This adapted post comes from AllWays Health Partners' provider blog, Best Practice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have turned to virtual meetings and video calls to conduct their business. If you're new to meeting online, using your webcam during a call, or want to enhance your experience, here are three tips for a great virtual meeting.
1. Check your internet connection
The best way to improve your virtual meetings is to maintain a strong internet connection. Between choppy audio, lagging or frozen video, dropped calls and more, a poor internet connection can add unnecessary frustration onto any video call. The best way to ensure a good connection is to connect directly to your router or modem with an ethernet cable.
If that isn’t an option and you’re relying on WiFi, a good way to improve is to either move closer to your WiFi router, or relocate your router closer to your workspace. It’s also a good idea to avoid other activities that might disrupt your connection, like downloading or uploading large files. If you’re at home with other family members and anticipate an important meeting, you might also want to ask them to avoid streaming video on YouTube or Netflix during the call.
2. Make sure you can be heard clearly
Good sound quality is extremely important, and the best way to achieve clear audio with no echo is to use a headphones or a headset with a microphone. A pair of headphones will reduce feedback an prevent other people on the call from hearing an echo of their own voice.
However, if you don’t headphones on hand, there are a few ways that changing your surroundings might help. Tiled or concrete rooms create an echo, making it harder for other participants to hear you. Ideally, you should set up your workstation in a room with a carpeted floor and low ceiling, both of which reduce echo. If there are no rooms like that available, move pillows, blankets, and soft furniture into the room. These objects will absorb sound waves, creating less echo. Try to move wooden, plastic, or metal objects away from you, because hard surfaces can worsen echo, not alleviate it.
3. Use the correct lighting
Even if the light in the room is good in person, it may not be optimal for a webcam. Bright lighting from behind you can cause a shadow and make it hard for other participants to see you. Close the blinds or curtains on any windows behind you. The best lighting to use for webcam video is soft lighting that comes from in front of you. Set a light source a few feet in front of you, ideally more than one at different angles. This can be as simple as a desk lamp or two on either side of your monitor, or moving your set-up in front of a window. If you're by a window, keep in mind that natural light changes throughout the day, so check how you look between calls.