Video Calls in English — 5 Tips for Italian and French Speakers

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Video Calls in English — 5 Tips for Italian and French Speakers

Video calling has now become a key part of day-to-day business life. Although there are similarities to conducting conference calls and face-to-face meetings in English, video calling has its own cultural and linguistic nuances.

Here are 5 practical tips for making the right impression and getting the right outcome on English-language video calls.

Tip 1: Be on time, having tested the technology

People expect video calls to start promptly — there’s generally less flexibility about arriving late. If you’re delayed (even by a couple of minutes), let the call leader know as soon as possible. Also:

  • Make sure you’ve downloaded the correct software well in advance — with so many tools in use, it’s easy to be caught out. Don’t risk having to download and launch a new program with a minute to go before the scheduled start

Tip 2: Keep the camera on at all times — and mute yourself when you’re not talking

All call participants should have their cameras on during the call. The benefits far outweigh any worries about showing your surroundings. This is because:

  • Gestures and facial expressions make it easier to communicate — you can get your point across more effectively, plus seeing others makes it easier to interpret what they’re saying

Tip 3: Have an agenda and keep it on track

Video calls in English involve less small talk than in-person meetings. If a call is scheduled for one hour, it should stick to one hour. This means the discussion needs to stay focused.

To achieve this:

  • Have a designated call leader to manage the agenda

Tip 4: Don’t multi-task during the video call

It’s tempting to multi-task because people can’t actually see you checking your emails or reading a document. But people can tell when you’re distracted in this way — your altered eye contact and attention come through on the video.

Because English video calls are generally structured and to the point, you make a better impression and are more effective if you force yourself to stay focused.

Also, make sure noisy apps (like mail programs that make a ‘new message’ ping) are closed so your microphone doesn’t broadcast the sounds. If you’re sharing your screen, ensure pop-up notifications are turned off so participants don’t see email or message alerts coming through.

Tip 5: Don’t worry about grammar when speaking

Content and efficiency are more important than grammar on video calls, so don’t agonize about conjugations or modal phrases .

  • Prepare in English beforehand — you should know the agenda in advance, so preparing a few notes ensures you’re confident and ready to speak

Practice builds confidence and effectiveness on video calls

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