You could be giving an important presentation. Meeting a client or sponsor for the first time. If you believe first impressions matter, then video quality matters just as much.
Quality video presentation is more than just aesthetically pleasing. You want to put your best face forward all the time—and video is rapidly becoming the world’s primary mode of business communication.
Yet somehow, so many people are struggling to do it right.
Some studies have shown that non-verbal communication can carry between 65% and 93% more impact than actual words spoken. Over video, a lot of the non-verbal nuance we pick up from face-to-face conversation gets lost.
How can we keep this form of digital communication as crystal clear as possible?
Pro Tips for Successful Video Conferencing
Presenting yourself effectively through high-quality video calls suggests professionalism and a mastery of technology.
We’re going to give you a working understanding of the video call fundamentals so you can establish a higher-quality video presence, no matter what gear you have. All you need are these three pro tips.
Master your lighting
Lighting has the biggest impact visual quality. Low-light videos will show up blurry and highly pixelated, making it difficult for people to read your facial expressions and non-verbal cues.
Make sure lighting is present and abundant. Sit facing a window if your workspace allows for it—and never sit with your back facing a window (unless you’re in the Witness Protection Program).
Many people want to use the view outside their window as an attractive backdrop, but sadly, webcams and laptop cameras can’t achieve that kind of videography without turning you into a shadow.
Be wary of relying on home lighting, since overhead lighting (i.e. from your ceiling) can create harsh shadows on your face. Your primary source of light should be in front of you. In Hollywood, they call this a key light.
A directional lamp pointed directly at your face can also produce harsh results, so try covering the lamp with parchment paper or bounce it off a nearby wall to diffuse the light for more flattering results. Your best bet for solid lighting is a lamp with a paper shade. You can also use a secondary light on the opposite sight (a fill light) to fill in any shadows.
Sound is an equally critical component that sets amateur and professional video quality apart. Always speak in the direction of your mic for a clear and consistent sound.
Your laptop’s internal microphone should do a good enough job, even if it does pick up some noise from family or roommates at home.
Frame yourself like a pro
Since you’re trying to mimic the feeling of an in-person interaction, it’s important that you appear at eye-level with your camera and that you don’t sit too close or too far.
In photo and video, the rule of thirds guides everything. Try to divide your screen into thirds, horizontally and vertically. Keep yourself roughly in the middle of this grid.
Remote work can be your best work.
Instilling production quality into your video calls may not be a pressing need for a lot of people right now. But with a basic understanding of how to enhance your self-presentation over video with the tools you have, you’ll have smoother conversations that feel face-to-face and real.
So, don’t let your audience get distracted by poor video quality and take you or your message less seriously.
It’s not always easy to adapt. Whether you’re working at the office, home, or a mix of the two, we’re all facing digital transformation. Click here for more advice on mastering remote work and evolving technology.