AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerHow to Look Good in a Zoom Meeting World

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How to Look Good in a Zoom Meeting World

Video conferencing is zooming: On my home-office computer I have Skype, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, LifeSize, GoToMeeting and Zoom conferencing software depending on person with whom I’m trying to communicate.IMG_0620

We are all seeing ourselves the way a video camera sees us – in a 16 X 9 ratio box. This is not temporary. This is the new and growing normal. My prediction is that this will become the preferred way to communicate quickly and efficiently — adding in the non-verbal cues we all need in a conversation.

From an old TV guy, here are a few ideas to look more professional on your next Zoom meeting:

  • Key light. If you are being illuminated by the computer screen, you’ll look blue. Get a light to brighten your face. I have a shot of my light above my screen.
  • Back-lighting. Bright lights in the background (like a window or lamp) will force the camera to stop down and make you look dark. Digital cameras are better at white balancing but check your camera’s setting to make sure you are white-balanced to the room – if you are not, your video will look orange or blue. Look at whites in your shot like a shirt, teeth or eyes and check color.
  • Background. TV stations spend millions on backgrounds for a reason. Your ceiling is not a flattering background. Try to have your background go into darkness. Turn on your camera and check out your background. Zoom meetings can take the background out of focus which looks fantastic.
  • The camera angle. When you set up a professional shot, you typically want the lens to be at eye level with the person your videotaping. Same with your computer lens. Otherwise it is looking up your nose. That means you may need to put your computer on a box.
  • Digital microphones. They pick up everything. Your paper shuffling, your tapping of a pencil, background noises, the sound of you doing your email instead of listening. Mute your mic. You’ll probably forget you’re muted and you’ll get some lip flap, but it is better than everyone hearing you are watching reruns of the Price is Right in the background.
  • Teleprompter. An easy way to do a teleprompter is to tape your notes to your computer screen up by your camera lens. It will look like you are looking at each person like an anchor when you are actually reading.

It’s a new video world. Make the best of how you look on your camera because that is how you look in person.  Lights, camera, action.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.