3 min read

Video Chatting: The Secret Sauce to Staying Connected

March 19, 2020

One of the key ingredients to 5’s award-winning culture has been our team’s complete adoption and integration of the video conferencing platform Zoom.   Considering the current need to stay connected with co-workers, clients and vendors while working remote, we wanted to share our top 5 tips for video chatting at work.


  1. Share your video – video conferencing allows you to more clearly communicate than a regular phone call by combining both verbal and non-verbal cues. Our rule of thumb is that team members should always share their video during a call unless it is unsafe at the time or if they are having internet quality issues. 


Pro-tip: we even share our video on client calls when the client keeps their video camera off. Clients let us know afterwards that they stayed more engaged and felt more connected to the conversation even during a one-way video chat.


  1. Download the app – Be sure to download the video conferencing app that your company is using to your desktop and your smart phone. Once the app is loaded on your computer, set the default settings so that your video conferencing app launches when you start the computer.  Why is this step so important? Having your app active allows co-workers to “call” you over video rather than phone so that even your one-on-one discussions have a video component. 


When our team members need to chat, our first choice is to use video as opposed to a phone call.  Then we move to emails and texts when necessary.


  1. Invest in a good headset – Bad sound quality is a quick way to ruin a video chat and to reduce the likelihood that video chatting will be adopted by your company. Headsets with built-in microphones are cheap and customer reviews are easily accessible online. Take the extra time now to create a great experience for you and your audience with a good headset.


Pro-tip – Lighting is also important. Spend a few minutes rearranging desk lamps and trying combinations of overhead lighting and natural lighting in order to find the best balance for your work environment.  Remember that the natural lighting will shift throughout the day so a proper morning setup may turn into an issue with backlighting later in the day. Be aware of how you look on camera.


  1. To mute or not to mute? Our view of muting changes based on the type of video chatting. For large company-wide meetings with one presenter, we prefer that all other participants mute when they are not talking.  For small group conversations, one-on-one discussions or times in the 5er Lounge (more to come on that one), we prefer that participants do not mute in order to keep the conversation free-flowing and natural rather than choppy and disjointed.


Pro-tip – often your teammates will start talking when they are muted, and someone will have to let them know that they cannot be heard. Be gentle.  Having multiple people yell out “you’re muted” every time this happens is another cause for disruption.


  1. The Lounge – Our team moved to a completely remote work environment late last week and tried to imagine additional ways to improve our connection with one another. On Monday, we launched “The 5er Lounge,” a Zoom video room that is always open for any team member to join throughout the day. Some people join the room just to chat, others keep the room open on their screen while they continue to do their regular work and several times a day an email is sent out inviting anyone who wants to join for fun conversations or activities.  We have shared happy hour drinks together, completed a 9-minute ab workout and met everyone’s kids and pets throughout the last few days.


We encourage you to fully embrace video chatting for your company and to think of creative ways to continue connecting with your co-workers, clients and vendors. High 5.

Topics: Culture

Written by 5

Founded in 2011, 5 comprises a team of energy innovators, commodity traders, analysts, engineers, and former energy supplier executives. Together, they serve a broad array of private and public sector clients throughout the United States and Mexico, providing strategic advice on energy-related matters including procurement, demand-side management, rate optimization, regulatory intervention, benchmarking, bill auditing, RFP management, sustainability planning services, renewable power, and distributed generation. With an eye on growth, 5 has initiated a number of strategic partnerships and acquisitions, including the 2019 acquisition of Luthin Associates. 5 has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S. for five consecutive years. The firm has also received numerous accolades and national awards for its corporate culture, leadership and innovation, including 5 consecutive years as a top 10 Best Company to Work for in Texas according to Texas Monthly Magazine.