6 Tips to Confidently Connect at Your Next Virtual Meeting Whether it’s a video chat for work, social connection, care needs, or troubleshooting, I think it’s safe to say we have all found ourselves in a video chat room at some point recently. We can choose to fumble through an awkward video chat. Or we can slide into these online communities with confidence, and dare I say, poise. Here are six tips to confidently connect at your next virtual meeting. Background matters. First, and most importantly, is background noise. I am leading with this because there might be things that are not loud to you, but the microphone will pick it up over your voice, and it will be jarring to others on the chat. Examples of this would be the dishwasher, the fan, or other consistent sounds. Quick introduction to misophonia, which is a disorder where people have abnormally strong and negative reactions to the ordinary sounds humans make, such as chewing. So, maybe hold off on that snack until after you log off. Pro Tip: Use your mute button when you are not talking. Now let’s talk about what is in the background of your camera shot. We can all see it. You cool with that? No need to clean the house because you only need a roughly 3-foot-by-3-foot clutter-free shot. When setting up your camera view, you want to sit close to your screen with your face in the middle. Pro Tip: Set your computer on a box or stack of books, anything to get your camera at eye level.Lighting is crucial. You will look best on camera if you have a light source positioned in front of you to brighten your face. I understand that the view of your backyard might seem like a more pleasant view compared to your kitchen. However, if you sit in front of your window during the day with sunlight behind you, you might look like a ghost. Pro Tip: No need to spend money on a fancy light. Use sunlight or a lamp and remove the lampshade. Use the platform’s features.Many platforms offer thoughtful features, such as HD video and “touch up my appearance.” Before you log on, take a couple of minutes to click around in the “More” or “Advanced” in settings for any extra video quality help. Don’t worry, nobody thinks you’re vain. That’s what those options are there for. Pro Tip: I know it’s tempting, but steer clear of those alternative backgrounds that make it look like you are at the beach or in space. Find your best camera angle.Pay attention to the angle of your camera. This is the quickest upgrade you can offer to any video chat you join. Position your camera directly in front of you or slightly above eye level if you’re hoping to capture a more slender you. Play around with this by opening your webcam to capture the best angle. Pro Tip: If you are unsure on how to do that, simply set your cell phone on your computer with the camera open to see what others will see when they log on with you.Quick mirror check recommended.Always do a quick check in the mirror before you log on. You know, make sure your nostrils and teeth are free from debris. Make sure your outfit (or at least what can be seen on camera) matches the tone of the virtual meeting you plan to attend. Hats are not ideal because shadows might block your eyes, and this is a video chat, not a conference call: Let us see those baby blues! Pro Tip: If you are using ear buds (and you always should), make sure your earrings or shirt collar doesn’t interfere with the sound you are putting out. Shoulders back and look ‘em in the eye. Sitting up straight yields two fantastic results. You will actually be more motivated and look better. Eye contact is just as important in these meetings as in person. So, look at the camera when it is your turn to talk. Pro Tip: I know it’s weird and you can’t believe that’s what you look like on camera, but resist the urge to fiddle with your hair or face. It will distract others and you. You are officially off to an amazing start to video chat success. Now, go connect with your community with confidence.If you are looking to get connected during this season of social distancing, check out our new online Groups we are launching! They are built around specific topics to help you navigate everyday life and connect with others who will do life with you.