Here at Sleuth, we live in Zoom, and have accumulated a list of tips to make video meetings better. I'm going to talk about three quick tips to go from a muddled dungeon dweller to a clear, engaging talking head, all without spending a dime. If you want even more, the above video shows you 9 more tips, including one advanced (but still completely free) tip to turn a video call into a real-time broadcast experience. Remote Zoom or WebEx calls used to be a bit of a novelty but now they are simply how we do business. The better you look and sound on a video call, the more professional and confident your boss and colleagues will perceive you. To improve your video meetings, you need to look at three areas: sound, framing, and lighting.
Sound is the most important factor in the success of your video meeting, because if they can't hear you, you simply can't communicate anything, no matter how great the picture quality. The biggest mistake people make here is to use their laptop mic, multiple feet away from their mouth, where all the noise of the room is picked up at similar volumes as their voice. Worse, they don't use a headphone, so the pic starts picking up the audio of the very meeting they are in. The fix here is simple - put the mic closer to your mouth. If the mic can pick up your voice louder than the ambient noises, your audio quality will immediately clean up and people will be able to hear you again. If you have an extra set of headphones with a mic, use that, or if you only have your laptop, put it closer to your face.
Framing is how the camera captures you and your surroundings. You want frame yourself such that the focus is on you and not the distractions in the background. To get the best picture of you, you need to position the camera at eye level. If you have the laptop on your, well, lap, the camera will be looking up your nose with a lovely view of that double chin that you normally don't have, but you do now. Another simple fix - set the laptop on a shelf, stand, or even a few books to raise the camera up to eye level. This will make your face look much better, draw the attention to your eyes, and be more engaging for your audience.
Lighting is often forgotten about when doing a video call, but the wrong lighting will drown your image, draw unflattering shadows on your face, or distract your audience with what's behind you. First, avoid big light sources behind you such as a window or doorway. These force the camera to try to adjust the exposure to the light, making your face dark and brooding. Second, avoid overhead lights as it casts unflattering shadows on your face, particularly the nose onto the mouth region. Second, light your face from the front with a lamp or sunlight so that your face can be clearly seen. You can dramatically improve your video meetings without spending a lot of time or money. I've found these tips useful because the better you look over video, the more professional and confidence you come across, giving you that little leg up. For more tips and to see them in action, check out the 12 quick video meeting tips to try right now video.