5 tips to stage your home office for Skype

Ready to make your first Skype conference call? Check your surroundings before you dial.  A Skype call for business is an opportunity to impact a positive first impression. As expenses decrease for corporate and small business travelers, face-to-face time is harder to come by. Sharpening your Skype skills and video home office setting will separate you from your competition while you make impressive connections.

Try these easy 5 tips:

  1. Look at the camera. While it seems more ‘intuitive’ to look at your caller in the center of the monitor, the way to actually keep steady eye contact is to look and talk right at the camera. Paste a little ‘smile’ icon next to the lens to remind you. Tilting your monitor forward so that it is perpendicular to your desktop will help your image fill up their frame too.
  2. Adjust the lighting. Do windows surround you? Is a florescent fixture shining right above your head? Take cue from professional photographers and soften to natural light. A lamp providing side lighting, closing or adjusting blinds and making sure you are not sitting too far away ‘in the dark’ will make it easier for your caller to see your expressions.
  3. What’s above your left and right shoulder? Make it interesting. Add something with movement, your logo in cutout letters, art that draws the eye or a fun clock. The opportunity to reinforce your brand lies right above your shoulder for the length of this call.
  4. Is your backdrop cluttered? Even a beautiful jar of pens and pencils will look disorganized. Imagine what stacks of papers, random items pinned to a bulletin board or a cluster of hot peppers your sister gave you last summer looks like in the video frame. Yes, I can say I have all of that in my space and clear it away for Skype business calls.
  5. Sit up straight. If you have to sit at the edge of your chair, do it. A good chair, pulled up to the desk will encourage you to sit up and be animated. Don’t hang your sweater or jacket on the back of the chair either. If you are calling from a laptop, resist the urge to slump on the couch with your feet propped up.

Become your own stylist with these 5 easy tips and your home office becomes a professional video-ready Skype set that keeps your caller (and you) focused and ready for a productive call.