When working from home, there are several challenges that you might face, including learning how to fight off distractions or needing to create a new routine for yourself. You also may have to participate in video conference calls, especially if others in your company are working remotely as well. Video conference calls can be awkward at first, particularly if you have never had to participate or run one in the past. But while it is different than having an in-person meeting, there are plenty of ways to become a pro at video conferencing. Here are some of our best tips.

1. Be Prepared with Pen and Paper

The first step to having a successful video conference call happens before the call even begins—by being prepared for the meeting. Review the meeting agenda, scan any materials that may have been sent out ahead of time, and bring a pen and paper. While you may opt to record notes digitally on the computer during in-person meetings, using a pen and a notebook is especially useful for video conferencing. Using a professional and stylish pen like the Sarasa Grand Retractable Pen to jot down notes on paper instead of typing notes in another window on the computer allows you to keep your full attention on the meeting, without having to repeatedly switch between screens. The STEEL F-701 Ballpoint Retractable Pen is another great option for professionals. It is all metal from tip to clip and provides an enhanced writing experience. Learn more about how Zebra Pen can help you Choose Different.

2. Check Your Environment

When selecting where to set up your laptop for the video call, it is important to consider a space with a professional backdrop. Choose a spot with great lighting, a flat surface or tabletop for your computer, and where there is limited noise. Avoid excessive distractions behind you that could pull your team member’s focus away from you. Lastly, make sure to arrive to the meeting a few minutes early to check how you appear on camera and make sure everyone can see and hear you properly.

3. Dress Up

One of the many perks of working from home is the lack of a dress code. Afterall, you could spend all day in your favorite lounge wear, and no one would be none the wiser. However, during a video conference call other people will be able to see you, so it is important to wear work-appropriate clothing. There is no need to put on a full suit and tie but wearing business casual can help elevate not only your appearance, but the meeting itself. Wearing appropriate clothing can help put you in the right mindset and help you feel confident during the call.

4. Make Eye Contact

While it is impossible to make actual eye contact with team members or clients through a computer screen, you can make people feel seen and understood during a video call. Although the person’s face is on screen, you want to look directly into the camera when you are speaking. This way when people are looking at your face on their screen, it will give the feeling that you are looking directly at them. This is more engaging and can actually help your nerves since you will not be looking at people while you are speaking.

5. Monitor Your Body Language

The best way to communicate confidence in addition to making eye contact is to monitor your body language and how it is portrayed on camera. Sitting up, smiling, and keeping the camera at eye level can make a big difference in exuding confidence. Ensure that your body language reflects your engagement and focus during the meeting. Ultimately, the key to acing a video conference call is proper preparation and demonstrating your enthusiasm. From dressing up to making eye contact and using positive body language, you’ll be on your way to crushing your next call and continue to do so with practice.