How to prepare for your virtual meeting!
In this time of quasi isolation, we have shifted our lives from in-person meetings to tele-conferences and virtual meetings. Gone, for now, are the days when we would congregate at the local coffee shop, restaurant, meeting room and discuss business, learning about the business of others, and strategizing how to refer business to those we know. While we await the moment when the need for physical distancing is no longer required, we need to modify our business strategy to put our best look forward. Virtual meetings are the tool of the day and we must learn how best to present ourselves to the camera.
The camera and you!
- Ask any photographer and they will tell you, place the camera lens so it is looking at about the middle of your forehead. Use books, or a box to raise the camera lens so it is looking about the middle of your forehead. If you are unable to raise the camera try lowering your chair to achieve the same effect.
- Cameras on devices, usually use a wide-angle lens. Do not sit to close to the camera as it will exaggerate parts of your face making you look slightly distorted. Sit a comfortable distance away from the camera and adjust the camera so you are in the middle of the screen
- When using a mobile device be sure to have the device resting on a solid surface, do not hold your device in your hand. The pulse in your thumb and slight muscle fatigue while holding the device, will make it impossible for you to keep a steady image.
Light yourself up
- If you are going to be in a room place a lamp with shade or a desk lamp behind the camera to illuminate your face. Turn off all other light sources in the room especially any that are behind you. As best as you can close any drapes behind you that have any light coming through
- If you are using sunlight to light yourself, try putting a sheer fabric across the window. This will give you are softer and healthier look on camera.
Speaking to the back row
- When speaking to your audience, look up and directly into the camera. This will allow everyone to fully see your face, have them looking into your eyes and give your neck a longer and sleeker look. Speaking to the screen, people will only see your eye lids and think you are sleep talking.
Dress for success
To paraphrase Coco Chanel, dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the person. While many of us are friends professionally and socially, this is a business meeting, dress for business. Dressing the part reminds us why we are coming to this meeting. In addition, you never know who else is going to be at this meeting that you might want to impress. If you have been in business long enough you already know new business happens in the strangest ways.
- Bring some color to your dress as it brightens your virtual space and makes you stand out.
- I am ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille and a close-up is what you are going to get. Make sure you are well groomed, before turning on that camera. If you wear makeup, then do so on your virtual meeting. It will brighten your face and give you a healthier look.
Lessons your mother taught you
- When sitting down to a meeting remember to sit up straight when you are on camera. While great for your posture, it also gives you professional look. Slouching, and leaning closer to the camera will distort your image.
- Many of us are using our offices or a spare room for our virtual meetings. While that is fine, remember you are not the only thing the camera will see. Make sure your background looks professional and neat. If you can, contact your local graphic artist, photographer, or computer tech on assisting with getting a virtual background.
Turn off your video
- If you need to eat, drink, or leave, make sure you turn off the video. When you are ready to be on camera again, turn your video back on.
You and your microphone.
Hear Me Roar!
- Tablets, phones, all-in-one computers, and moderately priced webcam, all come with a decent microphone built into the device. The problem is, the farther away you get from the microphone the louder you must speak to be heard. The best way to be heard is with a good quality microphone.
- If you use a Bluetooth headset for your phone, you can probably pair it with your computer or tablet as well. There are also USB headsets and desktop microphones that are better at picking up sound.
Too Much Roaring
- Just as the camera captures everything in its sight, the microphone broadcasts any sound it picks up. Sometimes there is no escaping the background noise. Background noise is one of the problems of any virtual meeting. What do you do in those cases is simple, turn off your microphone! You have the power for people to hear or not hear what is going on around you.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Being on camera is second nature to no one, it is a skill like any other. It takes time to perfect and we have all be thrown into the deep end of the pool. Take your time to develop a presence in front of a camera. Practice presenting yourself well.
Once you feel you are ready to enter your virtual meeting, take a moment to check yourself and your equipment over. Make yourself a checklist.
Turn your camera on and look yourself over. Be honest not critical.
How does my background look?
How do I sound? Turn your microphone on and do a soundcheck.