The new reality is that many of our meetings going forward are going to be from our laptops. While Zoom calls aren’t the same as in-person meetings, it is still important to put your best foot forward. The person on the other end of the call may not get to appreciate your minty fresh breath or fancy new shoes, but below are some ways you can look great when your meetings can’t be in person.
Everyone who has been on a video conference is now aware of how important good lighting is. Architectural light, coming straight down on your face, causes shadows that are incredibly unflattering. The majority of the light in your room should be coming from in front of your face, behind your screen. An easy solution is to add a lamp to your desk with a quality LED bulb. If your calls are mostly during the day a daylight balanced bulb will better match the color of natural light, but will appear very blue and harsh at night. Alternatively, a warm white or soft white bulb will appear more orange than midday sun, but is very flattering in the evening. A color temperature around 3500º Kelvin may be a good balance for most people. If you are looking for the perfect temperature of light any time of day consider a Savant Light Bulb, which can be tuned to any color you choose. Call BRAVAS today for more details.
If you want a portable, dedicated option, consider a small LED panel. These can be easily charged or powered by the USB port on your computer. Some, like the model linked below, even come with a tripod, so you can easily set it up and pack it away when not in use.
While video quality is important, being heard is the most important aspect of a video conference call. Most phones and laptops have reasonably high-quality microphones and used correctly, they should be all that you need. If you find yourself struggling to hear or be understood, consider using headphones with a built-in microphone, like Apple EarPods. This gets the microphone closer to you and tends to produce a better sound.
The second biggest factor effecting the quality of sound in the room that you are in – if you are making calls from your office, you can control how your space sounds with relative ease. Imagine having a conversation in a bathroom. The hard surfaces cause sound to bounce around unabated, with nothing to absorb or scatter the sound.
By adding surfaces that absorb and diffuse sound you can make your office sound much better. Heavy curtains, plush rugs and acoustic panels are the best options for absorbing sound, while bookshelves full of books are great for diffusing sounds. In the image below an acoustic treatment serves as both a decorative piece and a functional sound absorber. Acoustic treatments vary greatly in looks and performance, so if you are serious about being taken seriously on your next call, let BRAVAS help.
If you are working from home, your home is now a professional space, and as much as possible should look like one. That doesn’t mean that it needs to be devoid of personality, but it should be curated to give others the desired impression of you. Consider what is visible when you are on-screen, and how that will appear to your audience. At a minimum it should be clean and free from anything overly distracting. Consider including something like the warm glow of a lamp, your diploma, or even a sample of your work. Just make sure that whatever is in frame matches the level of professionalism to which you aspire.
So now you look good and sound good, it is time to make sure that you can work effectively. Video conferencing has added a strain on many networks that they weren’t designed to handle. If you are working from a laptop, tablet or phone, it is essential that your Wi-Fi network is capable of providing maximum video and audio quality free of annoying lags. In your current setup this may mean taking calls from a room near your router, but your network should be able to comfortably cover your entire home, regardless of how many of your family members are using it. At BRAVAS, we design and engineer business-grade networks for the home. Nothing is less efficient than struggling with technology, so let us help design and install a system that simply lets you work.
While we look forward to in-person meetings, it is clear that video conferencing will be a bigger part of our lives in the future. Hopefully the ideas above help make you into a video conferencing expert, but if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.