Video conferencing: how to conduct interviews and present professionally
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has accelerated the shift to digital technology and changed the way we do business. With many employees now working from home, interviewing potential job candidates, and presenting via video conference is fast becoming the new norm.
Usually, in an interview, there would be handshakes and body language, whereas interviewers and presenters now need to rely on virtual waves and reading facial expressions.
While it is undeniably a different experience, it still requires the same level of dedication and professionalism. Here are some tips on how to master your next video conferencing call.
Check and re-check equipment to ensure that everything is working. Clear the area you will be video conferencing from and remove any clutter. Close any background programs that are not in use so that your internet connection remains up to speed. Keep your phone on silent to minimise distractions. Print off any documents you need beforehand, so you are organised and ready to go.
Design your set
Be conscious of what people on the other side of the lens can see. Clear your background of photos and personal items as these will distract your audience and make you appear unprofessional. Choose a neutral background or download a virtual backdrop that suits the image you are trying to project, and then do a test run so you can get a clear understanding of how your background will look like before the event.
Dress for success
Dress professionally, as if you were physically in the office. The way you dress says a lot about your personality, your professionalism and sets the standard for others to follow suit. A polished appearance immediately positions you as an authority figure and someone who commands respect.
Holding the attention of your audience can be incredibly difficult, even in an office environment. The best way to ensure engagement is to keep your interview or presentation as short as possible. Stick to the script and don’t wander off track. Interact with your audience by asking questions throughout the interview or presentation. Also make sure that you vary your voice and speak in an animated and passionate tone, as this stops your audience’s minds from wandering and keep them engaged.
Think Creatively About Your Visuals
If you’re doing a presentation, make sure you vary your visuals. Don’t use slides with boring blocks of text that no one is going to bother reading. People are much more responsive to interesting visual cues, resulting in communication that resonates with the audience and inspires people to act. Think about what outcome you are trying to achieve and find creative ways to convey your message. Make your presentation memorable and you will get the results you desire.
Employees are drawn to managers who are confident and will often listen to and respect them even if they don’t agree with everything they are saying. The best way to ensure that you feel confident is to come prepared. It’s also important to practice your interview or presentation before the event using your webcam. This will allow you to check your appearance, test your sound, and see what your background looks like.