How to Maximize your Zoom Presence
Before the meeting
Camera. Whenever possible, do not use a mobile device. If you must use a mobile device, use a stand—that will minimize movements that are very disorientating for viewers. Experiment with your computer or monitor’s camera and angle. The Logitech Brio has 65-, 78-, and 90-degree field of view. Regardless of your camera, check your audio and video settings, and always test your video and audio before your meeting at zoom.us/test. During testing, adjust your camera so that it is at eye level, and you are centered and up close. If you are using a laptop, you will need a stand to raise your computer so your camera will be at eye level. Ideally, you want to shoot from the just below the collarbones up with only a few inches of space visible above your head. Imagine that the screen is divided into thirds—you want to be centered in the middle section.
This tighter shot will allow you to make eye contact with your audience and minimize distractions in the background. A clean, neutral background is ideal for work Zoom calls. If possible, don't Zoom with your back to a wall; it is easier on the eyes, and more attractive to have visual depth. We suggest not using Zoom's virtual background, as any movement will often cut off your hands or the top of your head. However, if your space is not work-friendly, consider buying a green screen, which allows you to project a virtual background or logo reliably.
Lighting is so essential for video calls. Ideally, you want the light to come from behind the camera to illuminate your face evenly. Be especially conscious of natural and artificial light sources and how they interact at various points in the day. Avoid having bright light behind you as this can leave you in silhouette. Similarly, avoid being directly under a light as it can shadow your eyes. If you find your current set-up unfavorable, consider a small ring light to provide an extra source of light behind the camera. A larger ten-inch ring light or a more sophisticated Lume Cube or Lume Panel Mini can fix more substantial lighting inadequacies.
Network. You need a robust home network to support video conferencing. We recommend a data plan from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) of at least 150 Mbits download speed and 50 Mbits upload. We also recommend hardwiring your computer as this will give you the best performance and highest security. If that is not possible, make sure your Wi-Fi is up to the task.
Power. It is not uncommon for the typical home office desk area to have the following items needing power.
2. External Monitor
4. External USB backup disk
5. Phone Charger
What we typically see is a cheap surge protector on the floor by your feet. With a maze of wires. The biggest threat is that you kick a plug loose by accident. We mount a high-quality surge protector to the wall and carefully organize all the cables out of your way. If you suffer from occasional power outages, we recommend an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) to protect your data from loss.
Poor audio is even worse than poor video. Most importantly, make sure you have a strong home network. Additionally, evaluate the sound quality of your room. No one wants to listen to an echo chamber. Consider adding acoustical panels on the wall and ceiling to reduce the reverberant sound field or think about a specialty mic. You may wish to consider a dedicated headset with mic. Whenever possible, attend the meetings in a quiet area that has minimal background noise and movement.
Real-estate. Most likely, many of us will be working from home for quite a while. Maximize your productivity by getting a monitor 27" or bigger. I personally use a 30" monitor at home (Just like we don’t sell Logitech Brio 4K conferencing cameras or Lume lights, we do not sell monitors; we just think they are key to a high-performance home office.)
During the meeting:
Connecting. Connecting with people is the first step to doing business. The need for connection does not stop just because we are all at home. It is more critical than ever to make an effort and connect with partners and clients. This means turning on your video when you join the meeting. While this may seem daunting, a few tips will ensure you feel comfortable on screen.
Introduction. In larger Zoom groups, make it a priority to introduce yourself at the beginning of the meeting. That said, if you are the organizer, only invite participants who need to be there and focus on the meeting’s agenda. Lastly, as host, be the last to leave.
Looking professional. Amid the hecticness of the pandemic, outfits may not be high on the priority list. However, it is worthwhile to think about your shirt color for important Zoom calls. Generally, avoid shirts that are the same color as your background as your body will easily blend. Also, while seemingly professional, black, white, and navy also blend into the crowd. Think about wearing a color that will allow you to stand out discretely.
Unfortunately, the camera mutes and distorts emotion—channel stage actors who dramatize for the people in the back row, not the front row. Even neutral expressions can often come across as unfavorable, so wear a slight smile to avoid looking angry.
When speaking, look into the camera instead of the screen. This small adjustment can make all the difference. Additionally, when you are not talking, keep yourself muted. Lastly, although eating while someone else is speaking in meetings is distracting, having water or coffee nearby is professional. It will keep you from getting parched or having to get up during the session.
Zoom Pros. For other tips and tricks for hosting an excellent video meeting experience, you can schedule a 1-on-1 demo with a Zoom product specialist.
How Bravo can help
We are technology experts who have helped many people optimize their home office. We can help with just about every aspect of home office:
· Lighting fixtures
· Lighting control
· Automated shades
· Set up of external monitors and video conferencing lights
· Power management
Please also see our article on Home Offices Here.
Bravo AV is proud to be an HTA (Home Technology Association) Certified Installation Firm and professional A/V experts. Tom Curnin, the owner of Bravo AV, is a CEDIA Professional Designer, a certified THX Level 1 home theater professional and a member of the Home Acoustic Alliance trained to Level II. You can contact Tom directly at (908) 953-0555 or through email at Tom@BravoAV.com.