AskPat 655 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody. Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 655 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
We have a great question today from Taj, but before we get to his question, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. FreshBooks is an awesome company that helps get rid of headaches. No, they're not a pill or anything like that, but they are a piece of software that helps you manage your business finances, help you with your expenses, keeping track of your income so you know what's going on, what's working, what's not. They also help you keep track of invoicing and provide invoices to people.
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All right, now here's today's question from Taj.
Taj: Hi, Pat. My name is Taj. What I want to know is what is the etiquette for using Skype or other video chat services? What I mean is do I need to ask the caller prior to our call if he or she wants our cameras on or off? Or is it assumed that it's one way or the other? Also, what are the best practices when using video chat? I want to start doing interviews and I want to respect Skype and video chat etiquette rules and know best practices. I know you have a lot of experience in this, so I would really appreciate your answer. Thanks, Pat, for all that you do. Bye.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Taj, what's up? Thank you so much for the question. Real quick, this question reminded me of an infographic I saw years ago that is still relevant. It was by a guy named Andrew Warner, who is the host of the podcast Mixergy. Look up on Google, “Mixergy ugly webcam.” You're never going to forget that: “Mixergy ugly webcam.”
No, Andrew's not ugly. He doesn't have an ugly webcam. He has an awesome infographic that will show you what you should be doing before you go on a webcam to ensure that the video quality, everything from the lighting, to the setup, to just some great tips for you to make sure your video is going to be great. That's the first thing. Look up, “Mixergy ugly webcam” on Google. That's going to help you out quite a bit. Now in terms of etiquette, which I think is a fantastic question, actually, especially for those who are just starting out who don't even really know. I never knew. I never read anything about the etiquette or anything like that. I just kind of used a mixture of common sense and you learn as you go. For me, when I start a conversation and I know it's going to be a video conversation, I will always chat with that person beforehand. I never just call randomly, or even if it's at the time I'm going to call, I don't just call out of the blue. I always send some sort of text message on Skype or chat to say, “Are you ready? Do you mind if we start on video? Or should we…” … That kind of thing. Just have a casual conversation really quick.
Just make sure that they know they're ready, because the last thing you want to do is just send them a call and then they pick up and all of a sudden their video's on or they see you or whatever. Just make sure you get started beforehand with a chat before you call to make sure that person's ready, to make sure they're there, and to make sure you're good getting on video. If you start on chat with your voice and not video, make sure that you tell the person that you're going to be starting video soon. I would also say that when you start recording is also another important thing to mention. You can even mention this before you get on a call together. Say, “I'm not going to record right away, so don't worry. I'll let you know when I'm going to record.” That always makes the other person feel much better.
Other etiquette is to make sure to always try to keep direct eye contact with the person, which I know is hard because you want to look at the person on your video. In order to make eye contact with that person, you need to make eye contact with your camera. It's one of the hardest things to do, but do your best. Oftentimes, it's not going to be a huge deal because you'll put the window pretty close to where the video lens is on your webcam, or on your laptop, or whatever, or iMac, but you can still tell that it's a little off.
The last thing you want to do, obviously to an extreme, you'd be looking away when the other person's talking, or looking up, or fiddle with things. Yeah, try to make eye contact with the camera, if you can, because that means you're going to be looking directly at the person. It's going to be a more intimate real conversation. You'll be able to get into better content, too.
Speaking of things that you shouldn't be doing while you're on a Skype call, try not to play with things. Pen clickers, that's a big one. Can you hear that? That's a big one. A lot of people don't even know they're doing that, so don't even give yourself a chance to fiddle with things. If you have a pen/notebook with you to take notes, which is totally fine, keep the pen out of your hand unless you're writing notes. That's the main rule.
Other things, making sure there's no distractions. Kids coming in the room. Make sure they all know it's time for you to do an interview, so stay out unless it's an emergency or something like that. Turn your phone on silent or even turn it off, if you want.
Other things that might happen during a call is you might lose or dropout the connection. Skype does that every once in awhile. It might be good to say beforehand that if the connection goes bad for whatever reason, knowing that Skype does, that they'll just try calling back. If that doesn't work, if you have the person's text number, then you could connect that way if you guys can't get ahold of each other. You can also connect via email or some other messaging DM, or whatever, if things drop off. Again, just talking about it beforehand and knowing that you're going to try and reconnect afterwards is important.
Again, you just listen. I think that's the biggest thing that people actually don't do. They struggle often, especially when you're running an interview. They really struggle for really paying attention to what their next question is going to be, or what to say next, and not really listening sometimes. You can tell sometimes because, as an audience member of many podcasts, I have questions that I want answered, too. It, to me, seems obvious that those questions should be asked after a person says something, but you can tell sometimes the interviewer is just like, “Okay, that's awesome. Next question.” That's not what you want to do. You want to have a real conversation.
One thing I like to do, Taj, before I start a conversation, whether it's video or audio interview, is I like to tell the person that, “Hey, let's just pretend we're at a coffee shop. We're having a casual conversation. Don't worry that this is recorded or not.” Then you can just have that person know there's nothing to worry about and it's a casualconversation where they can just be real.
Now after the conversation, you want to make sure you tell them that you've stopped recording. You want to thank them. You want to make sure that you let them know it was great. Hopefully it was. That they're going to be getting a follow-up email from you with the link to that particular episode, if that's what you're doing with it. Whatever instructions that you feel they should know.
Don't just, however, pour an essay's worth of content into their ears at that point. They've done a lot for you. They've gotten on the call with you. You can finish up from there. I often say thank you via chat after I get off just as another nice thank you.
Yeah again, Taj, commonsense plays a big role here, so just look up that “Mixergy ugly webcam” infographic. You'll see that. Then take some of those tips that I mentioned and just go with it. No, you're not going to get it right the first time. There's going to be some things you'll notice that are kind of weird. Just try to be conscious about them and try to do better the next time. That's how all entrepreneurs learn and succeed. They go through the process of failing and trying things, iterations, and just being conscious about what they're doing so that they can do better the next time.
Taj, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate you. I wish you all the best on your video calls and everything else you have going on. I want to send you an AskPat T-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. Thank you so much. We're going to send everybody out there who has a question who gets featured here on the show a T-shirt. If you have a question, head on over to askpat.com, hit the record button. That's how you ask a question. It's super simple. I also want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. Again, if you want to try out FreshBooks for 30 days for free, head on over to freshbooks.com/askpat. Super simple. Freshbooks.com/askpat. Make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How Did You Hear About Us” section.
Thanks so much. I appreciate you. Here's a quote to finish off today by my good friend, Darren Rowse, from problogger.net, all the way over in Australia. He says, “Consistently investigate what gives other people energy. Be the fan that fuels it.” I love that quote. Thanks, Darren. Thanks, everybody. I wish you all the best. See you tomorrow. Bye.
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