We have curated contributions from business professionals in several fields, and have round-up those contributions into More Top Tips for Video-Conferencing From Home. These tips will help you to look, feel, and perform as a professional would, and subsequently achieve as a professional building a brand would as well.
When video-conferencing from your home virtually, you need to keep in mind audio quality. Using your computer or phone audio is not good enough to wow everyone listening and will usually have a scratchy and unfocused quality. Instead invest in an inexpensive usb computer connected microphone and your audio and presentation quality will increase exponentially. Many people don't realize how much audio affects the overall feel or quality of their video-conference presence, but it actually makes a very big difference and makes you sound much more professional when it's high-quality.
Don't skimp on audio. I only have one good ear, and so maybe I'm more sensitive to bad audio than most people. It's frustrating and a waste of time to continually ask people to repeat themselves when they sound muffled or like they're in a tunnel. Webcams are great for video, but universally bad for audio. I spent $100 for a nice Blue Yeti mic and it turned out to be a great investment. This is not an endorsement, just a note that I've had great success with this mic. I'm sure there are other quality mics available. The problem with the Blue Yeti mic is, it's too big to take on the road, and I cringe every time I have to depend on an integrated laptop audio or other cheap mic.
I started working from home one day in 1993 when a snowstorm backed up all the roads between home and the office. I dialed into the office with one phone line and worked a customer problem with the other phone line, and before I knew it, I had handled the customer issue and the workday was over. But I didn't need to drive home from work because I was already home.
Ten years later, I pioneered long distance meetings between military families here in Minnesota and loved ones serving our country in Iraq, sometimes in front of thousands of people, and a few times in the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce meeting room. But when I pitched using VPNs and video for business to Chamber members around 2005, objections flew fast and furious. I imagine if I had told them to get ready for a global pandemic coming in 15 years, they would have laughed me out of the room.
The direction where you point your video conferencing camera matters. HEAD: Watch your head space. Adjust the camera to properly frame you from slightly below the shoulders to the top of your head. Make sure there isn’t a lot of space above your head to keep the focus on your face. Adjust your laptop screen or web cam until the top of your head barely touches the top of the screen in the video image of you that's projected into the conference. Cutting off a little bit of the top of your head is better than a lot of empty space above it. NOSE: Place your camera or laptop directly at eye level or slightly higher. You don’t want people looking up your nostrils. EYES: Look AT the camera, NOT the screen. People tend to either look at themselves when on a video conference call or they look at others on the screen. Web cams are typically right above the screen so to appear like you’re looking at your audience, keep your gaze above the screen and look directly into the camera. If your eyes are looking elsewhere you can look bored, distracted or even shifty.
Video conferencing is a big part of life as an author and an illustrator. Whether that's casually chatting with other business professionals, giving virtual lessons, or speaking to large groups at events, the biggest and best thing anyone can do for at-home video conferencing is to research and invest in proper stage lighting to ensure that they and their background are properly lit. Nothing's worse than an unclear, sun-glaring, or dark and dingy screen! Proper lighting is especially important if you'll be showcasing a product or giving a live demonstration of something. Luckily, there are a plethora of Youtubers out there handing out solid advice on what sort of equipment to get; but I've personally found that just a basic trio of softbox lights does the trick! One method to try is called Three-Point Lighting. In this set-up, you'll be positioned in front of the camera and will have a light on each side of you (one at full intensity and the other at around half). The last light will be set to a low-intensity, in the back. This will help you achieve more depth and will give your video a much more professional and dynamic look.
My top tip about video conferencing from home is to treat each call as a mini photoshoot and set up your visual presentation to provide the best visual communications impact. You know what they say: a picture tells a thousand words. So, assume that a video conference call must say a million words about you. So much of our human communication is nonverbal (about 90%) and while our colleagues, managers or clients will listen to what we say, they will form opinions based on what they see. Your technology should be working well of course and you want to use a webcam that you can adjust so that you can create the right visual impression. Make sure that you set the shot up so that you are not super close up and rigidly straight on at the camera. If you are too close you might look magnified without any context clues in the background, but set your background so that it simple but uses contrasting colors and objects that do not blend into your head. Research indicates that the left side of the human face is generally more appealing to others than the right side so adjust your eye level camera to create a slight profile. Think of it as a headshot, you want to frame your upper body not zoom in on your eyeballs. However, do use your eyes to look at those you are speaking to. Do not stare at your monitor or the other visuals on the screen. You also want to pay attention to your lighting, practicing until you are certain that there are no odd facial shadows. Practice managing your shoulders hands, and arms and don't forget to smile. Your resting whatever face is not your most attractive.
If you regularly conduct video conferences with colleagues or third party vendors, it's important to present yourself in a professional manner. That means the person on the other side of the camera shouldn't be staring at beer signs, piles of laundry or your closet. That's a surefire way to lose a sale or promotion. It just gives off a vibe that you don't take pride in your job. As a hiring manager, I can personally tell you that I'm turned off when I video conference with someone who doesn't take pride in their work environment. Instead, use a bookshelf or credenza behind your desk to display any awards, certifications, degrees or books related to your job. This will subtly tell the person you're conferencing with that you're an accomplished professional and serious about your position. This will not only help make a good impression on your manager or boss, but it may also help you close an important deal.
My best tip would be to consider your camera angle. For the most part when video conferencing, especially when using a laptop, the camera itself is below your face pointing upward. This is wrong. You should raise your camera lens to either to eye level or slightly higher than eye level by a couple of inches maximum. Camera angles that are higher (or from above) are more flattering to those on screen generally. When you position your camera lower than eye level (or otherwise from below shooting up), it makes you look intimidating and sinister. In the movies, low angles are used to signal superiority and power and are ofter used when showing the villain and other “bad guys” on screen. All are things you want to avoid conveying in your business meetings when teleconferencing. Additionally, no one wants to look up your nose through the entire meeting because your camera is shooting up your nose. It’s not a flattering look for anyone. Eye-level angles are neutral, so that angle neither communicates superiority or inferiority and this should be your first choice of camera angle for your camera angle. You can also choose to slightly raise the camera above eye-level just a small amount. Camera angles that look down can communicate vulnerability generally, making it easier to speak freely. You don’t want the camera to be too high up shooting down very far because in the movies that camera angle projects weakness. You can get away with a little bit of a downward angle, but not a lot. You don’t want to appear meek, weak or inferior on camera during your business meetings. You want to be on a relatively equal footing.
Ever since starting her own swimming lesson business in 2010, Stacy's passion has been growing her own and other's businesses. She's started her own companies as well as worked at several marketing agencies including her own running SEO and paid ads and helping other companies grow. She created her website Her.CEO to inspire others that it is possible to start or buy your own business online and work for yourself. Stacy lives in Chicago and in her free time likes petting dogs and running outside during the months it's not snowing.
I’m a veteran of the tumultuous IT industry. After surviving round after round of layoffs at Digital Equipment Corporation, a large computer company in its day, I branched out on my own in 1994 and started Scott Consulting. A larger firm bought Scott Consulting in 1999, just as the dot com bust devastated the IT Service industry. A glutton for punishment, I went out on my own again in late 1999 and started Infrasupport Corporation, this time with a laser focus on infrastructure and security. In late summer, 2015, after “Bullseye Breach” was published, I accepted a job offer with Red Hat, Inc. an enterprise software company.
Any opinions expressed in this website or in anything I write are my own. Red Hat does not endorse this website or any of my writing. I live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area with my wife, daughter, and two grandchildren. I hold several IT industry certifications, including CISSP number 358671. I graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1979 with a double major of math and speech. I earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis in 1996. In the 1990s, I wrote a column on the back page of IT industry publication ENT Magazine titled, “NT Heartland,” and another column in Enterprise Linux Magazine titled, “Converts Corner.”
Aliza Sherman is CEO of Ellementa, Inc., a women’s educational wellness company that hosts online courses, a virtual book club, and weekly guided meditations. She also consults wellness companies, helping them reach female consumers through direct digital marketing channels. Aliza’s early work on the Internet helped pave the way for today’s web industry. In 1995, she started the first woman-owned, full-service Internet company, Cybergrrl, Inc., and the first global Internet networking organization for
women, Webgrrls International that grew to over 100 chapters worldwide with more than 30,000 members. That same year, *Newsweek* named her one of the “Top People Who Matter Most on the Internet. In 2009, *Fast Company* called her one of the “Most Powerful Women in Technology.” She is the author of 12 books including *Cannabis and CBD for Health and Wellness*, *The Happy Healthy Nonprofit*, *Social Media Engagement for Dummies *and* Mom, Incorporated.* Her thirteenth book is focused on women’s wellness.
K.J. Kruk is an award-winning author and illustrator best known for the middle-grade science fiction novel, *Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse*. Kruk is also the creator of the Super Stellar Dream Scholarship, an international opportunity for kids to showcase their humanitarian efforts and talents in the Arts and STEM for a chance at financial assistance and show of support to help turn their dreams into a reality. Additionally, Kruk is the founder and chief instructor of TOL Academy, an online learning program to pair with Leo Gray Books that encourages student-driven learning through personalized, interactive lessons and games, promoting a natural joy for reading, high literacy rates, real-life problem solving and social skillsets, all while igniting the power of imagination through the Arts and STEM. For more information on K.J., the scholarship or the academy, visit kjkruk.com, and be sure to follow @krukgalaxy for creative business tips and fun.
Julia Angelen Joy is a public relations consultant and media expert who has worked with more than 100 small businesses on a variety of corporate messaging, digital marketing, and public affairs programs. She is the owner of Z Group PR, providing publicity and communications services for people, brands and creative agencies. Julia is an international steward of creativity with extensive expertise in public relations, brand management, and marketing strategies spanning a myriad of industries: Hospitality, Entertainment, Sports, High-Tech, eCommerce, Corporate Retail Operations, Government Affairs, Public Sector, Non-For-Profit & NGO’s, Public Works, Engineering, Environmental, Energy Conservation, and Water Resources. Ms. Joy offers proven abilities in strategic marketing, corporate messaging, traditional and digital communications and social media marketing and am highly adept at developing vertical markets, identifying business opportunities, creating unique ideas, and building strategic alliances that drive market expansion and generate revenue growth. You can follow her on Twitter
My name is Matthew Ross. I am the Co-founder and COO of The Slumber Yard which is a leading sleep website. My company employs 12 individuals and primarily focuses on producing unbiased reviews, comparisons and buyer guides of sleep products so consumers can make educated purchase decisions.
I have been a professional photographer and video producer for over 32 years. I have extensive news, online video, sports, television commercial, corporate, legal, event, university and documentary video experience, as well as, over 5 years of audio visual experience, live theater experience as a stage technician for an additional 5 years, 2 years experience designing and installing Audio-Visual components in corporate settings and retail sales and management experience in Audio-Visual. Most recently, I have been the senior producer for an advertising agency producing all their radio and television commercials and I have also been editing a television show airing on the Motortrend network. I am also a published author and accomplished public speaker on video production topics, all in addition to running a video blog offering technology tips, tricks and training aimed at senior citizens. I have my own YouTube channel with over 4300 completed projects on it and millions of views. I also have an Instagram photography/videography account and a Facebook account with sample projects on it.