My F&M

6 Tips For Virtual Family Gatherings

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Many within the Foster & Motley family will be celebrating the holidays virtually with their loved ones this year and we know a number of you likely are as well.  With that in mind, we thought we would share some tips on how to make the best of video conferencing. Many of you have likely used Zoom, FaceTime, or other video services to meet with us, your doctor, or even other family members, so this won’t be a lesson on how to use these tools, but tips to make it easier and maybe a little more enjoyable!

  1. Add a virtual background to make it festive or to celebrate a certain family member! You can download background from a number of sites or make your own using photos you already have. (Note: Many of the apps do not allow virtual backgrounds if you are using it on a phone.)
  2. To see all participants on the call, use the “grid view” – in most programs there is a button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to change the view.
  3. If multiple people are on the call within the same house, either share one device or make sure you are far enough apart with closed doors between you. This will prevent echoing for those on the other end.
  4. Raise your camera to your eye line. Use books or even an old box and place your laptop or tablet on top and make some adjustments. Try to position yourself about an arm’s length away from your computer so you can be seen clearly.
  5. If you have a light source near you (like a window or lamp), be sure to keep it in front of you, not behind you.  A bright light behind you creates a silhouette while front lighting allows you to be more visible.
  6. Have a plan for the conversation. With lots of people on a call it can be hard to establish a cadence for speaking, so have some topics ready to guide the conversation and take turns answering.

We hope you and your families stay safe and healthy throughout the holiday season and make the best of the unique circumstances.  May you find a way to celebrate together, even if it looks different than years past.