Since more and more media outlets are using Skype for conducting interviews, here are a few tips to help you look and sound good when sharing your message.
Set up Skype in advance. If you don’t yet have a Skype account, set one up now on your computer. Practice using it with a friend in advance so you know how it works and can feel confident during your interview. Your Skype username and profile photo will be the first thing your interviewer sees when connecting with you. Be sure it’s professional. If you already have a Skype account you use for family and friends, create a separate professional account for interviews.
Avoid distractions and interruptions. Turn your phone off to avoid distracting notifications. Close any programs you have running on your computer. The night before, and then an hour or so in advance, restart your computer to be sure it’s running at its best and not going through an update that could slow things down or cause distractions. Close the door and make sure everyone knows you are not to be disturbed. Close the windows. No pets in the room. Turn off the AC.
Sound your best. Your computer microphone is not the best for interviews. If you’re going to do a lot of interviews and want to sound your best, invest in an external microphone. Be sure to select that microphone as your audio source in your Skype settings. Here’s an article about some of the best microphones for Skype.
Because Skype has successfully integrated its system with major TV newsrooms, many video interviews are now done using Skype.
Check your environment so there are no distractions. Keep the backdrop simple so you are the focal point. If you are an author, you might have a copy of your book in the background.
Position the webcam so it’s pointed slightly down and with any light directed at your face. The more light there is, the better the video will look. Don’t sit in front of a window.
It’s hard not to watch yourself or your interviewer on the screen during a video interview. For the video to look like you’re maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, focus on looking at the camera lens. It will feel awkward at first. Practice doing this with a friend until you get comfortable.
Relax and enjoy yourself! The more you practice and the more interviews you do, the more comfortable you’ll become.
When did you start your business?
I started virtual assisting a few years ago after I was laid off from an office management job. I’d been working in offices for fifteen years so moving to the virtual world to offer my services made sense to me. It started off with small projects and gradually grew from there. After doing virtual assisting off and on for several few years, I decided to formalize my efforts with a business name. In addition, I wanted to provide a resource for new and existing business owners to have help creating and maintaining their websites. So often I see websites that are a discombobulated jumble of themes, broken links, and poor copy. Eagle Eye Web Services was born as a blend of virtual assistant, business consultant, and website consultant in an effort to address some of the issues new and existing business owners face.
When did you choose to become a virtual assistant?
I can’t say there was a definiing moment for me – it just grew from a combination of being sick to death of the corporate world and a need to put my skills to better use. I was sick of butting up against the income ceiling in the corporate world and after 15 years, I realized the only route for me to go was self-employment. I simply wasn’t getting anywhere in the traditional way.
What advice would you give new and aspiring VAs?
Read everything you can, join a solid network of VAs, and make sure you take a hard look at your rates. I spent far too much time not making money in my business because I wasn’t charging enough. Have confidence that your skills are needed and charge for them. But don’t go crazy with it either. Make sure you have a legitimate basis for your fees.
What resources have helped you in your business?
Linked in, VirtualAssistants.com, and surprisingly enough, fellow virtual assistants. I have a colleague of mine who suggested resources to me when I was first starting out, even though we were both virtual assistants. That is practically unheard of in the cut-throat corporate world. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to not have that pressure of competition. Also, I cannot emphasize the value of networking and building a name in your local community. Those referrals are some of the best opportunities for your business.
Share something about yourself.
I’m a single mother to a beautiful daughter named Liberty. She is the reason behind so much of what I do and has given me the courage, motivation, and strength to become self-employed.