Online meetings while we’re quarantined

Even if we’re not officially on lockdown here in Sweden, a lot of people are working from home to try to help minimise the spread of the Corona virus.

This means that we’ve all needed to change gears and think creatively. Instead of cancelling meetings, a lot have moved online.

Staying on-brand even while working from home

How do you approach your real life meetings? How do you dress? How do you prepare? What tone of language do you use?

Nothing needs to change just because you’re in front of a camera instead of meeting in real life. (Ok, so if the kids are home from school, it might mean that we need to keep them distracted for a while, and of course we need to be a little extra flexible and patient. Those are the times we’re living in at the moment, and I think everyone understands.)

Personal can still be professional

If curling up on the couch in a sweater and yoga pants is your style and in line with your brand, then there’s no need to change. I’m a huge fan of keeping things real and being personal in all contact I have with people, so any online meetings reflect this.

Personal doesn’t have to mean unprofessional.

I have to admit, I’ve seen a lot of questionable quality videos though (dark, bright yellow, crazy contrast, that sort of thing), and I wanted to share some tips to avoid rubbish quality.

Why does it matter?

Because first impressions matter, a lot.

If I’m going to invest in someone, I’m always looking for clues that they are going to deliver value for money. As superficial as it sounds, our brains are constantly looking for visual clues that will reassure us that you’re the right person for the job. So, the reality is that terrible quality videos make people think twice.

It goes hand in hand with any content you share. When you share poor quality images, sloppy text and are inconsistent with your branding online, it gives potential clients the impression that you will deliver the same level of (poor) quality in your service or product.

Video calls are a great way to let your clients get to know you and they give you a great opportunity to show them that you can solve their problems. Just make sure the quality is just as good as you are.

Let your personality shine through

As always, for me the aim isn’t to look ‘perfect’, but you’ll get much better results if the quality of your video call with your client is as good as you are.

It’s about being consistent and delivering quality and then you’re free to be as personal and authentic as you want to be.

Simple tips for better quality online video meetings

Here I share some of my favourite tips.

To summarise the most important points:

For the best light:

  • choose natural window light over artificial light if it’s possible. This is to avoid unnatural shadows and colour casts (you know how sometimes your photos and videos are bright yellow?). This means that I turn off all of the lights if it isn’t night time.
  • the larger the light source, the softer the light will be (so bigger windows are usually better than smaller ones).
  • move to the room that has the best light at the time of day for your meeting. Soft, indirect light is best. Avoid harsh sunlight streaming in on you.
  • move close to the window if you need to and turn so that the light is almost straight in front of you for softer, more even light.
  • prioritise light over everything else for brighter, cleaner video quality. If you are in a dark room, the camera sensor will have to work harder, which may mean a grainier image.

Keep in mind that for the best angle:

  • keep your camera at roughly the same height as your eyes. A lower angle can mean double chins, and a higher angle can make you look small and less confident.
  • what’s closest to the camera is going to look the largest. This means that if you are slouching in the couch with the camera down low, your hips, stomach and chin are going to look bigger and draw attention away from your face.

Some other things to think about:

  • look at what’s behind you. If the background is messy or going to cause distractions, either move it or move yourself.
  • if you wear glasses and want to avoid reflections, move your head around to see which angle is best. Often tilting your head (and adjusting the camera if you need to) may be enough to get rid of reflections.
  • if you don’t have any natural light, you can find quite affordable artificial lights online. I have a small ring light that also has a tripod for my phone. It’s not as flattering as natural light, but it’s quite good. On dark winter days, I often sit by the window with my ring light giving some extra light on my shadow side.
  • the camera on my laptop is the worst, so I have a web camera that I use instead. In Sweden you can find it here and internationally here. I can honestly tell you that I haven’t done any research into which is the best, but I really love the quality of this camera and the price is very affordable.
  • the ring light and mobile stand that I have is similar to this one. There are a lot out there, so have a look around and see what you can find. What I like about this one is that you can adjust the strength of the light and change the light temperature (from warmer to cooler).

Keep in mind that sometimes you just have to make the best of the situation even if the conditions aren’t perfect.

Feel free to share this if you have people in your network who need some help and don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me if you have any questions.