Video chat and calls are becoming more and more popular among people. In addition to people using these to communicate with their family and friends both near and far, brands, both personal and business ones, are now using these to communicate with their clients, customers, employers, and employees. Skype, Google Hangouts and Tango are just a few of the available ways for you to communicate with others using video calls.
Video chatting is now an excellent way to connect and interact with other people. It lessens the hassle of having to meet in person, yet the face to face interaction is there. Even video conferencing has become an extremely convenient way to conduct business meetings. You only need to have an Internet connection and a laptop or PC, and you can easily meet with your colleagues, partners or employees even across the globe.
You should remember though that it’s important to project the right image in these video calls. As someone in charge of your personal brand, it’s essential that you make the right first impression, especially when you’re talking to a client, business partner, colleague, or hiring manager. Your personal brand is your reputation, so it’s important that you manage and control it. You don’t want to be seen (literally) with your pants down!
Branding yourself through online video-chats
So what are some best practices in branding yourself in Skype, Google Hangouts, Tango, and the like?
Here are some tips:
1. Be well-groomed
One of the most essential things you need to do is to ensure that you’re well-groomed for the video call. Actually, you can even wear pajamas (unless you plan on walking around and doing demonstrations), but make sure that you’re groomed from the waist up. Comb your hair and make sure that it falls neatly in place, have a clean face or put on tasteful make up, and wear something that fits well on you and won’t distract the person from looking at your face.
This is especially important if you have a scheduled video interview. Make sure to dress up and wear business attire so you can make a good first impression. You can also wear discrete pieces of jewelry. For a more casual meeting, you can wear a collared shirt or blousy top, and remember to ensure that your face is clean.
2. Good lighting is a must
Good lighting is something that you need to ensure when doing video calls or conferencing. Nothing’s worse than talking to someone on Skype whom you can barely see due to poor lighting.
Natural light is the best, since it shows off your best features and looks great on your face. A good thing to do is to place your PC or laptop in front of some open windows, so that you’re facing the light and it falls nicely on your face. Having windows at your back will only cast your face in shadow, and ruin the video call experience.
If natural lighting isn’t possible, artificial light will also suit, just make sure that you’re facing the light – it shouldn’t be behind you. If you’re in a pretty dark room, you can also put a lamp near the front of your face.
3. Check out your surroundings
When talking to someone on a video call, you should ensure a clutter-free background. It is very distracting to talk to someone whom you can see is located in a messy room or place, and this will not make a good first impression of the person. If possible, do a video call or chat in a room that’s clean and neat, and have a plain wall as your background. This helps the person you’re talking to focus on what you’re saying and not on the messy room behind you.
4. Avoid interruptions
If you have a scheduled video call or conference, you should also ensure that there are no interruptions, such as your cell phone ringing or your kid bursting inside the door and trying to gain your attention. This is extremely distracting, and can make a bad impression on the person you’re talking to. So turn off your cell phones or put them in silent mode, so you can ensure an interruption-free call where you and the person you’re talking to can concentrate on the business at hand.
5. Look at the webcam as much as possible
When you’re talking to someone on video chat, the tendency is to look at their face on the computer. This actually gives the impression that you’re looking down and not at the person’s face. So try to always look at the webcam as much as possible so that you give the appearance of looking at the person’s eyes.
Even with video calls, it’s important that you make a good first impression and not forget to show off your brand to its best advantage. So remember these tips to ensure that you have an excellent video call that gives others the best view of you!
Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm. She helps create connection, credibility, community and cha-ching through mobile marketing and social commerce around your brand. She is co-founder of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding.