Staying in touch is so important at the moment and as a result, video conferencing has switched from being something that we used to do for work meetings to something that we do for fun.

One-on-one coffee catch ups, social group gatherings, pub quizzes, Sunday church services or working out – they are all the rage! From the experienced executive to the first time beginner, here are few tips to help you along the way.

1)    Find a provider that works for you
There are numerous providers now in the market place from ‘facetime’ and party apps to, for example, and MS Teams which are more geared up for larger groups on laptops or computers.  Get advice from friends with experience and by researching online.  They are all easy to download and have similar functionality.  Most importantly, work out how many people you want to conference with and their ability to get involved. Consider programmes for which there is no cost, and that are user friendly, i.e. can Granny log into this too!

2)    Think about where to are sitting 
Where you position yourself makes a difference to the enjoyment of your experience.  Make sure you have some nice natural lighting with no big overhanging light fittings.  Most fun calls are going to last over an hour so prepare just as if you were planning to go out. 

3)    Background heaven 
Depending how confident you are on your computer, you may want to impress your friends with incorporating a fun or relevant background.  For example if your speaking to friends that you typically go to the pub with, then why not post a picture of your local bar to appear behind you.  Or if your speaking to friends that you met on holiday last year, post a fun holiday snap of the amazing view.  There are plenty to download or use personal photographs saved on your phone or laptop.

4)    Watch your angles 
If you’re a ‘pro’ on selfies you will soon work out that the same applies to video conferencing.  Getting your position right makes all the difference.  Generally make sure that you are in the middle of the screen and that the camera is up higher looking down rather than down looking up, nobody want to see your double chin or nasal hairs! Also consider how far away you are sitting from the screen.  Most applications allow you to practice with the camera before going live.

5)    Look your best
Just like going out to meet friends, spend a few minutes tidying yourself up before you ‘go live’! Think about your hair, make up and clothing choices.  Bright colours create an impression.  You may even choose to dress up for the occasion i.e. girl’s night ‘out’ or Sunday best.

6)    Accessorise 
Have a bit of fun with head and shoulder accessories for example hats, hair clips, broaches, fancy dress, statement t-shirts, wigs, and bandanas.  Remember your friends and family are only going to see you from the shoulders up – it does not matter what your wearing below – you could be in your PJ’s and slippers but a huge smile up top is a must!

7)    Give time to everyone
Most importantly when you’re on – enjoy your time with loved ones, give everyone the chance to say their bit and regularly include everyone.  Some people don’t like to be on video and may be nervous.  Arrange your screen so that you can equally see everyone rather than one person dominating the conversation.  Importantly, enjoy!