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Phil Cooke Podcast

Sep 17, 2019

Business video calls can be fantastic – or a disaster and can affect how you are perceived by clients and colleagues. Phil Cooke https://philcooke.comoffers tips to present yourself as a confident professional on a Skype or iPhone video call.


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Do you have a message or story the world needs to hear? As a Hollywood producer and media consultant, I offer advice for leaders and creatives each week on filmmaking, digital media, publishing, strategy, communication, leadership, culture and faith – to help you get from where you are to where you want to be in your career.


More about this episode: How to Be a Rockstar on Video Conference Calls

Mostconference calls are in a business or professional context, so we need to give more thought to how we’re seen on those calls. From the way you set up your camera, are you perceived as a confident, professional leader? Is your shot pleasing to watch as you speak? Are there distractions that keep me from hearing your message?  


Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make. Let me know if you’ve seen anyone do these and check out my blog article for some great (and fun) visuals on each point.


When the shot is too close:  When you get too close to your computer camera, it distorts your face – especially your nose.Consider the other people on the call and always remember to never sit too close to the camera.


When there are people in the background: This is an especially big problem if you work from home. Make sure your wife, kids, or dogs aren’t running around in the background, distracting from what you’re saying and being generally annoying for everyone else watching.


When there’s an inappropriate background:  I’ve actually been on video conference calls where there’s an unmade bed in the background of somebody’s home office. Think about what kind of background will be more professional and a better environment for the call.


When there’s bad framing:  People want to see YOU, not everything else in the office.  Plus, in most cases, they see your shot as a small frame, so you need to be bigger in that frame to get your message across.


When It’s Too Dark:  I shouldn’t have to say much about this, but you won’t believe the number of people who don’t think about the lighting.  I want to see your eyes and expression, so either turn on the lights, open a window, or find a better location.


When you’re not looking at the camera!  Do your best to look at the actual camera lens on your computer or phone. Otherwise, it looks like you’re talking to your keyboard.


Think about the framing!  Visit my blog for the sample screenshot of this one! A shot I often use on conference calls positions my head in the upper third of the screen so it feels more natural. You can see my bookshelves, so people know it’s from my office. And I can control the lighting because I’m between a window and some track lighting that I can aim.  


Also, make sure the camera lens is eye level or slightly above. You don’t want people looking up at your neck and chin because you’re sitting higher than the camera. Likewise, if the camera is too high, you look diminished and small – not the confident, authoritative perception you want. Keep it line of sight or just slightly above.


Next time you schedule a conference call, think about your perception. It’s a media driven world, so your clients, co-workers, vendors, and associates will make a lot of assumptions from the camera angle and framing you choose.



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