08 July 2013
Helen Westgate, Director & Founder

Skype meetings, take them seriously!


Technology is a wonderful thing – without it, life would be slower, less convenient and we would not have access to endless information streams, all constantly updated.

But, when interacting with other human beings, you do need to manage this technology and the impact it has on your daily life. Recent press reports have pointed to the depressing increase in the numbers of customers so consumed by their mobile phones that they are unable to engage courteously with the people serving them behind the counter. But, not only do you need to manage how you behave when you are on the receiving end of all this technology and its information overload, it is also really important not to be too casual when it comes to making a good impression online

Skype savings
In business, the massive benefits of remote working are constantly being reaped. A Skype or a concall can deliver real savings both in terms of travel costs and time. As such, these channels are now one of the main communications channels for most UK businesses. It is vital however for Skype business users to remember the actual context of these calls.

Skype for business
Never forget that, even if you are taking a Skype call from your living room, it is for a business dialogue. I recently had an interview with a candidate who had clearly not got ready for the day – what sort of signal did that send me as an interviewer, if they were unable to be prepared for a business Skype call in the comfort of their own home?

When you are next preparing for a business Skype call it might be useful to bear the following tips in mind:

Use a selfie!
Make sure you look presentable – rather than look in a mirror, take a “selfie” of yourself with your mobile to make sure that you look presentable. This will give you the actual view of yourself that will be seen by other Skypers.

Top halves rule!
Ensure that your top half looks smart – it doesn’t matter if you are wearing your pyjama bottoms as long as your top half looks professional and polished.

Lights, camera, action!
Check for lighting – a sunny window directly behind you will just render you a dark silhouette so that the other Skypers won’t be able to see you.

Too near for comfort
Avoid sitting too near the screen, a close up of a neck is never attractive. A close up of a chest might lead to some quite inappropriate dialogue.

Snack attacks
If you are on for a long call, make sure that you have prepared refreshments at hand. Do ensure that they are all placed off screen, are easy to serve and will not make too much noise for the other callers when they are being served!

Back drops rock
Consider what is happening behind you, what will your caller be looking at? If the call is happening from the office, is there anything that you would not want a client to see such as an interesting photograph from the recent office party?  If you are taking the call from home, do you really want your fellow Skypers to be looking at the ironing board?

Just the two of us?
If there is more than one of you, make sure that you position yourselves so that the others on the call can see you clearly. It may feel uncomfortable but your collective impact will be much more coherent and professional.

I am sure that there are some very amusing Skype anecdotes out there, if this has got you thinking and jogged some memories do share at helen@westgatecomms.com



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