How to have a great video call

Tips for a great conversation

There is nothing worse than a great conversation being cut short by poor internet connection, a bad microphone, or a lost password. That's why it is important to make sure you have the right set up when you finally meet your discussion partner. As you get ready for the event, consider these tips for a smooth conversation when meeting someone new over a video call:

  1. It's better to be familiar: When you and your partner are deciding which platform to use for your conversation, start by simply asking the other person which services they are already familiar with (or give a list of yours).
  2. Do a test run: If you haven’t used the agreed-upon service or application before, consider trying it first with a friend or relative, before going into your real discussion.
  3. Pay attention to your surroundings: Find a quiet spot in which you can stay
    for a longer time (some discussions in the past took several hours) and
    try to use headphones or a microphone for better audio quality.
  4. Don't be distracted: Try to turn off notifications, close open applications, and generally limit the distractions coming from your device. A great conversation happens when both people are really listening and engaged with each other.
  5. Take a selfie! You don't have to be in-person to take a picture together. Remember to take a screenshot of your conversation and upload it after the event!

Which platform to use

We cannot officially recommend any platform for video calls, but here is a list of some popular services that have worked well for participants in the past:

Google Hangouts

Available for mobile devices (Apple/Android), desktop computers.
Works in the browser on desktops, no app needed.

If you both have Google or Gmail accounts already, then Hangouts might be the right choice. Simply head over to the Hangouts website on your laptop or download the Hangouts app on your smartphone. Log in with your Google account and add the other person as a contact using their email address to start a new conversation. You will see a a small video camera icon within the chat interface, which starts the call when clicked. Google also has a help page with instructions.


Available for mobile devices (Apple/Android), desktop computers (Win/Mac).
Needs the Zoom app installed

Zoom is the most popular video call service on the internet. The platform offers a wide range of functions and a stable connection. To use Zoom, you must register and install the Zoom software the instructions from the provider can help you get set up. In recent months, there has been repeated criticism of the platform's data protection. Zoom has responded by repeatedly improving the software. You can learn more in this analysis from ZEIT ONLINE.


Available on mobile devices (Apple/Android), desktop computers.
Works in the browser on desktops, no app needed.

Jitsi is an open-source alternative to the services of commercial providers. At you can start a meeting and send the link to your conversation partners. Registration is not necessary. Under certain circumstances, Jitsi may have problems with the stability and quality of your video call.

Available on mobile devices (Apple/Android), desktop computers.
Works in the browser on desktops, no app needed.

On only one person needs to sign up for an account. They can then create a room and share the room address with their discussion partner. If you want to create a room for your discussion, go to the website, create an account (you can use an existing Google account), then create a room and copy the address. When communicating with your discussion partner via email, you can simply share your room address and agree to meet there at a specific point in time. When that time comes, open the address in your browser and you will be able to see the other person. You can also enter rooms from your mobile device via the app. also has a good guide on how to get started.

Apple FaceTime

Available only on Apple devices, mobile and desktop.
The FaceTime app comes with the system.

If you both use Apple devices (e.g. iPhones or Macbooks), then you don’t need to install any extra software – FaceTime is already installed on your system. Simply add the other person to your contacts, either via their phone number or iCloud email address. You will then see buttons for calling them on FaceTime in your address book. Apple has more information on their website.


Available for mobile devices (Apple/Android), desktop computers (Win/Mac).
Needs the Skype app installed

Skype has a suite of desktop and mobile apps for all platforms, which are all compatible with each other. Share your Skype account name with your discussion partner and/or search for them within the Skype app’s contacts. Add them to your contacts and start a chat. Within the chat interface, you will see a camera icon. Click it to start a video call at the time you agreed upon. Skype also has a help section on their website with further information.


Available only on mobile devices (Apple/Android).
Needs the WhatsApp app installed.

Video calls on WhatsApp are only available in their mobile apps, so you need to have your discussion on your smartphone if you choose WhatsApp. Exchange your phone numbers and add your discussion partner as a contact, then tap the little camera icon at the top right to start the call. You can watch a short tutorial on YouTube.