In the past three years, video calling has become a normal way to communicate at work. Although you may not need to be as presentable as in person, you can’t just get out of bed and start the conversation. Still, there is some etiquette to follow, and here are the best tips for effective video calls with clients that will have you look professional and engaging.
Check your equipment well before the video call
Before you start a video call with your clients, check whether your camera and mic are properly working, or at all. Even if they were 100% yesterday, software updates or dirt may cause problems. Those who are getting ready for their first video call ever should check the equipment to see how they look and sound. The built-in camera and mic in your laptop may be decent, but you may be better off buying more quality ones.
Don’t be late
If you want to look professional, you need to be punctual. It shows that you value your client’s time, as well as your own, giving the impression you will do the same for projects they entrusted to you. Working from home may cause distraction, but you can set a reminder about the meeting, especially if you need to go over the pitch.
Try apps that help you organize your schedule or hire a virtual office manager for a few days so you can keep track of your responsibilities. Being punctual is the most basic thing clients will expect from you, and tardiness even a few minutes can make you seem unprofessional.
Try not to speak over or interrupt those speaking
In everyday conversation, it’s rude to interrupt someone talking or speak over them. The same, if not more, applies to business conversations, especially those that are not in-person like video calls. This is something you need to make sure your colleagues understand as well, so tell them about video conferencing rules beforehand.
One of the best ways to make sure this doesn’t happen is to time-limit everyone’s presentation or to encourage people to raise their hands to speak next. It may sound old-school, but it’s an effective way to keep your video calls with clients civil and respectful.
Use nonverbal communication
Just like during in-person conversations, video calls need nonverbal gestures to be more authentic and natural. The way you sit and what you do with your hands can play a big part in having effective video calls with clients. For example, use hand gestures to emphasize something, back up from the webcam so others can see more than your head, and nod occasionally to show them you are listening. However, the key is to not overdo it and make everyone feel awkward and out of place.
Give others room to speak
Video calls are best when they’re engaging and to make that happen, you have to allow others to share their thoughts and ideas. Usually, people believe that silence is a sign for others to speak, but that may lead to chaos and overlapping conversations. Instead, you can ask for feedback or if anyone has any questions encourage them to join the conversation.
If you and your colleagues are well-prepared for the video meeting, you can decide on who will speak when during the presentation. Or, on who will answer questions from the clients so you don’t all speak at the same time. The most important thing is that clients have room to speak so they know you are hearing their requests and ideas to truly understand what they need.
Maintain eye contact
Eye contact is a normal part of the in-person conversation and the same applies to video calls. This is how the clients will know they have your full attention and that you are listening. To make this happen, look at the camera directly and imagine it’s the other person’s eyes. Moreover, don’t constantly look at your appearance on camera or type during conversations since that will be one of the signs you are not focused on the speaker.
Look your best
As a business, you have a unique option to use professional video conferencing services to look your best in front of clients. Aside from carefully picking up your clothes, hairstyle, and overall appearance, you need high-quality video and sound production. Hiring professional service will take care of everything, like pre-production, equipment, and set design so you leave a positive impression on your clients. If you have a pitch meeting, this may be just what you need to close the deal.
Stand up during meetings
Standing up during video calls will make your nonverbal gestures more visible and natural. It will also improve your posture and make you appear more confident during conversations. If you have to hold a presentation or a pitch meeting then you have to do everything you can to make it interactive and interesting.
When standing up, you are more flexible to show printed materials or draw something on the board as an example. Furthermore, it’s a more comfortable way for those who don’t like to have a close-up of their face and would rather turn off the camera.
Think of your background
It doesn’t matter only how you look, but also what’s around you. The background of your video calls can tell a lot about yourself and leave a good or bad impression on the clients. The setting behind you should be without distractions and inappropriate content, like a mess in the living room. Also, you should tell your household members to leave you be during the call and stay quiet, too.
You can stage the background specifically for your video calls, with some books, plants, and anything else that will highlight your professionalism. If you intend to set a background through the video conferencing app, choose that carefully so it doesn’t reflect badly on your reputation.
The best tips for effective video calls with clients are those that work for you. It’s important to know that you have options to hire professionals to organize everything or get well prepared before the meeting. The same etiquette applies here as in any type of conversation — you should pay attention, look people in the eye, and wait your turn to speak to appear professional and focused.