Want to ace every zoom meeting? Want to make sure you’re not the person everyone else is private messaging about? Read on.
1 Over-arching theme. If you only take one thing away here it should be that zoom business meetings are a stand-in for in-person business meetings. All the same rules — and more — apply.
2 Wardrobe. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but do wear something you’d wear to a business meeting.
3 Lighting. Daylight is the best light, and if you can sit facing a window, so much the better. But no direct sunlight, please — too bright! If facing a window is impractical, place a lamp nearby off-camera. Pay attention to how the light affects your glasses, if you wear them, and adjust if the reflection is distracting.
4 The ‘set’ or background. The beautiful thing about a set on a sound stage is it’s a controlled environment. Do your best to simulate it. Home is preferable to a restaurant or cafe or other noisy, crowded locations. Next, go scouting for a background in your home. Go to the zoom icon in your dock on your laptop or notepad, and click on the orange box, “New Meeting”. You can now see what the others in your meeting will see. Look for and select a background, again, ideally with the ‘camera’ facing you as you face a window, where you can put your laptop on a solid surface with the camera at eye level, and where you have a solid internet connection. Very important! You may need a couple backgrounds just in case someone who shares your quarantine space also shares your zoom backgrounds!
5 Composing the frame. You’re generally looking to frame yourself medium close-up, or from the waist up. Important: you do not need to put your face exactly in the center of frame. In fact, unless you were being ironic, centered compositions would generally earn you a bad grade in art school. Besides, centering top to bottom almost invariably leads to a whole lot of your frame being wasted on the ceiling. Live a little and place the top of your head closer to the top of frame. And while you’re at it, experiment with placing yourself either to the left or right of center. It creates greater visual interest.
6 Special effects. Unless you want to hire a pro, don’t mess with green screen. Please. Green screen is notoriously challenging… even for some professionals. DIY green screen is amateurish at best and can make your head change shapes and other hallucinogenic effects which is generally undesirable for a business meeting. (Generally.)
7 Audio. You know how when you close the door to your conference room/office at work you don’t hear any children playing or dishes being washed or dogs barking or people yelling about walking the dog so it won’t bark? That’s what you’re going for here. While you’re at it, silence your phone and background music, too.
8 Producer’s advice. •Be on time; don’t keep your colleagues and clients waiting. •Don’t deflate the energy of a meeting by complaining about attendees who are less punctual than you. There are larger issues to address.
9 Director’s advice •Maintain eye contact. Make it easy for others to have a connection with you. •Unless everyone is eating, don’t do it. You’re framed for a medium close-up, remember? It’s ok to sip water or a cup of coffee occasionally, but less is definitely more. •Do not check your phone/emails/texts or take a call on your phone even when you’re muted. It’s bad business meeting etiquette. And distracting! •Remember that you’re part of a dialogue. A nod and a smile go a long way! The camera will love you!
In our hands, the camera will also love your company! If you care as much as we do about how your company is perceived, let’s talk about how our producer and director can set you up for a video triumph in addition to a zoom triumph. This is what we do!