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  • Writer's pictureSarah Cleaver MA CPsychol AFBPsS

Video Conferencing: Some tips and tricks

Perhaps you were using video conferencing Before (I know I was), but it has still been a bit of a learning opportunity, hasn't it? I've been attending various events via Zoom lately and here are some tips and tricks I've learned:

Think about your visual presentation. You don't need a suit and tie, but before you join the meeting, have a good look at what people will see. I find I look "washed out" on camera, so I add some make up and a bright lipstick; sometimes a scarf too.

Think about your background. I thought mine was all right - it's my home office, and people can see my filing cabinet - but when I looked harder, there was "stuff" on top of the books on my bookshelf; not the end of the world, but not the best, either. I've had a tidy-up.

Use the buttons at the bottom of the screen to check your camera and sound. If you click the arrows next to the microphone and camera icons, there's a test facility.

Muted? I'm told that pressing and holding the space bar will unmute you for a moment while you say your piece or ask your question. Easier than fiddling with the mouse.

Can you manage interruptions? I saw a humourous sign this week, it said something like this:

"Mum's on a call.

Select your answer from one of these options:


A piece of fruit.

Is it in the wash?

Still no.

Have you looked in your bedroom?

I don't know what's for dinner.

Definitely no.


(I realise, this might not work for you - my lads are teenagers, and they are pretty safe on the whole; they just need regular feeding and the occasional "motivational" talk.)

Oh, and finally, two things I learned about Zoom that I thought were great:

You can set up a Poll to get feedback on a topic from your colleagues during a call - a bit like Ask the Audience - useful for deciding on issues, perhaps?

For large groups or online training or webinars, you can use breakout rooms to split your group into smaller groups - the host can join these and leave again. Isn't that clever? Just as in "real life", you need to be clear what topic you want them to discuss, before they break.

What are your top tips for using video conferencing?

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