When COVID arrived, I am pleased to say that our team had already become well versed in using video conferencing to meet with clients. We had practiced amongst ourselves, corrected all the little background bloopers (e.g. remove the bottle of whiskey from the credenza that had been given as a gift), and learned how to best position the camera to achieve a comfortable setting for all. Clients have found this new method of meeting to be much better than a phone call and in most cases, just as acceptable as meeting in person. Naturally, when health conditions permit we will again offer you the choice of an in person meeting or virtual.
Many of you are already embracing Zoom and other platforms as a means of communicating with friends, family, hosting parties and just socially gathering. That means we might want to give some thought as to how we come across to our viewing audience.
Here are some tips on how to become a “Zoom Star”:
Curate or Stage your background: Take a screen shot, or simply look at the background where you will be sitting. It’s okay to have some mementos in the picture, but do you really want everyone to see your family photos, books, and other items? Choose a room that you would be comfortable having your meeting in. Maybe the kitchen is okay or maybe not? Perhaps a more neutral background such as a painting is okay? Generally, less is better.
Adjust the View: Place your computer on a stand or books so that the camera is at eye level with you. The camera should be about 45 – 50 cm away from you so that your visibility is in focus, takes up at least 50% of the screen. A camera that is below you or above you will distort your features. A famous camera crew trick is to keep the camera low and shoot upwards towards the interviewee if you want to exaggerate their weight.
La Lumiere: Let there be light. Bright light in your face is excellent if you are trying out for a role in a horror movie, but if you want to appear warm and happy try using a soft light (lamp is good) in addition to the normal overhead light in the room. Place the lamp off to one side of your face at a reasonable distance. Side lighting casts a soft shadow and emphasizes your facial features.
Grooming: It goes without saying that you should dress appropriately, as you would if you were meeting with that person in the same room. Keep a mirror handy. A stand alone mirror off to the side of your computer out of sight is a great way to keep an eye on yourself!
Disruptions: Let your partner or family know in advance of your call. Pets and children are cute, but do you want them running around while you are in a meeting? Maybe if it is a social call that’s okay?
Test Run: Have a test run! That is what we have done at the office. Do a test video conference with a friend or colleague. Ask them for feedback on how things look. This is the time to get comfortable with using your technology.
Most importantly, embrace this new opportunity to meet with your friends, family and your team here at RBC. We would love to see you!