Video conferencing apps like Zoom are convenient and allow us to hold meetings from virtually anywhere, but the online experience doesn’t always make the best impression. Give your Zoom presentations every advantage by following these 10 tips.
1) Get used to seeing yourself on screen
If you’re not part of the selfie generation, it may take some time to feel comfortable seeing yourself on screen and hearing your voice through the microphone. Set up a “dress rehearsal” or two (or three) so you become used to the process and familiar with what your viewer will see.
2) Learn the software
Zoom is arguably the most popular video conferencing app, but some prefer GoToMeeting, Ring Central, BlueJeans or CyberLink. Know ahead of time how to share your screen, mute others if the group is large, comment privately or to the group in the video chat, and record the call.
3) Experiment with different cameras
Your laptop, phone and desktop all have different camera lenses built in. Experiment with each and find one that is most flattering and easy to use. Of course, if you need to share your computer screen during a call, using the phone may not be an option.
4) Consider a webcam
If your whole team needs to be in on the video conference, a webcam installed in a conference room may make sense. Look for a webcam that can stream at 720p HD, and functions well in the low light conditions of most conference rooms.
5) Invest in a microphone
The built in microphone in computers and phones are sensitive enough to record voice well, but they tend to pick up a lot of background and white noise, too. For a cleaner sound look for cameras with high-fidelity microphones, or use a separate mic. We like Blue Microphone’s Yeti series of microphones.
6) Pay attention to the setting
Do some test shots with your video camera, and look closely at what’s in the frame. Is there anything you don’t want others to see? Is there anything distracting? Tidy up what’s in the background, to keep the setting simple and clean.
7) Dress the part
In an in-person meeting, first impressions are based on your entire appearance, but in a video conference all you have to work with is what’s on screen—usually from the waist up. If there’s a stain on your tie or spinach in your teeth, chances are someone will notice. Check your look before the camera turns on and you won’t be caught off-guard when you see yourself on the monitor.
8) See the light
Video bloggers swear by the flattering glow an LED ring light provides. Small, 8 inch models are available for the phone, and larger ones can be positioned behind your monitor or webcam. Ring light’s shadowless lamps can be dimmed and balanced to your room light. With this illumination, you’ll look so good on camera, you won’t want to meet any other way!
9) Video etiquette
Because the conferencing app’s screen switches to whoever is talking, it’s distracting when someone interjects or makes comments while someone else is speaking. Avoid rustling paper, coughing or clearing your throat, and avoid jewelry that clanks and jangles. Those sounds will also cause the video to unnecessarily switch focus from the speaker to you.
10) Use the mute
It never fails—if I’m on a video call, that’s when the other line rings, a car alarm goes off in the parking lot, or the dog next door starts barking. When these uncontrollable background noises happen, mute yourself until peace returns or you need to speak.