Inspiration Lab member and speech-language pathologist Courtney Gibbs is the owner of Pender Pediatric Therapy, located in Burgaw, North Carolina. A married mom of two daughters, Courtney’s practice aids children with speech, language, and feeding therapy needs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Courtney is transforming her business into a digital enterprise so she can continue to serve patients and families virtually. With many companies transitioning to online-only communications and operations, Courtney is sharing her tips for successful professional teleconferencing.
Setting Up Your Space
Get the right camera angle. Your colleagues need to be able to see your full face. Some cameras zoom in much closer than others, so adjust the position of your computer or chair. Use a small box, crate, or monitor stand to raise the computer if needed.
Have good lighting. Set up your computer so you face a window. If the light source is brightest behind you, no one will be able to see your face. Use room lighting to account for the sun moving throughout the day, clouds blocking the sun, or rainy days. A ring light is a good investment if working remotely is long term.
Your audience also needs to be able to hear you. Headsets clarify sounds and cancel out background noise, but generally aren’t necessary. Make sure no objects are between you and your computer speaker.
Declutter your background. Many platforms have fun digital backgrounds that hide laundry, beds, and toys, but these can be more playful than professional. A wall with diplomas or patterned wallpaper are nice options.
Act Like You’re at Work
Complete your morning routine as you would if you were going into the office.
Have a set space in your home for an office. It should be somewhere you can easily access pens and paper for notes or your planner.
Get dressed and groomed just like you would if you were meeting with clients or your boss face to face.
Reduce interruptions by pets, kids, and spouses to the best of your ability. Close the door and put your own “do not disturb” sign up! If you don’t have in-home help with your children, set them up with activities they can do independently and quietly. Incorporate breaks into your work schedule so you can check in and still guide your kids through their day.
Turn off cell phone ringers, televisions, and background music. If you can hear it, likely so can the people on the other end of the call!
Know Your Teleconferencing System
Learn your chosen platform’s settings and preference options and adjust them prior to the start of meetings.
Run practice video calls on your platform to double-check the camera angle and sound.
Use the platform’s chat box to ask questions and give comments while minimizing interruptions. Most platforms allow you to direct your chat to one person so you can include only the people needed, as opposed to messaging everyone on the call.
If you need to share your screen, have only the tabs and files you are using open. Turn off app notification and email alerts. Everyone will see whatever pops on your screen if you’re using screen-share options.
Close any sensitive information open on your computer if you are giving mouse control to anyone else on the call.