2020 may be coming to an end, but I think we can all agree that we have not seen the back of the dreaded Zoom meeting.
We have all been there. It’s team meeting day, you settle into your chair and everyone logs on, to your horror, you realise your top is far too low cut, your beard looks like it hasn’t be tamed in weeks, there is nothing designer about the bags under your eyes (it’s the lighting, I promise) and to top it all off, your internet connection keeps freezing. Or you are in the middle of a hugely important interview, only for your darling 3 year old to pick that exact moment to barge into the room and let you know she needs the loo.
For some of these problems, there are some very easy solutions (I am not allowed to tell you to lock up your children for legal reasons).
This is the easiest and probably the most important. Yes, the window is lovely, but if you position your camera facing it, all the person on the other end of the call will see, is your silhouette.
If possible, move yourself around so that you are facing the window, natural light coming towards you (in the case of UK winter, the main light will have to do).
Invest in some lighting. A ring light will do, they are less than £20 on amazon and often USB and will plug directly into your laptop.
Having good lighting will make you look and feel more professional and will eliminate shadows across your face causing bags that aren’t really there (honest).
Laptop microphones are really not very good – fact. Invest in a microphone.
These range in price from £20 – £200. If you only need it for a team meeting once a month, the lower end of the spectrum will be absolutely fine. If you are regularly recording for a podcast it may be worth investing a bit more. Our Co-Founder Liam Norval has a particularly stylish microphone that he uses for all of his at home interviews which can be purchased from Fifine Technology.
Hair, Make up and Clothing
There really is nothing more frustrating than trying to listen to someone speak whilst they constantly flick their hair out of their face. Guys and Girls please fix this before starting a video call.
We all need to feel comfortable in our own skin so I struggle here with advising everyone to put on a full face of make up before a meeting. But if it is a particularly important one, or it is being recorded and posted all over YouTube, just bare in mind that laptop cameras and lighting wash you out. More is definitely More when it comes to blusher, bronzer and highlighter, avoid a heavy Smokey eye – natural is the aim.
Clothing. Let’s just take a moment to imagine the scene. Your interview is going perfectly, your red blouse is a winner, lighting and sound spot on, kids are silent, your interviewer asks you to stand up to present this particular answer…. You still have your pyjama bottoms on. I know it is tempting to work from home in your pj’s, but please, please, don’t do this for an important call.
Try to avoid crazy patterns, plain colours are great – avoid white, especially if the wall behind you is also white!
Not busy but not boring. Everyone loves a bookshelf (please check what books you have on display first), a plant or a scenic photo. Virtual backgrounds are a huge no! In this case, less is definitely best.
Please try to avoid being a floating head. Position your chair far enough away so that some of your upper body can be seen, but of course, so you can still reach the table for your notes etc. Camera should be slightly (very slightly) above eyelevel.
If your call is particularly important and you have never used the software before, perhaps it would be a good idea to have a little practise with a friend first. Pay particular attention to how to mute and unmute yourself.
You can have a look at your camera setting before logging into a video call, as well as testing your sound. Please do this.
We hope this has helped give you the basics of what to do and what not to do when setting up for a video call. If you would like further help with this, or wish for your team to be coached in the dos and don’ts of not only the set up, but video call etiquette, presenting and more, please get in touch with the Hospitality Titans today.