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Virtual Communication: Staying Professional while Working Remotely

Staying professional when working from home is often more difficult than people realize. Video calls and meetings can be particularly challenging as they provide a direct window into your home life. Check out our strategies below to make sure you project polished professionalism in every interaction.

Be Mindful of Your Background: Piles of laundry or personal photos may be fine when you’re having a video chat with friends, but for professional interactions, you need to curate a more polished background. Take some time to consider where you will be making calls from, and do a test run in advance to make sure nothing unexpected is creeping into the frame. Can’t find an appropriate space in your home? Many programs, including Zoom, allow you to use a picture as a virtual background.

Keep Your Information Private: If you’ll be sharing your screen at any point, take care that your personal computer activity isn’t on display for all to see. Whenever possible, share the specific application that you want your audience to see (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation or Word document) rather than sharing your full desktop. If you are sharing an internet browser, be sure to close all unnecessary tabs beforehand. You should also be aware that if you search in the address bar of your browser, auto-complete may reveal previous searches to your audience. To avoid this, clear your history, or navigate to sites before sharing your screen.

Minimize Distractions: Family members or pets can be a major distraction if they wander into your frame while you’re speaking. If you can, make your call from a room with a closed door, and put a sign outside beforehand reminding people that you will be on a call at a certain time. If you’re unable to isolate yourself, try to make calls with your back to a wall so that no one needs to walk behind you as they cross the room. If you have a furry friend who just can’t resist cuddling you while you work, put them in a closed room or distract them with a toy or long-lasting treat before you begin.

If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at jayne@corporatespeechsolutions.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

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2 Comments

  • Having moved entirely to the online world, there are some excellent tips here! I've found that turning my desk so that my camera faces a wall behind me really helps with not having unexpected things happen behind you... For example (and I am positive this has never happened to me!) having a child wander around behind you while in a meeting!
    • Jayne Latz
      Excellent tip, Maria! There are so many things to consider when moving your professional life online. Keep an eye on our blogs for more tips on how to navigate working remotely, including strategies for online presentations, running effective meeting remotely, and virtual networking!

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