Due to the Corona Virus and many changes to work patterns, there has been a sharp rise in home working and virtual meetings.
The virtual meetings and presentations are taking place in kitchens, bedrooms, playrooms, and garages across the world. Many with kids being home-schooled on the table or in the room next door. It puts pressure on our work environment and mental health.
So how do you prepare and deal with not only the pressure of the new work patterns but also having to face your peers, superiors and potential clients from the screen?
Many have reservations about leaping into the virtual meeting space. Many have been doing it for years but are still not comfortable and then some don’t know where to start as they are so nervous about being onscreen.
It is funny, isn’t it? We maybe don’t give a second thought to going into a meeting face to face or making a phone call but to some the thought of being on screen is pretty daunting.
The people who I have spoken to find it daunting and stressful for many reasons, the main reasons being.
They don’t know or like technology and don’t feel confident to use it.
They don’t like being able to see themselves on screen and find it very off-putting.
They don’t like the thought of looking unprofessional.
I work with many clients helping them to get network ready in my elevator to passion pitch programme. Helping people get to the stage where they can network with confidence and rid themselves of the preconceptions that they have about networking and enhancing communication skills.
Since the Corona lockdown and new working patterns are in place I am helping clients to continue with their communication skills and helping to release their fears and concerns about getting in front of the camera.
One of the main things about being in front of the camera and the online meetings is that we can see our faces as we interact with our peers and clients. This can cause heightened stress, which can be unconscious as we are aware of our facial expressions and how they are received. We have thought processes about what others think of how we perform and what we are saying what our image portrays about us.
When interacting face to face in meetings or networks etc. we cannot see our face and our focus is on the conversation and meeting – On screen, we have many distractions that we need to manage and minimise.
By minimising some of the stresses before we go in front of the camera or attend that virtual meeting then we can focus on our performance at the meeting rather than allow distractions to hinder our performance.
Here are Four Tips to help you get Camera Ready
It’s Behind You!!
Before going on-screen check your work area.
What is behind you? If you are working from home are there any personal effects that you do not necessarily want others to see. Is there a pile of laundry perched precariously on the ironing board? If there are distractions that you may notice when on screen and it will put you off remove them, or maybe your viewers don’t need to see your unmade bed.
If using Zoom there are some backgrounds that you can use just like a green screen on the news studio. If it makes you feel more at ease and gives a professional feel then have a
play and chose your new ‘office environment’
I have made a makeshift desk area in my bedroom and I am happy to have my artwork on display as it does reflect my personality.
But I always have a glance behind me to ensure that my clients do not get any insights into my life that I don’t want them to have!
Will you be teaching a class such as Fitness or Pilates etc?
It is great for Joe Wick and his beautiful home and space in abundance. But for Joe Bloggs putting ourselves out there, we have to be in our reality and make clever use of the space available. Check your environment.
I have watched a Pilates class in a kitchen using the counter as a barre and the dinner pots were waiting to be washed piled up. Paperwork piled high and ‘stuff’ all over. It is well worth clearing space to avoid knocking into anything and also keeping a professional appearance.
You can pile the ‘stuff’ behind the camera but not in front of it.
The Face of It.
If you are anything like me when the news is on and the reporters or experts/government ministers are being interviews by webcam am I forever shouting at the screen. Lift your lap top-up.
Before you get ready to go online make sure your camera angle is not off-putting.
Most laptops are situated lower than is ideal for camera work as the keyboard is placed ergonomically. However for screen time maybe pop your laptop on a couple of sturdy books to raise the camera angle and ensure you are face forward rather than looking slightly down at the camera and the focus is therefore not on your nostrils!
It also subliminally gives the audience the message you are level with them rather than looking down on them.
For those of you who want to take it further angled slightly above eye level is more flattering to a double chin!
Again if you will be moving is the angle of the camera able to capture the whole of the area you will be moving around in? Can all the makeshift gym area be seen or will your legs or head be cut off during a key moment of explanation?
Keep it Still
I will often walk and talk when doing a live stream. When doing pre-recorded or client meetings I use my laptop webcam or a tripod if using my mobile.
There are many tripods available from cheap and cheerful to the top of the range. Have a practice before using them live for the first time to avoid any unexpected wobbles.
If recording a live stream from your mobile device remember that portrait ‘selfie’ mode is the way to hold for live streaming. If pre-recording them landscape is the best angle as this fills the whole screen and doesn’t give the shadow that portrait does on upload.
When recording to your mobile device look at your camera this way you are engaging with your audience. If you look at the screen it shows your energy but not the subtle eye movement that is so important for building rapport.
Walls Have Ears
Some conversations and meetings will be private and may be sensitive therefore you need to ensure that privacy is respected.
Keep doors closed pop a do not disturb sign for the door. I also use headphones to ensure that my clients’ words are not heard by any third parties. It gives security and confidentiality to my clients and those I am engaging with during online meetings. It also helps me to focus without any distractions from my environment.
Make sure you are online ready For Free help, support and advice join my online Facebook Group.