Video Call Tips & Backgrounds for Texans

Work from home in a new home near Austin.

Let’s face it – 2020 has forced us all to be resourceful and brought more changes in a year than some endure in a lifetime. Whether you are a newbie at working from home or it’s old hat, we have no doubt you have found yourself on one (or many) video calls over the past year. When weighing video vs. audio meetings, there is a temptation to default to the phone, but video calls add depth to a meeting, allowing you to read body language, keep everyone’s attention, and strengthen your relationship with co-workers.

To avoid unnecessary video call taboos, we have compiled some video call tips to help you navigate your meetings like a pro.

Use a Background

You may not have flexibility in where your computer is placed when working from home, but you do have flexibility in what others see behind you. To avoid the hassle of tidying your bedroom or forcing folks to stare at a bland wall you have been meaning to decorate, take advantage of one of Zoom’s best features and use a background. Keep your meeting local and use a one of a kind Austin background. Sit on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol or “lay out” at Barton Creek while you conduct your meeting. Just because you are stuck at home, doesn’t mean your virtual self has to be.

Check out some of our custom Zoom backgrounds to spice up your next video call!

Clear the Clutter

If you would rather not use a background, arrange your computer in a place where the background won’t be a distraction to others and what is in front of you won’t cause your eyes to wander. If you wouldn’t have dirty laundry behind you and a TV playing in front of you for an in-person meeting, you shouldn’t have them during a video call.

Lights, Camera, Action!

When on calls, attempt to look your best. Find a place in your home with good lighting. Natural light is best, but don’t sit directly in front of a window as that will make you look too dark. Instead sit facing the source of natural light so it will illuminate your face. If natural light isn’t an option, find a light that is coming from an angle and out of the camera frame. Avoid harsh direct light which will leave you looking washed out.

Look Your Best

While Austin is home to laid back cool and casual attire, look presentable for your video calls by wearing the same type of clothing as if you were meeting in person – so throw on your pearl button down and put on pants. Avoid tops that are low-cut in case you have to bend over at any point in the meeting. Don’t wear dangling jewelry or clothes with a loud pattern – steering clear of clothing that may cause distractions. If time allows, block five minutes on your calendar to check your appearance in a mirror before beginning a video meeting. 

Focus on Body Language

Slouching, leaning your head on your hand or laying back on your couch gives the impression you are bored and uninterested. Sit up straight, with your computer camera angled slightly above you, and present yourself as you would if you were meeting with someone in a conference room. Keep eye contact with the camera and avoid multitasking. Acknowledge who is speaking by nodding, and don’t forget to smile. Body language lets others know you are engaged.

Solid Connection

If your Wi-Fi is finicky, it may be wise to use a hard-wired ethernet cable (yes, they still make them). This ensures your connection doesn’t get as backed up as I-35 pre-COVID. Many computers no longer have an ethernet port, so you may need to pick up an adapter.

We have all experienced choppy audio and pixelated screens when attending a video meeting. To avoid this, make sure you clear out any devices that could interrupt your connection. Disconnect other streaming devices that could be hogging bandwidth.

Have the Right Equipment

While technically you don’t need anything other than your computer to conduct a video call, having some trusted equipment will help your meeting run smoothly. Picking up an external webcam will do wonders for your video picture and a bluetooth external microphone and speaker will ensure your audio is clear.

Come to the meeting charged up and have your computer charger on hand, as long video calls tend to quickly drain your battery. Running out of juice or having to go find your charger leaves you looking unprofessional.

Living at Lakeside at Tessera

Work from home in comfort and luxury when you live at Lakeside at Tessera, located in Lago Vista, Texas. Contact us today to schedule your tour.

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