amp up your video calls: 5 basics for better video chats

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Are you burned out? We’re with ya. Throughout the pandemic 🦠, video has helped us connect with friends, family, and colleagues. But if the prospect of another video meeting has you rolling your eyes, 🙄 you’re not alone. The good news is: You can make your voice and video calls better, and—dare we say it, more fun.

Here’s how. 🤓

1. turn off your video

Part of what makes video meetings so exhausting is that you end up staring at yourself. That makes a video “performative” in a way that face-to-face contact is not—it’s like being on stage. There’s even a name for it: mirror anxiety. Turns out that seeing yourself in a mirror can trigger both depression and anxiety. 😱

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one, and this is one of those times. Just switch your video off.  Or start your call with the camera on, then shut it off a few minutes later. Sanity restored. 😎

2. shorten your calls

Video fatigue is real. 😴 So try wherever you can to make your calls shorter. Quicker calls have lots of benefits, namely, that participants tend to pay more attention. Shorter calls also give you time to focus on other things—like, you know, all the stuff that actually matters. And they can combat video burnout.

Even if we’re video chatting with our bestie, sometimes the call just takes too long. Maybe you’ve got laundry or need a workout. Be honest with the other person about your availability. If it’s a work call, plan out what you want to say, get to the point fast, and end the call when its goal has been accomplished—even if it’s before the scheduled end of the call.🎬

3. improve the audio quality

From the That Makes Sense Department: When you’re on a video call, the audio is what really matters. Nothing makes us lose patience 😡 more than poor audio or weird sound glitches.

Max Headroom glitching

Turning your video off frees up bandwidth—one easy way to boost sound quality. (Ahem. Not to brag, but illumy’s tech is so fire🔥, you won’t have these issues with our free video chat.)

Another tip: Invest in decent headphones 🎧 and maybe even a dedicated microphone.🎙 A good middle ground is gaming headsets, which offer both solid audio and quality mics.

4. get close to an indirect light source

Light affects our mood and our energy, and good light will make you look even better than you already do 😇 on video. To get the best light for video calls, avoid direct sources. Find indirect light, like a north-facing window—or consider a light ring.💡 Light rings are the not-so-secret sauce for making YouTube celebs and Instagram influencers look so good. Whatever you use, don’t be afraid to get close to the light source: three or four feet is optimal; measuring tape is optional. 📏

5. use giphys and emojis to react

Part of that “mirror anxiety” is that when you can see yourself, you become hyper-aware of how others see you. 👀 You might feel compelled to respond in an exaggerated way—which quickly gets tiring. Instead of bringing that Jim Carrey energy 🤪 to your calls, use giphys or emojis to react during calls. They’re a perfect way to show you’re engaged without being over-the-top.

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