Executive Presence on Video Conferences
Part 3: Preparing your Studio
Video conferencing is a great way to coordinate remote workers to present trainings, deliver important information and engage in productive team discussions. However, virtual correspondence between several parties is not without its challenges, especially for the executive or leader in charge of the meeting. In this third article of a three article series, we will discuss the technicals of setting up your studio, focusing on how to best leverage your audio and video components.
Position your camera strategically. The camera angle is most flattering at eye level, so you may want to elevate your computer to achieve this angle. This is not only the most flattering, but it also helps you to maintain upright posture. You’ll want to check your video before joining the conference to ensure the video is hitting you just right. Make sure there is not too much space between the top of your head and the top of the screen. You’ll want the video to include the top of your torso as well, not just your head.
Lighting is key. Make sure your face is well-lit so your audience can see you. Natural lighting is the best, so facing a window can offer optimal lighting. If you aren’t able to access natural light, a lamp is a great option. Some lighting pitfalls include having lighting sources directly behind you, casting a shadow, and blinding sun rays coming through the window, blinding you. Experiment with positioning prior to your meeting to find the best lighting spot. Be flexible: your go-to video conferencing spot may differ from where you get the majority of your work done.
Aim for crisp and clear audio. This may require the most amount of preparation and trial-and-error. A great way to test the audio before your conference would be to call a friend or co-worker beforehand using the same audio mechanism as you will in your meeting. This gives you time to troubleshoot problems — poor connection, spotty sound, lags — without having to interrupt your meeting. One of the greatest impediments to clear audio is background noise. Do your part by turning off music, closing windows, silencing your phone and using headphones with a microphone built-in to minimize unwanted sounds from getting picked up. Make sure participants mute themselves whenever they aren’t speaking so that sound only comes from one source at a time.
Be mindful of your backdrops and backgrounds. Make sure the backdrop you present to your audience is organized and professional. Does your camera pick up on kids toys or laundry in the background? Test this out beforehand to ensure your audience only sees what you want them to see. If you anticipate presenting video conferences regularly, you might consider investing in a plain backdrop to hang behind you so you don’t have to worry about what your home office looks like on camera.