By Greg Glynn, APR, Account Supervisor

COVID-19 has changed the way many businesses and their employees are connecting with each other, their clients and potential clients.

From webinars to video conference calls, more and more people are using video as a way to stay connected. The most popular video call programs include Zoom, GoToMeeting, FaceTime and Skype.

To help you with your upcoming video chats, we’ve compiled a list of tips that are great for video calls, helpful for podcasters and for doing your next media interview (many are being done now on Zoom and Skype).

  • Start with good lighting. Try to keep sources of light in front of you. If the majority of lights or windows are behind you, you will appear darker on the screen because of the shadow. For windows behind you, close the blinds or use room darkening shades. To avoid the shadow, put a light in front of you and you will immediately see the difference.
  • Avoid having anything on or next to your laptop. It can be distracting on camera or things like a water bottle on your desk can vibrate against the microphone, making a scratching or light humming noise.
  • Make sure your camera is secure. This is easy if your camera in your laptop or iPad, but make sure you place it on a solid surface. If you are holding it or have it resting on a body part, the screen will bounce up and down and can cause “dizziness” for other people on the call. If you are using an external camera affixed to your laptop, make sure it is secure.
  • Dress for success on camera. Bright whites and reds will bleed on camera and checkered shirts or pinstripes can appear blurry and distracting on camera. Try to stick with pastels or any shade of blue. These colors are usually a safe bet.
  • Look at the camera lens to stay engaged with your audience. Try to remember to look at the camera when you can or every now and then to stay engaged with the other members of the call.
  • Can you hear me now? Make sure you test your equipment (microphone and camera) before the call.
  • Plug-in for success. Be sure to plug in the power cord on your laptop or tablet to avoid running out of battery during the call.
  • Mute when needed. It is common courtesy for larger calls or webinars to mute yourself. Know how to mute yourself in case you need to.
  • A strong connection is key. Have a strong Internet connection (preferably hard-wired Ethernet) and if you use wireless, limit the number of devices or bandwidth that are being used around your home. For example, if you stream YouTube TV for your cable TV service, it can pull bandwidth away from your Zoom video call and result in blurry video or freezing.
  • Silence your cell phone. Avoid being distracted or distracting others if your cell phone rings during the call. It can be embarrassing and stop the flow of the conversation. Be sure to silence your cell phone during the Zoom call so it doesn’t become a distraction.