lifestyle

Who knew this could make you so nervous?

This post is sponsored by Skype.

By SARAH MEGGINSON

It’s incredible how quickly your body responds physically when you feel stressed or anxious.

Like most people, whenever I do something that pushes me even slightly out of my comfort zone, I get nervous. And my body reacts with gusto: sweaty palms, dancing butterflies in my tummy, that awful feeling that you just might vomit at any second…

This is exactly how I felt when I walked into a meeting at a boutique publishing house in Sydney a couple of years ago, ready to hawk my writing skills for an exciting new gig.

The publishers had just landed a new client – a high-profile fashion designer – and they needed a ghost-writer to help her flesh out her new book. They’d put forward two potential writers, including little old me, and the client wanted to meet us both before she made her decision.

Problem? She was based in Brisbane, and we were in Sydney.

Solution? A hastily-organised Skype group video call using Skype prepaid cards. The cards allowed us to access group video conferencing and Skype Wifi. Each writer would pitch themselves to the client and her marketing team. It was the easiest way to bring everyone together.

I’ve actually never been more grateful to be sitting 1,000km from another person in my life. I’m sure if she had met me in the flesh that morning, the outcome of that meeting would have been very different…

I was able to mask my shiny forehead and sweaty palms from the team. They couldn’t see that I was sitting on my hands to stop fidgeting. And even the giant, unladylike slurps of water I was gulping down to mask my nervousness were less noticeable than in real life.

All in all, using Skype prepaid cards to meet via video conference gifted me the benefit of a few precious moments to collect myself and calm my breathing at the beginning of our conversation. I was then able to actually focus on what she was saying and somehow, reply in such a way that I came off as competent and professional… it must have worked, because I got the job!

We ended up working together on the book for around six months and during that time, we collaborated in loads of different ways: I flew to Brisbane for a couple of face-to-face meetings, we had fortnightly phone catch-ups, and when she and her marketing team wanted to talk about layouts or explain things more visually, we lined up Skype video chats.

The video calls were always my favourite: there’s something very comforting for your ego about seeing someone’s face when they give you feedback! It’s better than a phone call, and so much better than an email…

As a freelancer, my paranoia is always hovering just below the surface, ready to pop up at a moment’s notice.

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So when someone types, or even says on the phone, “I’m not crazy about this paragraph, and I don’t like how this part reads,” then it’s up to me to fill in the gaps.

I’ve messed up.

She hates it.

I’m a terrible writer.

Clearly, she’s thinking of replacing me…

But on Skype? I can see facial expressions! I can read body language! I can see that the paragraph the client is “not crazy about” is actually more of a design issue than copy, and really, she means it’s too long for the current page.

Back in your box, Paranoia.

It was also nice to just connect with someone, professionally, beyond the stock-standard email relationship. Since then, I’ve worked on a bunch of other book projects and I often use Skype to correspond, not just with clients, but also with publishers, other writers, researchers and proofreaders.

When you’re working together regularly, you get to know each other and when you collaborate via Skype, you build a bit of camaraderie. You feel like part of the ‘team’, even though you don’t work in an office together.

One of my friends works full-time but telecommutes every Wednesday – she swears it’s her most productive day – and she agrees. On Skype, she says, you notice stuff, like haircuts, or a great outfit, or a stash of birthday cards suggesting that you missed out on office cake.

And, video chats force me to shower and get out of my PJs. That’s never a bad thing – especially when a sweat-inducing, nerve-wracking meeting is involved!

It’s now easier than ever to stay in touch with family and friends with Skype prepaid cards now available in Australia.

Skype credit gives users access to unlimited monthly calling plans, low per-minute calling rates to mobiles and landlines around the world, and other services like SMS messaging.

Access to group video calling is one of the biggest premium features available on the cards, giving users the ability to bring whole families, groups of friends, or remote colleagues together on a call. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free here.

This post is sponsored by Skype. Comments on this post are just for this post. If you want to talk about the IDEA of sponsored posts or the choice of advertisers please click here. We will be reading all those comments too for feedback.

Do you use Skype? Have you ever used it for a job interview?  How do you communicate when you’re working out of the office?

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