A strong Zoom presence isn’t just for superstars or pundits who appear on TV. Anyone who wants to communicate their ideas clearly in this now ubiquitous video format could benefit from a few Zoom tips and tricks.
For expert advice, I brought in Kim Foley, author of “Virtual Meetings With Power and Presence: The Ultimate Guide to Online Meetings.” She works with clients to help them optimize their presence on digital video, and she has one mission in this interview: She wants to make you look good on Zoom.
Listen in to hear her Zoom tips on the adjustments to staging, lighting and clothing that can help you look and feel your best on this now-ubiquitous communication tool.
Why Your Zoom Presence Matters
Before the pandemic, video conferencing was an occasional experience for most of us. Now, it’s become the default method of communication for remote workers. Among all the available video platforms, Zoom quickly took the lead — to the point where “Zoom” became a verb synonymous with video conferencing.
In this environment, having a great presence while video conferencing becomes an essential element for creating a great impression so that you can establish the credibility you need to be seen and heard. “You don’t show up at a networking meeting like you’re going to the beach,” she points out. “The lighting, the framing — all of these things are telling people a story about you.”
Learn a Few Zoom Tips and Tricks
Looking amazing on Zoom doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. During our recording, Kim looked and sounded great — and she did not spend very much money to do it. So how can we all look as good as Kim and her clients?
Your setup doesn’t have to be much. In fact, Kim doesn’t even think you need to invest in a webcam. Instead, use the one that comes with your computer — but give it what it wants: light. Investing in a few small, inexpensive lamps can make a big difference. When I spoke with Kim, she was using a few cheap lamps she found on Amazon to light herself. And she looked great!
Another one of Kim’s Zoom tips that makes a big difference? Standing. This helps you frame the shot better, and it also helps you speak more confidently. “Everything I do is standing, and that’s how I train presenters — to stand and do their presentation,” Kim says. Additionally, Kim stands a few feet away from the computer, so that she can fill the frame.
The final piece? Your audio. While Kim did not offer specific recommendations, she does recommend using a USB lavalier microphone, which can easily be found for under $30 on Amazon. This will capture cleaner audio than your computer’s microphone, particularly if you’re following Kim’s recommendation of standing further away from your computer.
You’re in Control
If presenting over Zoom gives you anxiety, you’re not alone. It’s weird looking at yourself on a screen while talking to other people, and it can take time to get comfortable with that experience.
The more you practice, the better you’ll feel as your virtual presentation skills improve. You have a lot of control over how good you get at it. “That’s a lot of people,” she says. “They don’t realize that they have all the control here.”