How to Make the Most out of Your Virtual Coffee Chat

Ten Thousand Coffees Team -
June 18, 2018

Making a good impression when you meet someone for the first time can be daunting, but meeting someone for the first time via an online video call presents its own unique challenges.

From the technical glitches that freeze you in unflattering poses, to lighting that makes you look like an extra from the Addam’s Family, the prospect of a virtual coffee can be quite frightening.

Luckily, we’ve put together some top tips and tricks that will help you prepare for your next virtual coffee chat…

Do your homework

Just like preparing for meeting someone for a coffee face-to-face, do your research on the person so that you know who you are talking to and how you might be able to connect with them. Finding common ground ahead of time is always a good place to start. Also, don’t forget to think of 2 or 3 valuable questions that give this person an opportunity to offer you some needed insight.

Stop looking at yourself

Having our own reflection staring back at us on the screen can be very distracting and an invitation for negative self-talk. If this is something you struggle with, try putting a post-it note over your face on the screen or minimizing your own camera screen. This way you can really focus on the other person and what they are saying, rather than becoming increasingly paranoid about your own appearance.

Listen

During the conversation, the majority of your time should be spent listening to what the other person has to say rather than worrying about what you are going to say next. Make it clear that you are engaged and listening by nodding, leaning forward and generally showing some movement in your facial expression. Unlike in real life, a vacant expression can quickly and embarrassingly be mistaken for a frozen screen.

Don’t sit too close

Just like in real life, someone sitting too close to the camera can make the other person feel uncomfortable as it invades their personal space. The best advice to avoid this is to practice before the real video call. Prepare your positioning via your webcam beforehand, this gives you a chance to check what you look like and that you are comfortable with how you are sitting.

Remove the clutter

The background is more distracting than you think! Think about where you are going to position your camera to ensure your video has a clean and simple backdrop. Also, don’t forget to think about the lighting! You don’t need to invest in a professional lighting kit for this, but try to find some nicely diffused, front facing light such as a window or desk lamp. The key is to try out different locations and positions before you start your video call.

Avoid potential distractions

Make sure to disable any messaging or email notifications on your laptop that could pop up mid sentence. You want to give this person your full attention so prevent any possible interruptions ahead of time. Turning your phone onto silent mode, or leaving it in another room is also recommended. Of course, as Professor Robert Kelly can attest, you can’t always prevent interruptions from happening, but prepare where you can ahead of time!

Update your profile

First impressions count and, in the digital world, that means your profile picture and username. Before you even have a chance to meet someone via video chat, you will form an idea of who they may be based on their picture and username. Make sure both are professional and clearly present yourself as you would like to be introduced.

Answer calls on your laptop

Whilst most video calls will also be available on your mobile devices, always try to answer calls on your laptop. Using your laptop or computer will ensure that the video is less shaky, and it gives you more control over the set up as both your hands are free! It also ensures that your internet connection is Wi-Fi rather than mobile data which may be unreliable in certain locations and more costly.

Check your tech

This brings us onto our final tip — check out your connection and the platform before you start! With the wide range of different video call platforms available, many of us have to use video call platforms that we are unfamiliar with for very important calls. In order to minimize your nerves, make sure to check out how the platform works so you are familiar with all the different functions you may need. This also gives you time to check that your microphone and camera are connected properly and you internet connection is working well.

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How to Make the Most out of Your Virtual Coffee Chat

Making a good impression when you meet someone for the first time can be daunting, but meeting someone for the first time via an online video call presents its own unique challenges.

From the technical glitches that freeze you in unflattering poses, to lighting that makes you look like an extra from the Addam’s Family, the prospect of a virtual coffee can be quite frightening.

Luckily, we’ve put together some top tips and tricks that will help you prepare for your next virtual coffee chat…

Do your homework

Just like preparing for meeting someone for a coffee face-to-face, do your research on the person so that you know who you are talking to and how you might be able to connect with them. Finding common ground ahead of time is always a good place to start. Also, don’t forget to think of 2 or 3 valuable questions that give this person an opportunity to offer you some needed insight.

Stop looking at yourself

Having our own reflection staring back at us on the screen can be very distracting and an invitation for negative self-talk. If this is something you struggle with, try putting a post-it note over your face on the screen or minimizing your own camera screen. This way you can really focus on the other person and what they are saying, rather than becoming increasingly paranoid about your own appearance.

Listen

During the conversation, the majority of your time should be spent listening to what the other person has to say rather than worrying about what you are going to say next. Make it clear that you are engaged and listening by nodding, leaning forward and generally showing some movement in your facial expression. Unlike in real life, a vacant expression can quickly and embarrassingly be mistaken for a frozen screen.

Don’t sit too close

Just like in real life, someone sitting too close to the camera can make the other person feel uncomfortable as it invades their personal space. The best advice to avoid this is to practice before the real video call. Prepare your positioning via your webcam beforehand, this gives you a chance to check what you look like and that you are comfortable with how you are sitting.

Remove the clutter

The background is more distracting than you think! Think about where you are going to position your camera to ensure your video has a clean and simple backdrop. Also, don’t forget to think about the lighting! You don’t need to invest in a professional lighting kit for this, but try to find some nicely diffused, front facing light such as a window or desk lamp. The key is to try out different locations and positions before you start your video call.

Avoid potential distractions

Make sure to disable any messaging or email notifications on your laptop that could pop up mid sentence. You want to give this person your full attention so prevent any possible interruptions ahead of time. Turning your phone onto silent mode, or leaving it in another room is also recommended. Of course, as Professor Robert Kelly can attest, you can’t always prevent interruptions from happening, but prepare where you can ahead of time!

Update your profile

First impressions count and, in the digital world, that means your profile picture and username. Before you even have a chance to meet someone via video chat, you will form an idea of who they may be based on their picture and username. Make sure both are professional and clearly present yourself as you would like to be introduced.

Answer calls on your laptop

Whilst most video calls will also be available on your mobile devices, always try to answer calls on your laptop. Using your laptop or computer will ensure that the video is less shaky, and it gives you more control over the set up as both your hands are free! It also ensures that your internet connection is Wi-Fi rather than mobile data which may be unreliable in certain locations and more costly.

Check your tech

This brings us onto our final tip — check out your connection and the platform before you start! With the wide range of different video call platforms available, many of us have to use video call platforms that we are unfamiliar with for very important calls. In order to minimize your nerves, make sure to check out how the platform works so you are familiar with all the different functions you may need. This also gives you time to check that your microphone and camera are connected properly and you internet connection is working well.

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