Be punctual and introduce yourself before speaking so that everyone knows who’s talking and can address you by name. Take note of the other speakers so that you can also address them by name. Lastly, turn off the sounds on your smart phone and absolutely no texting.
Your focus should always be on the person or people at the other end of your video conference. Avoid typing on your keyboard, turn off all sounds on your phone, and close yourself into a room with no or minimal background noise.
A audio check should be done before the virtual meeting begins to ensure that everyone can hear you. Know your material – uncertainty will cause you to mumble. Speak naturally but slowly and pronunciate each word.
Avoid screaming. If someone can’t hear you, then adjust the level on the microphone and make sure it’s not covered by your clothing or something else. Yelling will cause viewers to turn down their volume and potentially miss what you have to say.
If you’re someone that talks with your hands, practice keeping them put. Hand movements can distract your audience. Also, keep head movements to a minimum as well as jerky movements forward or back.
Wait for an opening in the conversation before putting in your two cents. Cutting other speakers off is rude. Another option is posting pending questions by instant message so that every comment is addressed.
Keep your focus on the camera. The worst thing is having your audience look at the top of your head because your typing or looking down at notes – or worse – at your Blackberry.
Chances are if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face meeting, then you shouldn’t do it in a virtual one. That includes tuning out of the present conversation to talk to someone else sitting next to you, on the phone, in an IM chat, anywhere and anybody not in the current meeting.
Striped shirts or shirts with intricate patterns do not transmit well on camera, because they are visually distracting. Red, white and black are also poor choices. Go for a pastel or other light colored shirt.
Jewelry should be small and simple. Big jewelry can be distracting to those tuning-in and it can also bump against your microphone. Also, stay away from dangling ear rings and shiny eyeglass frames.
Relax and have a good time. Be lively, break the ice with a joke, and make viewers laugh. It’s uber easy to tune out in a face-to-face meeting, so imagine how easy it is in a virtual one. The more fun you interject, the more people will stay focused and interested in what you have to say.
-- Nicole Marie Richardson