How to Prepare for a Skype Video Interview

This procedure explains how to prepare for a Skype video interview with Michael Hyatt.
  1. Reboot your computer.

    • The goals is to save as much memory as possible for video processing.

    • We suggest that you consider disabling some of the programs you automatically load at startup. Michael uses a program called Startupizer on the Mac that allows him to load different startup configurations. For Skype interviews, he only loads a few essential utility programs.

    • Launch as few other programs as possible.

    • Keep as few tabs open in your browser as possible. Additional tabs consume additional memory.

  2. Connect to the Internet via a hardwire.

    • Hardwired connections are faster.

    • A hardwired connection provides additional bandwidth for Skype.

    • If this is a possibility, go ahead and connect it now. Make sure it is working. (You might want to turn off your wireless connection just to make sure.)

  3. Make sure your webcam is HD.

    • Michael uses the webcam in his Apple Thunderbolt display monitor.

    • Another good option is the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910. It is only about $120 and provides excellent quality video and audio.

      Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910

    • The built-in iSight camera in most Mac laptops is usually NOT sufficient.

  4. Turnoff all notifications inside of Skype.

    • From Skype, select  Preferences | Notifications | Overview.

    • Turn all notifications OFF (uncheck them). Your screen should look similar to this:

  5. Turn off your cell phone.

    • Because the signal can interfere with your recording, we suggest that you turn your cell phone completely off. Don’t just mute it.

    • If you have a land line, turn it off or turn it on “Do Not Disturb,” so it does’t ring during the recording.

  6. Make sure that you have sufficient lighting on your face.

    • Lighting is the key to great video. You want your face well-lit without too many shadows.

    • You can test this by going into the Skype Preferences again and select, Preferences | Notifications | Audio/Video.

    • For example, mine looks like the image below.

      Skype Settings 01

    • This is actually too MUCH light. I have a window directly in front of my computer and the sunlight is too much. I need to pull the blinds.

      Also, be careful that you don’t inadvertently backlight yourself, casting a shadow on your face. You might need too turn off lamps that are behind you.

  7. Adjust your distance from the camera.

    • You want both parties to be the same distance from the camera.

    • The position in the image above is about right. Close but not too close.

  8. Don’t wear a patterned shirt or blouse that is too busy.

    • HD camera are better than others but still patterns can make the image look like it’s “dancing.”

    • The goal is to wear something that does not draw attention to itself, so YOU can be the center of attention.

  9. Adjust the volume on your computer.

    • Again, from Skype go into Preferences | Notifications | Audio/Video.
    • Make sure that Automatically adjust microphone settings is checked.
    • Now test the microphone. Your voice should be consistently registering in the upper third of the meter. If it doesn’t, you may need to play with the volume slider.

      Skype Settings 02

    • Usually, the microphone on your Webcam or computer is sufficient. If you want the best possible audio, we recommend the Heil PR-40. Michael uses this for his podcast, along with the other gear recommended by Cliff Ravenscraft. It is not a trivial investment, but might be worth the investment if you find yourself doing a lot of audio/video work.

  10. Use a set of low-profile, in-ear monitors.

    • It is important to wear earphones or earbuds, so that the sound from the other person doesn’t bleed into your mic, creating an annoying echo. The problem is that most earphones and earbuds are too visually intrusive.

    • We recommend the MEElectronics M6-CL-MEE In-Ear Headphones. These are extremely low profile. You can’t hardly see them, because they fit into the ear and the wire is clear. This is Michael wearing a set of them:

      Skype Settings 03

    • Here’s what they look like off:

      Skype Settings 04

    • Best of all, they are cheap—only about $20.00 on Amazon.

  11. Have your reference material readily available.

    • This might include notes, web pages, etc.

    • Arrange these on the screen for fast and easy viewing.

    • Put as much of it directly under the camera as possible, so that if you have to glance down, you are not also glancing to the side.

  12. Remember these tips during the interview.

    • Look directly into your camera.

      This is the equivalent of making eye contact with your audience. When people don’t look you in the eye, you subconsciously assume they are hiding something. It creates suspicion and distrust—the opposite of what you want here. So look directly into the camera. If you occasionally have to glance down at your notes, that’s fine. Just don’t forget to look back at the camera. Retain the connection with your audience.

    • Smile and look friendly.

      You don’t have to over-do it, but look warm and friendly. Feel free to laugh or show your emotion. This can communicate more powerfully than mere words.

    • Speak in sound bites.

      The video should feel like a conversation. In order for that to happen there has to be give and take. Don’t “do a deep dive without coming up for air.” Be alert to Michael’s visual cues. Is he getting bored and trying to cut in? Is he trying to move the conversation along?

    • Enjoy yourself!