8 Ways to Zoom Like the Pro You Are

If you're anything like me, you likely have increased your interaction with customers, staff and partners 10-fold with video conference calls through this COVID situation. We have replaced most of the in-person meetings that have taken place with a virtual version - and I've heard from some TMSA members that this may become more of a general practice as companies consider a virtual workforce as a long-term option. Yes, it seems video conferencing is here to stay in some capacity.

So how do you present like a pro on these platforms? Here are eight tips:

1. Pay close attention to your lighting and background. Place a light in front of you instead of behind to help brighten your face without adding shadows. And try to keep your background as simple yet professional as possible. And you may want to stay away from virtual backgrounds, as fun as they can be. Unfortunately, virtual backgrounds are distracting as they go in and out. 

2. Location Matters. Be aware of where you are located when on virtual conference calls. Are you close to an outside window where there's lots of exterior noise? Is there A/C blowing over your computer? Are your animals running freely? Make sure to have your environment as distraction-free as possible. 

3. Eye Contact: Make eye contact, just as you would if you are live. As much as possible, look directly into your webcam - especially when you're speaking - which helps others feel as though you're talking confidently and directly to them. In fact, you may want to pin your video in front of the camera (we all like to look at ourselves).

4. Be mindful of pressing 'mute.' Mute is your friend, but don't forget to unmute yourself when you talk - a common mistake! 

5. Amp up your energy level. There's no question that your energy doesn't come across on a video conference call as it does in person. Amplify your level of energy at least 2x what you normally would, particularly if you're wanting to retain the attention of others.

6. Be aware of Your Accessories. Watches will clink against the table. Glasses can create a glare. Be mindful of such things and adjust accordingly.

7. Invest in an Adequate Microphone. Virtual conference calls will still be here after COVID - so this could be a worthwhile investment. And they're not necessarily that expensive either. There are many easy-to-use USB microphones that will up your video call game. 

8. Embrace Distractions. Distractions are bound to happen, so get used to them. Children will walk in, a dog will bark, someone will forget to mute, and so much more. But people are very forgiving. Just do whatever you can to minimize the distractions - but don't worry about them when they happen. You're only human!

Pay attention to these helpful tips and you'll be the master of your next virtual conference call!

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