or programs you may have open and make sure any private or sensitive information is hidden.