First impressions happen quickly!
With the reality that meetings are happening primarily outside of the office, it’s more important than ever to maximize how you’re received during interactions. As experts in videoconferencing, we’re here to share some tips and tricks for making the most of your personal impact over Zoom.
Does your meeting environment reflect your “brand”? We’re not talking about hanging your corporate logo on the wall. Instead, think about whether your background is reinforcing both the company image and individual persona you’re trying to represent. Consider displaying a few things that show what your business does (like one of your products on a shelf) as well as an element that people can connect with on a personal level (like a piece of art or your college team pennant). These will help build trust and create a lasting memory with the other participants.
As far as virtual backdrops, while they can be fun, more often than not they are distracting, cause video lags and may give the idea you’re trying to hide something from your viewer(s). The better option is to use a real background that is organized and reveals the actual environment from which you are working.
What you are wearing in person doesn’t always translate well to what works well on camera. Tight patterns and textures are hard for some devices to capture which can produce a moire effect on screen. Also, video in general has an incredibly difficult time handling high contrast images. Jet black and bright white typically yield areas that appear either too dark or too bright.
In addition to how things look, be mindful of how they sound. Dangly jewelry or the rubbing of certain fabrics (like corduroy) can interfere with audibility.
Now that you’re set up with the perfect background and the right attire, what’s next? Lighting!
Too much light is going to make you look overexposed while not enough lighting will lead to the loss of details and expressions. For heavily lit spaces, you may want to try a diffuser. It will help soften the light coming through your camera so it isn’t quite as harsh. To brighten things up in darker settings things like a desk lamp, a ring light or even turning up your monitors brightness can provide better illumination.
In real life we communicate with more than just our face and voice. Gesticulating while speaking is normal, so when there’s no visibility to an individual’s body language the conversation is often left feeling very flat.
Back up the camera to make sure that viewers can see more of your body – your hands, in particular. Having your hands visible shows that you are engaged and have nothing to hide.
The position of your camera can affect how you make eye contact. By positioning the screen you are viewing as close to your camera as possible, it gives the impression that you looking at and listening intently to the other participant(s).
Whenever possible, you’ll also want to locate your camera just slightly above your eye line for the most flattering view. Nobody wants to stream a double chin or flaring nostrils. If working from a desktop, attach the camera to the top of the screen. Laptop users can raise the camera position by using a laptop riser, and selfie stands are great for those conferencing from a mobile device.
While it’s likely you never imagined conducting so many meetings virtually, these bits of advice are sure to transform the impression you make during each collaboration.
Source: Dirk Williams – Director of Corporate Strategy, Immedia Integrated Technologies