Video Presentation and the Modern Work Environment

Video meeting

Remarkably, within the span of a few short months, the global workplace environment has changed dramatically and perhaps permanently. Among the many changes, arguably the most significant has been the propensity of businesses to encourage their employees to work remotely. This phenomenon has led to the development and refinement of several online video conferencing platforms offering a variety of features and enhancements to encourage their use. I am writing today not to delineate or promote a particular video service, but to discuss several often ignored presentational aspects of modern video conferencing that you can easily implement to ensure that your online meeting is of boardroom quality.

One of the most important of these quality-related features is lighting. Think about the number of ceiling lights and open windows in the modern office meeting or presentation room, and then consider the lighting in your home office, living room or dining room. Is there enough ambient light to allow viewers to enjoy a professional, office-like meeting experience, or do you look like you are hibernating in a cave? Unfortunately, even if your home presentation has plenty of ambient light, it might not be appropriate for a video presentation. If that is the case, then you must consider employing studio lighting. Fortunately, this is not nearly as expensive as it may sound. For relatively little money, you can purchase tabletop or computer mountable lamps that are designed to swivel into positions to enhance the quality of your video. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of filming and then viewing, for your own edification, part of your presentation prior to the actual meeting so that you can perceive exactly what others will see and hear.

Another often overlooked aspect of video conferencing is sound quality. Nothing is more frustrating to a viewer than a presenter's voice drifting in and out of hearing range. Sadly, your computer-based or headset microphone may not be of suitable quality for professional purposes, and you may need to purchase one of several microphones designed for such a presentation. Again, film and listen to yourself before the meeting. While doing so, shift your head position to ensure the consistency and quality of your voice. Even if you have everything dialed in perfectly, you must also eliminate all background sounds. Is the television on in the next room? Is the washing machine sloshing and spinning? Is the dog or parrot voicing their concerns? Are children drifting in and out of range? While these distractions may be charming to your in-laws or neighbors, they can be definitive dealbreakers in a business setting.

Now that you have all of the technical considerations in place, have a look in the mirror. When working from the comforts of home, you can easily forget to consider your appearance. Perhaps you've gotten into the habit of working in your jammies with the intention of showering and fixing your hair sometime later. When you log into a professional video meeting without accounting for your appearance, how will a viewer perceive your dedication and consideration? Dress as you would for any professional boardroom meeting, even if you know that the viewer is likely to log in wearing their most comfortable home-based attire.

Furthermore, do not make the mistake of ignoring that which surrounds you in the room. If your living room or home office houses any inappropriate or unusual décor that may distract or offend someone on the other end of the video screen, remove it before the meeting. You can replace it with strategic items (such as the client's latest book or product) that may enhance your presentation.

Finally, consider your viewer and the limited nature that may be an inescapable aspect of video conferencing. Unlike a boardroom setting that is at least a 180-degree viewing experience, the video meeting requires a viewer to sit in a single position with their head glued straight ahead at the screen. This can lead to viewer fatigue, an obviously undesirable condition that can progress rather quickly. Therefore, it is important to keep your online presentation relatively short and to the point. Even if the viewer begins to chat at random, you can certainly engage them for a short time, but you should gently guide the conversation back to the purpose of the meeting.

Keeping these aspects in mind, you will enhance the likelihood that your video presentations will remain professional and effective. Never forget that the more practice and experience you acquire, and the more you focus on the quality-related aspects of your video conferencing, the more skilled, comfortable and successful you will be in this new online business environment.

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