Work continues as usual during the corona crisis. In our ‘current normal’, in which we do our work from home with Teams or with Zoom, it is sometimes a bit of a challenge. Suddenly the cat pontifically walks in front of the camera, you can hear the children in the background, you can watch the interior of your colleagues or someone even has a coffee maker on his desk. That is why below are eight tips with which you can create a professional impression during a virtual meeting.
1. Make a tidy impression
I assume that you do the virtual meeting from a business point of view. For that reason it has to look professional. You can compare it to putting on a smart suit, putting on a clean shirt and polishing your shoes. You must also have a professional appearance in this setting. So make sure that the room you are in is neat and that you look smart. So do not sit in pajamas with a corona beard behind the screen. For spectacle wearers, clean your glasses in advance.
2. Provide a quiet place
If possible, provide a quiet place where you will not be disturbed by other residents of your house during your virtual meeting. Include pets there too. Preferably use a little neutral background. If you do not have it, then apply the « blur background » option.
3. Provide good sound
Use a good headset during a virtual meeting. Preferably a headset with noise cancelation, both on the output (headphones) and the input (microphone). This is also important if you are in a quiet room. This makes you easily understandable and you can easily understand the other participants. For clarity, do not use the headphones that come standard with your mobile phone. It has no noise cancellation. So do not use the speaker and microphone in your computer. Doing so often results in an ultrasound and your housemates can then follow the entire conversation. This is not desirable from a confidentiality perspective.
4. Provide good lighting
The way in which you are in the picture is also important. In many cases, the lighting in particular leaves much to be desired. In other words, either you are overexposed and appear as a kind of white ghost, or you are completely lost in a dark shadow. Therefore, make sure that you prefer to sit towards the light; you are then in the picture. If that doesn’t work, consider purchasing two video LED lights, for example, to help illuminate your image.
5. Choose a good image crop
Make sure you are in the picture. Preferably in the way people would see you if you just attended a physical meeting. Both your head and part of your torso should be visible. So do not sit too close to the camera, so that your head largely fills the image, but do not sit too far away. Try placing the camera in your laptop or your webcam at about eye level. This prevents especially the ceiling from being visible and you are just a little too much from below.
6. Make clear agreements
Make good agreements before or at the start of the meeting. For example, that people turn off their microphones as much as possible during a meeting, this prevents mutual disturbance. Also discuss whether or not to use the often integrated chat functionality. Also important: during longer meetings it is customary to make an appointment for a break for a sanitary stop and / or fresh coffee.
7. Use a professional video conference set
In the 1.5 meter economy of the future, we will often continue to make use of the possibilities of video conferencing. For this reason, set up a special room at the office that is good for video conferencing. In that case, consider also purchasing a professional video conference set. This often consists of a large screen, an advanced camera with directional microphones and good audio reproduction.
8. Use one or more cameras
Your laptop or webcam has a 2-megapixel camera, while many people also have a camera with, for example, 12, 24 or even more megapixels. These cameras can also be connected to your computer with a special adapter. Your computer then simply sees that camera as a webcam. The images are therefore of much better quality and you can also control the exposure much better. If you ever give webinars, you can also consider connecting multiple cameras. In this way you as a presenter can be visualized from different sides.
I can do a lot back to the old. But it would be bad if we don’t learn from it. So let’s not stop ourselves in the future. Let’s stop hooking up and just go ahead and do it. You know, just like during the corona crisis.
Fou-Khan Tsang RA Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alfa Accountants and Advisors. He wrote this column in a personal capacity.
This contribution is also included in the ICT & Office magazine. Click here for the online version of the magazine.
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