You wake up. You glance at your calendar to see what’s on today’s docket. Hmm, four Zoom meetings?!
While we have become inured to the format, there is still plenty of evidence of poor performance during video sessions. How can you become your own producer and give your image some professional flair?
Try these ideas to quickly and easily ramp up your level of sophistication:
- If you’re not five minutes early, you’re late. Give yourself some padding in the event technical snafus should arise.
- Dress and groom as you would if you were attending in person. Business attire, a shave, and makeup convey an expert look.
- Keep kids, dogs, and other distractions, at bay as best you can.
- Mute your microphone when you are not actively participating. That way, no ringing phones, doorbells, street noise, or lawn mowers disturb the proceedings.
- Leave your video camera open. Otherwise, you come across as a lurker.
- Position your camera so that it is level with your eyes. Set your monitor, laptop, or tablet on a stack of books if need be. No one wants a view of your ceiling or, worse, up your nose.
- Look into the camera, not your screen. The temptation is to stare at your image or the image of the speaker. That skews your eye contact, diminishing your connection with viewers. Find your camera’s lens and fix your gaze there.
- Lighting is important. Place a soft, non-glaring light in front of you.
- Aim for an attractive, professional looking background. Stay away from virtual or blurred backgrounds. The technology isn’t quite there yet.
- Avoid embarrassing actions or camera shots.
- Do not sit in front of windows. The glare during daylight hours leaves you looking like a dark shadow. Plus, the dazzling brightness proves taxing to viewers.
- Resist the temptation to switch task (often erroneously called multi-tasking). Remember, you are likely to be on camera. Plus, it’s just good manners.
Your reputation — in both a personal and corporate sense — hang in the balance when you appear on video. Don’t take chances. Instead, take to heart the suggestions above to enhance your performance.
This article is adapted from Ed Barks’ latest book, Insider Strategies for the Confident Communicator: How to Master Meetings, Presentations, Interviews, and Advocacy.
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