Most of us entrepreneurs are finding ourselves on more video calls since the COVID-19 crisis started.
As well, video has proven to be a wonderful tool for socially connecting while we are social distancing.
You may find yourself doing your coaching via Skype or Zoom, presenting on webinars instead of in-person at conferences, or just having meetings via video instead of the phone because people are craving that social connection.
Whatever it is that is putting you on camera, you probably want to look great.
And we want you to look great too!
So I invited the video expert, Brighton West, to put together a list of the top 7 mistakes you should avoid when you turn on your webcam.
Here’s the video followed by the instructions in words
Here is the advice in writing…
1) The camera is too low, or too high
This is a very common mistake. We look best when the camera is at eye level, but most of us work on laptops where the camera is about 10” above our desktop. That makes the camera about 12” too low to look professional. To look great, add books below your laptop or use an external monitor with an external webcam on top.
On the flip side, having the camera too high (more than a couple of inches higher than your eyes) can look funny too.
2) Looking in the wrong direction
If no one has ever told you where to look when on a video call, how are you supposed to know? Now you are being told. You should look at the webcam, not at the image of the other person.
If you want to look at them, you should make the window small and put it right below your webcam. Looking into your webcam will make the person you are talking to feel like you are looking at them directly in the eye.
If you are looking at them on a computer screen and they are more than a couple of inches below your webcam (like the middle of your screen) the other person will feel like you are looking over their shoulder or down at their chin. This is so common that people who are regularly on video calls are getting used to this, but for clients who may not be on video often, it can be quite distancing
3) Lighting from behind
If you have a window behind you in your office, then it’s time to turn your desk around. Not only for better video calls but also because you should be looking out the window while you are stuck inside your house.
Backlighting almost always looks bad on a webcam. Make sure the light is soft and from in front of you.
4) Distractions – clothing or background
Dress the part when you get on a video call.
What would your client expect to see?
How would you dress if you were doing in-person coaching?
Your clothing and your background will either detract from or add to your credibility.
Choose the latter!
5) Too much space above your head
Humans like to center things. But the humans we call artists (think about the great renaissance painters) realized that we don’t like to see things centered.
When you get on your webcam, you should have more space below your chin than above your head. If you have a lot of space above your head, it will feel strange to the person on the other side of the call.
6) Jiggly camera
Your arm is not a very effective tripod. If you are using a smartphone, there are great inexpensive devices to lock your phone in place while you’re using it for video.
Your lap also doesn’t make a good tripod, so if you want to look like a pro, sit your laptop someone stable.
7) Know how to turn off your video and how to turn off other’s videos if you’re the leader of a call.
If you’re on a video conference with multiple people, and you need to do something other than pay attention to the speaker, it’s best to turn off your camera.
You don’t want to distract other participants or embarrass yourself by publicizing your actions. If you need visuals to remember this point, google “#PoorJennifer.”
And if you are the host of a video conference on Zoom, you should be familiar with how to remove interlopers from the call. People have been “Zoombombing” other people’s calls by guessing their room number and joining random calls. It’s easy to get rid of them, but you should learn before you need this skill.
The use of video was growing quickly prior to COVID-19 and it has only accelerated now.
If you’d like to practice and get a personalized critique of your setup in a safe “sandbox” environment, contact Brighton West BrightonWestVideo.com 404-247-0189
Thanks, Brighton for this great advice.
What changes did you make to your video set up and use?
As Brighton suggested, I “moved my desk” Actually I moved my computer so that I was looking towards the window and I realized I have a great view.
Recently I invested in a ring light with a tripod to add more light to my face and bought a stand for my laptop so my camera is higher.
Please share your video insights and ask your questions here on the blog and in our Facebook community.