Or all the time.
You need to maintain a professional image – and, if you work from home or have a flexible work arrangement, you don’t want to look or sound like some guy in a coffee shop. Here are a few tips for the next time you want to hold a professional business meeting without leaving your home:
- Skype has been around for awhile, and it’s good.
- GoToWebinar comes highly recommended, too.
- And then there’s WebEx.
- Have you heard about iMeet?
- Once you have the tools set – let’s talk image.
The price is right for Skype: you can start with the free service and, if you need to call landlines or want to have calls forwarded to your phone, pay a little bit more.
We know business people that have used Skype for years, with very few complaints. The biggest catch: you’ll need to make sure you have a good home modem or broadband connection.
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One of the most-used services for this kind of thing is GoToWebinar. A plus is that it’s backed by a company called Citrix.
A minus, though, is that you have to install something on your PC or Mac – if you’re working “for the man” at home, you might incur the wrath of the IT department.
Another stalwart in this space is WebEx. They are backed by Cisco, a huge player in the tech world.
With both WebEx and GoToWebinar, you can of course do the webcam thing – this adds to your professional image, as long as you’re not wearing a baseball cap and a T-Shirt. (If your company image IS “person in baseball cap and T-Shirt,” then, we imagine, that’s okay Check with management.)
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Honestly – we bumped into these folks for the first time a couple weeks back. We’re pretty impressed with how it looks, feels and operates. Here’s a link to their website: iMeet.
You’ll want to take advantage of free trials with any of these services, and of course try them out on a friend before using them professionally.
After trying out the technology solutions and picking one to go with, you should be mindful of a few things that can impact your image. Lighting and location – pick somewhere in your home that has ample lighting, ideally with natural light behind you (but not directly shining into the camera). Smiling is important, too – and eye contact (which can be difficult on webcams).
If you’re freshest first thing in the morning, then by all means schedule meetings then – as long as the other part of the meeting doesn’t mind. And have a glass of water with you for in case your throat gets dry.
You don’t have to look like some guy in a basement or a woman in her bathrobe while you make your business shine. Try out these services, and smile!