Webcam It Up

webcam_it_up_blog_image

Oh, the wonderful, and tricky, world of web conferencing. It seems like more and more of our work is being done virtually, creating a whole new potential for the meaning of “business casual.”

We’ve gotten questions time and again about communicating yourself over a webcam. To answer that call, here are a few shortcuts to help you step up your web conferencing game:

  • Look at the camera. It’s tempting to check yourself out or to check in on your audience, as you would if you were live. Instead, look toward the top of the screen (that’s most likely where your webcam is, although not necessarily if you are on a tablet).
    • If possible, move your video windows to place your audience as close to the webcam as possible. It’ll make it easier.
    • Look into the camera when you are speaking. Then, check in for reactions after you are done speaking. You will come across as though you are looking directly at your viewer(s).
  • Have light facing you. That’s how they make celebrities look so good on camera! Conversely, make sure you don’t have light streaming in behind you from a window. It creates a shadow and makes you harder to see.
  • Keep your background simple. Even if you’re calling in from home, you probably don’t want the dirty laundry hamper right behind you. The plainer your background – the more focus will be on you.
  • Find a quiet place. As much as you might love sitting at Starbucks and calling into a web conference, it can be incredibly distracting for others to hear all that background noise on the conference. Between the espresso machines, the music, orders being called out, and bits of other conversations making it into the background – it’s just too much. This guidance also applies for conference calls.
  • Turn off any programs you don’t need. I was recently on a web conference and sharing my screen – when voila! – a message popped up in the background from WebMD that, let’s say, was a bit more personal than I had intended to share. Lesson learned: close out the programs and websites you don’t need – you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised.

If you follow these tips, you can still be business on the top, casual (read: pajamas) on bottom.

For more tips on web conferencing, check out this infographic, fittingly titled, How Not to Look Ugly on a Webcam.

 

Kickoff Roundup

Sales kickoffs, team kickoffs, all-hands meetings… the biggest internal-facing appearances and meetings are major opportunities to train up your team, get everyone on the same page and set the vision for the year. And tons of them happen in January. So, it’s finally – in February – time for all … Continue reading

Avoid Conference Call Hell

Kudos to Tripp and Tyler and the folks at Leadercast for humanizing the Conference Call in Real Life. Even if you have already seen this video, it’s worth watching again because it will make you laugh: With just a few adjustments, you can make your next conference call more efficient. … Continue reading

A PowerPoint Paradigm Shift

Ever get into the rut of doing what you’ve always done because it’s comfortable – or because it’s the way it’s always been done? I’m talking about presentations – specifically the ones where you use PowerPoint. We were reminded of this when a client recently shared that he led a … Continue reading

Coordinating Schedules? You Can Do Better.

Ever have the experience where you get an email asking if you and another colleague are willing to talk, huddle, brainstorm or follow up on a new initiative? Contrast these two examples: “Can you meet for 30 minutes on Thursday between 9-11am to discuss the new initiative? If not, give … Continue reading

Influence with a Point of View

What’s your point of view? It’s not a “nice to have,” it’s a “need to have” – and let me tell you why: It’s hard to argue with getting better results. But don’t just take my word for it. Recently, a self-proclaimed “Decker Super-Fan” (for reference – she’s taken Communicate … Continue reading

Nodding but not Listening?

Imagine this: you’re sitting in a meeting and suddenly realize you’ve misplaced your wallet. Oh no! What happens to your ability to listen to the speaker? It decreases. You still hear what the presenter is saying – even look involved and interested – but you are far more engaged with … Continue reading

Green Means Go

Do you remember the movie Gone in 60 Seconds? Even if you remember it as a bad movie, it’s a good reminder about how quickly we can lose our audience. The first 30-60 seconds of our presentations, speeches or reports are always the hardest part. Physiologically, it’s when our hearts … Continue reading

Increasing Executive Presence

Looking for a shortcut to increase your executive presence? There are 4 key competencies you must master. As executives, the piece we most often overlook is the importance of being plainspoken. The sum of all of those abstractions (that many of us learned in business school – KPI, anyone?) does … Continue reading

What Do I Do with My Hands?

You’re standing at the front of a room of people. All eyes are on you. You know your content – phew. But there’s a nagging question that jumps to mind… (cue the video, below) We don’t advocate the politician gesture, and we’re not out to make everyone in business into a … Continue reading