Skype: 5 Social Tips for Professionals

by Socialnomics with Suzanne Downing

Are you ready for your next professional Skype call?

Use these 5 social tips for beginners to Skype with confidence.

1. Make eye contact. Social rules are no different in Skype than in person. But what is “eye contact” in the Skype world? It’s simple: the camera. Think of the person on the other end as a Cyclops. Although it is socially acceptable to look at the person on-screen when they talk, when you talk, look at the camera. Keep Skype “eye contact.” It’s just polite.

2. Brand your background. Pay attention to your background. Dirty laundry? Jimmy Hendrix poster? Clutter? Think of what your surroundings say about you. Use a warm colored background, not white. (White washes you out and says, “Hey, look at me and my police mug shot.”) Brand your background. Make it on purpose. Make it simple. Make it professional with no bright lights.

3. Wear Skype friendly clothes. Avoid patterns and the color white. Naturally, our eyes gravitate to white. You want the person you talk with to look at your eyes and teeth, not your shirt. As a rule of thumb, the first three buttons of your shirt should be visible. If not, you will look like a floating head. Comical, yes. Professional, not so much. Ladies, the same social rules apply. Dress modestly. And yes, if you want to wear your PJ pants and no shoes and socks (for the work-at-home crowd), feel free. No one will never know.

4. Test your technology. New to Skype? Then test it out with family, friends or colleagues for connection, sound, and video. Make sure your Internet connection is solid. Sometimes wi-fi can drift in and out. Nothing says, “I’m not prepared for this call” than technological disruptions. Know how to troubleshoot before you begin.

5. Choose a professional Skype account name. Use a variation of your first and last name. It is professional. There’s no need to get fancy. Something too weird or personal could raise concern. Think about it, would you want to have a professional conversation with “itsfiveaclocksomewhere,” “motherofalldrugaddicts,” or “officedivaforlife,”? I guess it depends on your business. Most likely, the straight and narrow is professional.

Happy Skyping.

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave.