I don’t know about you, but I’ve been attending a record number of Zoom meetings and webinars lately, and most of them do not look or sound very good. In fact, they’re mostly abysmal.
If this sounds familiar and you’re looking for some tools and strategies to look and sound great on every Zoom meeting and something you can share with your team so they show up prepared and produce professional content that is brand representative, this article is packed with 25 tips that you can use right now.
Related: 6 Tricks You Need to Know About Zoom
I have tested, re-tested and perfected the strategies that I’m about to share with you over the last 30 years of creating professional content and brands that become competition and recession-proof. Here are 25 strategies to make your online meetings, webinars and videos look and sound professional every time.
Position your camera or laptop at face/shoulder-level looking forward. When you position the camera at waist-level or you’re looking down at the camera, it makes you look heavier. You’ll look younger, thinner and more attractive when you’re looking forward.
A really powerful tool within Zoom is called “Touch up my appearance” and it’ll give you an instant face-lift. Go into your Zoom preferences, click on “Video”, then “Touch Up My Appearance” and you’ll instantly look refreshed and younger.
Look directly at the camera, not at a window on the screen. Position your windows so they’re directly below your camera. Now you’re looking right at your audience and they’re going to feel like they have an intimate connection with you.
Credit: All illustrations owned by Mike Koenigs
Position your camera so you’re in the TOP 3rd of the screen and centered. Most people put themselves in the middle of the screen or lower third. You don’t want to be off too far one way or another and tilt your display down if you’re using a webcam.
Alfred Hitchcock made scary movies by showing a silhouette instead of a character. Don’t do that. Make sure you’re lit from the front, not above or behind you. Get a ring light for under 100 bucks on Amazon to light your face. They also work really well for a tablet or smartphone.
This kind of goes without saying, but I can’t tell you how many people are working with horribly cluttered backgrounds behind them. Always be a brand representative. Open doors and closets and stuff laying around doesn’t speak well for you or your brand.
A little bit of charisma goes a long way. Most people don’t smile at all and look serious. A recent scientific study found that goats are attracted to happy people. So are people! Even when you aren’t broadcasting, start a Zoom meeting and look at yourself and practice smiling. I recommend you put a Post-it with “Remember to smile” on it right on your monitor. It increases your likeability instantly.
With everyone working at home right now, there can be a lot of background noise. One of the tools that work really well is something called Krisp.ai. It’s an artificial intelligence plug-in that will get rid of all background noise including kids, dogs, outside sounds and more. If you’re working in a public environment, it’s a great tool, and it’s super affordable.
If you want to get an keep attention, know you’re in the entertainment business — even if it’s a business meeting. Make a point to be presentable even though you’re working at home. I put on a nice shirt and jacket for every virtual meeting and webinar.
Give people something they will remember, like a virtual dance party or fun theme like “crazy hats.” A costume goes a long way.
I have a large-screen TV behind me that always displays a brand-representative logo or slide. Otherwise, put some interesting objects to display in your immediate surroundings like books, plants, instruments or equipment. Anything to make you stand out or be unique.
Open with a short biography, so you are memorable and the audience knows who you are, what you do, who you do it for and why you do it. For example: “This is Mike Koenigs and I Turn Your Superpower into a Highly Profitable Brand, Grow Your Audience and Monetize It Fast.”
Relate to your audience immediately. Connect with something personal or a quick sentence or two about the benefits, results and outcomes they’ll receive from your event. Keep it short and simple. For example, I started this video with: “If you’ve been attending a whole bunch of Zoom meetings and webinars and find most of them are boring and bad, this is for you. This video will help you stand out, look great and always be brand representative and you can share it with your clients, customers, and co-workers so they create quality content that looks and sounds awesome.”
Do you like getting poked in the eye? Me either. Never point at the camera. It’s offensive and does the opposite of creating a connection.
The human brain can maintain “attention” for seven-minute blocks. Figure out how you can present your content or information in the shortest period of time. Be “as short as possible, but as long as necessary.” Be organized and well-prepared. A little bit of preparation goes a long way. Time compression has massive value!
If you’re using Zoom or Skype or have lots of browser windows open, these apps take up a lot of resources. If you’re having an important meeting, the last thing you want to experience is technical issues. More often than not, weird tech problems can be resolved by restarting your computer. I restart my computer about 15 or 20 minutes before every meeting. Don’t forget to test your audio and video!
From Google, search for “Speed test,” and check your connection speed. Get a direct cable from your router to your computer, because Wi-Fi is inconsistent. If you’re working at home and someone’s using the microwave, they can interfere with your Wi-Fi. Turn off file sharing and let the people in your home or office know that you’re about to do an event.
Headsets make you look like a dork who lives in your grandmother’s basement. Get an in-ear monitor that is small and invisible. Look like a TV announcer! If you wear earbuds, put your cord behind your head, not in front.
Most people don’t realize that 80 percent of the perception of video quality is affected by the audio quality. Your built-in microphone or earbuds sound tinny and cheap. If you want to sound like you have a radio voice, get a good USB microphone like the Blue Yeti.
This is a matter of common courtesy. Make sure you click mute when you’re not speaking. No one wants to hear you crunching on chips or tapping on your keyboard.
Most built-in webcams are good unless you have an old or cheap PC, but for $100 you can get a really good one. The ones I recommend are the Logitech C930 or the Logitech Brio which costs about $200. You’ll notice a massive difference in the quality of your image, especially on a PC.
Zoom lets you record to the cloud or your computer. You can also “simulcast” to Facebook or YouTube (and make the video private) for backup. If you’re using Skype, there’s something called eCamm Call Recorder. There are also products for PCs or Windows and if you’re using Zoom, you’ve got the record feature. When you record locally, the quality is higher than recording to the cloud.
Providing a transcript to your audience creates value and eliminates the inevitable “will you repeat that?” in chat. There’s a product called Otter.ai that connects directly to Zoom (and it’s free for 500 minutes per month). It automatically uploads and transcribes your meetings into full text and recognizes the voices of the speakers in real-time.
Your audience is constantly distracted. They’re texting, they’re twittering, twaddling and Facebooking. I create lots of engagement activities, including polls, surveys, asking people to type in chat and write things down. Anything to keep them focused and paying attention. TIP: A trained and compliant audience is two to three times more likely to buy.
Turn off all of your notifications so no one hears your beeps, bells and buzzers. They’re annoying, disrespectful and unprofessional. It also makes your replays and recordings horrible and annoying to listen to.
Implementing just a few of these simple tips will dramatically increase your memorability and profits and make sure you have a repeat audience for your next live event.I hope these tips are helpful. Please share with your team or anyone you know who could benefit from this list and video!
And BTW, here’s an easy way to make sure the events you attend look and sound great too: Copy and paste this message and link, then text, email and social post it to five people right now.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve been attending lots of Zoom meetings and webinars. If you want to train your audience and teams to look and sound great (and brand representative) for every event, this video is packed with tips and secrets. It’s filled with lots of examples including audio, video, lighting and equipment tips. Let me know what you think!”