It’s a video world these days, and we have been thrust into it, with very little preparation. What was previously the domain of Hollywood, celebrities and politicians is now commonplace for all of us at work and play. Here are a few tips for becoming a video conferencing star or at least avoiding some of the common mistakes.
Family Cyber Clinic is a YouTube channel to help parents enhance their skills so that they are up to speed with the rest of the world and the younger generation.
It is by a Cyber Security Expert; Lawrence Idem, a Pastor who loves God and married with three children/daughters, that hosted the Zoom meeting. He also uses Skype and Microsoft Teams. However Skype has been more popular pre-pandemic.
• Know when your microphone is muted and when it’s not. Even when you’re not speaking an open (not muted) microphone injects noise into the sound track. Mute when you are not talking!
• Try not to interrupt or talk over someone else. The result is often unintelligible.
It’s all about effective communication! With a little bit of planning and attention, the results will be
immediate, and your techniques will become second nature.
Looking Good on Web Cams
Furthermore, avoid Backlight – An open window behind you, with daylight streaming in, and
insufficient light on your face will create a dark silhouette that obscures your face.
Actually, any overly bright background can cause this problem.
• Close the curtains, shade or move the Computer/Webcam to a new location.
• Add some front lighting such as a lamp or general room lighting.
• Use that problem window by facing toward it.
• The screen of a Laptop or Tablet will actually light up your face, but the screen contents may be
colours, and be changing constantly.
• Avoid bright lighting behind you
• Soft (diffused) light is better than hard, focused beams of light
• Bright ambient light is good, but Fluorescent lighting is often unflattering for humans. Warm
lighting is best.
Frame Yourself Correctly
Video Conferencing is normally about people’s faces. Correct framing will maximize expressive delivery of what you have to say and minimize distractions.
Adjust the camera (if it can be done) or move physically closer to produce a chest to hair closeup. Unless of course a wider or specialized shot is specifically required. Do not leave too much headroom and centre yourself in the frame.
The Eyes Have It!
“The eyes are the mirror to the soul” and eye contact is critical to engagement with your audience. To achieve that in video conferencing set up your web cam/yourself so that you can speak to it the same way you would address a person in front of you.
Imagine the web cam is a face. Then use direct eye contact as much as you can.
Most modern video conference offer the ability to replace your background with a picture or even a video, without a traditional “Green Screen”. This allows you to present yourself in any environment that you have a photo of, and additionally avoids revealing the state of your housekeeping. If you use a virtual background, use a green screen.
• Tip – Avoid waving your hands around to avoid distracting video artifacts.
• Tip – Slow movements track well and fast movement increase bandwidth requirements.
• Tip – Light yourself properly.
• Tip – Do not use wardrobe colours that blend into your environment. The A. I. gets fooled and does not do a clean cut-out.
• Avoid intense colours and in particular, avoid bright red or hot pink. These colours can blur and bleed with some cameras.
• Fine grained patterns, complex prints and fine horizontal lines can also cause problems in some
• Always wear pants in case you have to stand up!
Sounding Good in a Video Conference
Generally, web conference sound leaves much to be desired. Hears a few tips for sounding good.
Choose the Best Location
• Avoid environments that are noisy – close your eyes and really listen.
• Shiny smooth walls, ceilings and floors often make your voice sound “hollow” because of echoes and “boomy” resonances.
• Control interruptions – silence your cell phones and let the people around you know you are “ON AIR”.
• Know where the microphone is located if it is embedded in your Computer/Laptop/Tablet/Phone.
• Staying physically close to the microphone is good. Too far away sounds faint, hollow and noisy.
• Speak clearly, articulate, and don’t turn away from the microphone.
• Maintain a good volume – Don’t shout and don’t whisper.
• Consider using a headphone/microphone combination.
Zoom is now more popular because of the pandemic and Microsoft teams is enterprise/business bound. He stated that virtual meetings/events are an immersion of the real thing/scenarios which cuts down on actual time that was supposed to be spent. As such social interaction requires respect, etiquette, manners, undivided attention, mental resilience, and concentration.
However, over 80% of people who attend Zoom meetings, don’t come on camera and this not fair on the host because Zoom meetings lay down ground rules. If you don’t follow ground rules, you tell the host you don’t care about them. Zoom fatigue is a thing. We don’t like the format of the meeting hence we’re tired.
Therefore, he stated that we need mental resilience. Preparation is key. Be presentable. For example, if you don’t want to be recorded you leave the meeting. Imagine going to a party and leaving your head behind?
Choose a good background so we can see you. It’s disrespectful when you eat, drink and don’t look presentable on a Zoom meeting. Give undivided attention. Don’t fall asleep. Try not to multitask. When you multitask, you’re not giving your undivided attention.
If you’re not prepared to speak, don’t attend the meeting. It creates a bad host-guest relationship.
If you want to sound your best use a speaker phone, especially if you’re using your phone instead of your laptop. Get close to your microphone if you’re using a laptop.
Update tools you use to deliver meetings. If you host a Zoom meeting, don’t do it without a waiting room, breakout room or password. This will prevent lateness.
Don’t put meeting ID or password on a flyer. Zoom bombers can ambush the meeting and disturb it. The wrong people may attend your meeting. The host will be upset by uninvited guests crashing the meeting. Zoom etiquette demands that you show your screen. Don’t wear your pyjamas to a Zoom meeting, even if it’s at night.
If you don’t follow these rules, it will impact interviews and business meetings. You must prepare. Bad habits become bad behaviour!
However, in-person meetings are different. You wouldn’t multitask if you are in person.
Virtual events can never replace in person events!