Our Top Ten Video Meeting Tips
So many of us are learning that video meetings, presentations, and interviews are becoming a regular fixture in our work schedules. There are simple changes we can all make to be more productive and professional during video meetings, from avoiding background distractions to finding our best light. The most important step though is to treat a video meeting as closely as possible as you would a meeting in person. Keep reading for our top ten tips for video meetings!
1. Lighting is key
Natural light is ideal, if you can, sit with a window in front of you. If the window is behind you, you will appear on the call to be in a dark or shadowed room. If its evening, poor weather, or you don’t have access to natural light, try to have artificial light sources that illuminate you from the front. This is more flattering than direct overhead lighting.
2. Know how to share your screen
Make sure to have what you’re trying to present queued up and ready to go before the meeting starts. This way, you can jump into the PowerPoint presentation, Excel spreadsheet, or web document immediately when you click the screen share button.
3. Know how to mute/unmute yourself
There are often keyboard shortcuts, such as clicking the space bar, to switch between a muted or unmuted mic, depending on the video platform you are using. Additionally, if you’re the meeting host, know how to mute everyone upon entering the meeting. This can help if you are presenting a webinar and do not want any interruptions.
4. Distracting background?
Think about what is visible in your background. Is it a cluttered room that could be visually distracting or a common area of the house with people walking through? Is it full of windows behind you, that will illuminate the background thus putting your face in a shadow? All of these elements are important to check before your video meeting.
5. Background noise
Think of the background as not just what could be visually distracting, but also the audible distractions. Do you have children, pets, electronics, or other sources of noise that could be potentially distracting? Try to move to a quiet area so others in the video meeting can easily hear you when you speak.
6. Living with others
If you are living with others who are also working, studying, or playing at home, let everyone know in the morning about your day’s meeting schedule. If they know you will be on a video call from noon to 1 pm, there will be fewer unexpected interruptions. If you have smaller children, see if you can plan meetings around nap time or independent play time.
Remember that if you are on a video call for work, dress as if you are AT WORK! No PJs, giving the illusion that you are barely awake and available to work. There are plenty of comfortable and professional outfit options.
8. Be attentive and engaged during the call
As tempting as it is, try not to do any other work, send emails, scroll through your phone or eat during a video meeting. Try to look into the camera when you talk. When you’re not talking, make sure to pay attention to whoever’s speaking or sharing their screen and that you’re looking at any materials you may need to reference.
9. Stay organized
Are you in charge of the meeting? Email an agenda beforehand. It is tempting to start video meetings with some chit chat, but most participants will appreciate getting to the topics on the agenda quickly. If you are looking for participation and collaboration, make sure everyone has a chance to speak. After a meeting, send a summary of what was discussed, action items for team members to work on, and schedule the follow up video meeting.
10. Join a couple minutes early.
Treat a video meeting online just as you would treat a meeting in the office. Show up a couple minutes early to be prepared, have your notes ready, check your internet connection, check that your mic and camera are working and muted, etc. This means you will be ready as soon as the meeting begins!
What are the Benefits of Refinancing?
Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, which is good news for many homeowners looking to refinance. This can benefit borrowers in many ways, such as lowering monthly payments or shortening a mortgage’s term to pay it off sooner, just to name two. Just like when applying for a mortgage to purchase a home, refinancing requires the submission of financial, employment and credit documentation, and also requires closing costs. Still, many homeowners see the benefits of refinancing, and how it can help them reach their financial goals.
If you are still wondering if refinancing is a good option for you, or trying to understand when is the “right” time, please read our top five benefits of refinancing your home:
- Reduce the monthly payment
This is the most common reason homeowners are looking to refinance, and we understand why! By refinancing at a lower interest rate than that of the original mortgage, monthly payments can reduce by a significant amount, saving a homeowner money in the long run.
- Pay off a mortgage faster
Some homeowners opt to refinance their home with a shorter term. This results in fewer monthly payments overall, so the mortgage is paid off sooner. While refinancing from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage may result in higher monthly payments, it will also help a homeowner build equity in their property faster, and the shorter term will save money by reducing total interest paid over time.
- Make upgrades to a home
Did you know you can refinance to restore your home? A renovation loan gives homeowners a convenient, economical way to make renovations or repairs, and increase the value in their home through improvements, all in one loan with one monthly payment. This refinance option is available to borrowers of all income levels, on almost any type of property.
- Cash out some equity
When paying a mortgage, the first few years of payments go more towards the interest than paying down the principal. However over time, the mortgage payments will be directed more and more toward reducing the principal amount borrowed, thus building equity. Some homeowners choose to refinance and “cash out” this equity to pay for unforeseen financial needs.
- Reduce or remove mortgage insurance
Most homeowners, unless they put down a large deposit when purchasing their home, pay a monthly mortgage insurance. This is on top of their regular principal and interest paid. But for homeowners who have paid down a significant portion of their balance owed, refinancing can allow them to reduce or entirely remove their monthly mortgage insurance.
If you would like to see what you could specifically achieve by refinancing, please reach out to a Norcom Loan Officer today!
Taking the Mortgage Process Online
During this time of social distancing, it is crucial that our employees, borrowers, and industry peers stay safe, while we continue to provide the seamless lending experience that we have worked hard to put in place. Norcom has the technology to help you with your mortgage process, while safely in your current residence.
First is the Norcom Mortgage Easy Street App. This mobile app allows our borrowers to view their basic loan, closing, and payment information, 24/7 in the app. Borrowers are also able to simply and securely upload their documents, without the need of a fax machine or scanner. We will keep borrowers updated on the status of their mortgage, as it moves through the process, with app push notifications. This app is also a great tool for Realtors, as it provides easy-to-use mortgage calculators, automatic notifications, and access to contact information.
We also offer Day 1 Certainty to our borrowers. This means, borrowers can allow Norcom to collect data directly from their financial institution. This eliminates the need for paper statements, which would have to be collected and delivered. This process also allows us to obtain tax return information directly from the IRS, removing the need for tax returns.
Lastly, our electronic closing platform, dubbed Swift Sign, is a digital solution that can simplify mortgage closings for borrowers and closing attorneys. It streamlines the closing process, saving both time and paper, and significantly reduces time spent at the closing table in an attorney’s office. Mike Dimech, SVP Operations Manager, stated, “Norcom Mortgage is excited and proud to be the first CT-based lender to offer electronic closings to our customers. By maintaining a true, 100% digital loan process, our borrowers will see drastic improvements over the traditional paper mortgage process while Norcom will further develop our internal efficiencies.”
We want to reassure those looking to purchase or refinance their home that we are still here to help. Please reach out to a Norcom loan officer via phone or email. We are happy to help you, and are confident that we can deliver a great mortgage experience through our online platforms.
5 ways to make your home your Valentine!
This is the season of love, so why not show your home some TLC! We’re not talking Valentine's Day décor, although there are many options available. After the hectic holidays, your home may still be cluttered or suddenly feeling lackluster. Here are 5 simple ways you can make your home your Valentine this year:
Cleaning your home can change your perspective about your space and make you feel more at ease. Try focusing on a room in your house you have overlooked, and spend time cleaning windows, vacuuming hard to reach places, and deep cleaning area rugs or carpeting. You could be amazed at the transformation!
And we don’t mean going out and finding one of a kind pieces to show off to your friends. There are plenty of affordable options for stunning and transformative pieces for your walls.
- Download art from websites such as Etsy.
- Enlarge and frame your favorite photos. Mixtiles.com and other websites offer simple solutions to printing your photos rather than just keeping them on your phone.
- Go to a paper or stationary store, you can find gorgeous wrapping paper or other specialty materials that can be framed to add color and pattern to any wall.
- Go bold with a whole ‘gallery wall’ by hanging many frames on one wall.
Get cozy with new linens
If you have been using the same bedding for years, a new feather topper and duvet set in luxe materials can turn your bed into that of a 5-Star resort. Opt for high quality, machine washable, and classic colors to ensure your investment lasts!
Switch out lighting
Lighting can be the first thing that enhances the mood of a room in your house. LED bulbs and “smart lighting” will help you save on your energy bill and if you don’t want to spend on changing any hardwiring, plug-in dimmers, sconces, and overhead lighting can transform a room.
Host a dinner party
After investing in these upgrades to your home, don’t forget to show it off. Making memories in your cozy space with friends and family is the best way to show your home TLC. Host a dinner party and fill your home with love and laughter!
Small Acts of Kindness for the Holiday Season
With the Holidays approaching and the new decade right around the corner, it’s challenging not to get wrapped up in the stress this time of year can bring. Between the constant traffic, bad weather, and eager shoppers, one can feel as though they're struggling to find time to even think! However, the traffic means we have many places to be. The bad weather reminds us we have a warm bed waiting at home. The sold out gifts mean we have people to give them to. For many people, this is not the case.
This time of year leaves many feeling lonely, and your small acts of kindness can go further than you think. Here’s a list of 10 small acts of kindness you can do to make someone’s day that much better:
- Leave nonperishable snacks & drinks for delivery workers
- Bring in donuts, bagels, or coffee for your co workers
- Donate foods, drinks, and paper goods to a local food bank
- Pay for someone’s coffee at the drivethrough or behind you in line
- Bake cookies for your Fire Departmant, Police Department, and EMTs
- Donate pet supplies to the local animal shelter
- Help someone carry out their groceries
- Leave money taped on a vending machine
- Volunteer serving at the local soup kitchen
- Leave a generous tip to a server
This festive time of year, we can be focused on seeing family members we don’t always get to see, giving gifts to our loved ones, and spending time with the people we cherish most. Through small acts of kindness, you can help make someone else’s most stressful time of year, their most wonderful.