Perhaps you’ve already been 'Zooming', using Microsoft Teams or some other application for distance meetings. Maybe you’re just now coming to the conclusion that online meetings/presentations will be a large part of our new normal going forward. Either way, it might be helpful to brush up on a bit of online meeting etiquette.
1) Lighting. Your lighting may dictate where you’ll need to position yourself. Straight on lighting works best for online screens, but aimed AT you, not coming from behind you and pointing towards your camera. You can practice using the flip aspect of the photo app on your phone to determine where you can avoid shadows and such. If you are a person who wears glasses, be mindful of any glare reflecting off of your optical lenses.
2) Background Basics. Do a study on what others are using for backgrounds. Check out the reporters and talk show hosts who are continuing to produce their programs from home. The bookcase background is extremely popular, but others are using decorative wall backgrounds as well. It is also possible to customize backgrounds through the application and avoid using a home background at all. What you’ll want to keep in mind is just how professional you need to look. Family and friend meetings are very different from team gatherings at work. Choose your background accordingly.
3) Positioning. Many of us have already seen how positioning is imperative. Have you seen only the right bushy eyebrow of your boss during most of the meeting? Witnessed the person who is continually moving about the entire time? Pre-positioning yourself ensures that you don’t become the center of attention….aka…the major distraction within a meeting. It’s best to angle your camera where it is pointed slightly down at your face, rather that lower (so that folks cannot see up your nose).
4) Body Language, Voice and Eye Contact. People tend to forget that, while they may not be speaking in a meeting, everyone can still view them. That means we must keep our posture intact, maintaining eye contact and, most of all, smiling and nodding affirmations when appropriate.
Let’s face it. Online presentations, recordings and meetings are fast becoming a staple in life. They are, in some ways, much easier than standing in front of a live audience, but the core components are the same. And so is the fact that practice makes it all easier!