"By applying tools and techniques borrowed from the entertainment industry, we can enhance our impact and experience in online meetings"

Enhance your impact in virtual calls

As we look back on nearly two years of non-stop virtual meetings, it is safe to say that most of us have found ways to successfully navigate communicating through a screen. Although we may now be quicker to unmute and slower to suggest a zoom quiz, there are aspects to regular conference calling and online meetings that remain a challenge. Being on camera and landing our messages through this medium can still feel alien and a lot can be learned from the professionals who have spent their working lives harnessing its power.

As actors and presenters, we have made a living working on camera and whilst it never gets easier seeing yourself on screen, there are major advantages to communicating directly through the camera lens. Performers the world over use the camera lens to influence, inform and entertain and have learnt to embrace the power of video. By applying tools and techniques borrowed from the entertainment industry, we can enhance our impact and experience in online meetings. Here are 5 ways to quickly enhance your impact and your experience in virtual calls…..

1. Framing

Filmmakers know that where your subject is positioned in your video makes all the difference. If people can’t clearly see you face then it’s much harder for them to process and hear what you are saying. Make sure that your face is the largest object in the screen and that your eyes are level with your camera lens. As strange as it may feel, looking at the camera lens regularly during exchanges helps to replicate eye contact.

2. Lighting

Things always look better when they are lit better. Making sure you conduct your calls from a well lit spot in the house can make a real difference to being visible and standing out on a screen. Make sure the light is in front of you and not behind you as a backlight can create a silhouette. If you need more lighting, investing in a good set of LED lights can make a real difference, but make sure they produce a soft light. A harsh LED light can wash out the skin so make sure the light has built in diffusion and if not, a simple white pillow case over the light will do the trick to give you a soft and flattering light.

3. Sound

All filmmakers will say the same thing- you can get away with a bad shot and good sound but you can’t get away with a good shot and bad sound. Investing in a good set of earphones is vital. Modern day laptops are not built for conference calls so the build in mic and speaker are too close together. A pair of good earphones can make sure we avoid the dreaded feedback loop. To have maximum impact on a call, we must have clarity so always check your mic quality before starting any online call.

4. Background

As set designers all over the world will attest, a good background is massively important to communicating to our colleagues and peers how we want to be viewed. A well designed background can give off the air of composure and confidence whilst a plain background can help to remove any distraction from us communicating directly through the screen. Making sure we decide which ones is best for us is hugely important. No one wants to see our messy study or those clothes we are drying! If you prefer to use a virtual background, a pop-up green screen can can give you a clean and professional look.

5. Wellness

Staring at a screen for hours on end can take its toll on us, so it’s important that we not only take regular breaks but we get fresh air when we do. The blue light rays from computer screens can negatively effect our eyes so make sure you give your eyes a chance to rest by regularly looking away from your screen and staring at something a distance away for 30 seconds. Investing in some cheap blue light filtering glasses can also protect your eyes for long term use.

These are just a few things you can do to maximise your impact online and make online calls a more positive experience for people on both sides of your screen.

Neil Grainger & Zoe Harrison
Rosewell House LLP

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