More and more meetings are moving to Zoom and it looks as though many meetings will continue this way with the time and travel saved. If you haven’t yet got the hang of it here are a few pointers to help you look your best online
No more silhouettes. Unless you’re outdoors then artificial lighting is best. A couple of LED lights from your DIY shop will get you a decent lighting set up. Put these in front of you at about 45 degrees from your face to eliminate shadows. A third light on the floor behind you will remove any shadow in the background..
Have your camera slightly above eye level so that you are looking up into it. This will raise your chin and provide a more flattering angle. Certainly more flattering than a view of your nostrils or your ceiling. Make sure that you look at the camera and not at the screen. Webcams just above your screen are best for this.
A cheap directional or lapel microphone will detect your voice without picking up background noise or feedback. If you have a mute button on the microphone itself it may be easier than toggling backwards and forwards on Zoom or it may just create confusion having two controls to mute/unmute
Use the mute button
If you are not the one speaking then you should have the courtesy to keep yourself muted so that your background noise does not interfere with the speaker. If you are the host them it is worth putting all attendees on mute except when you want them to interact.
Check that your background is tidy. Even if you have to use the kitchen table make sure that the surfaces behind you are clear. Pop up banners of the sort used at exhibitions are a relatively cheap way to tidy up your background and to brand your “office” at the same time. Zoom does offer the facility for fake backgrounds but, if you have any sort of hair, they will create a halo effect which can be distracting. Zoom backgrounds can be fun along the lines of personalised ring tones.
As with any meeting turn up promptly and start on time. This may mean getting everything set up a few minutes beforehand but it shows respect for others’ time.
We are all getting more familiar with Zoom and other technology but that doesn’t mean that a video call is always best. Give some thought to whether a phone call or a distanced meeting will be more productive.