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How to level up your zoom meetings

The Power of First Impressions: How to Level Up Your Zoom Meetings

Your appearance and environment shape people's first impression of you. Within just 7 seconds, others form opinions about your credibility and likability based solely on how you show up.

If you were meeting a client in person, you'd make an effort to suggest a professional meeting spot like a quiet cafe. You wouldn't dream of having that important discussion standing next to a smelly dumpster in a dark alley!

So why do many of us show up for Zoom meetings with less than ideal environments? When you jump on discovery calls, client coaching sessions, webinars or presentations over video, your setting and gear are making an impression - positive or negative.

Your credibility and likeability are enhanced or undermined by the subtle cues you're sending through your audio, lighting, background and more.

Here are 5 Mistakes to Avoid when presenting on zoom meetings or a video streams and tips on how to level up your online presence.

1. Audio
Not using a microphone or relying on ear bud style headphones can produce tinny and echoey audio. This can reduce the audio quality and the opportunity to repurpose content. Invest in an external mic and reduce external noise to ensure you sound crisp and clear. People will endure poor video but will tune out quickly with poor audio.

2. Lighting
Poor lighting can cast unflattering shadows and reduce the quality of your video reducing the opportunity to be able to repurpose content. Consider using a three-point lighting setup with a key light, fill light, and backlight.

3. Distracting Backgrounds
A cluttered background or messy bookshelf can pull focus from you. Create a simple backdrop a lamp, books and or a plant. Less is more, and be check your picture frames are hanging straight and nothing is poking out around your head.

4. Unflattering Camera Angles
Avoid looking down at your camera if you're using a webcam on your lap top as this can create a domineering stance and come across condescending. Likewise if your webcam is position high up on your monitor where you are looking up to the lens, as this create diminish your credibility. Position your camera as close as you can to eye level to create connection.

5. Outdated Hardware
Blurry, grainy video from old laptops and poor quality webcams looks unprofessional. Upgrade to a dedicated webcam that can handle HD video.

To find the right webcam for your needs and budget, I put several top models to the test:

**Budget Pick (from $49): J.Burrows CM200 Full HD Webcam**
- 1080p resolution with autofocus
- Built-in mic
- Cons: Cooler colour hue

**Premium Pick (from $229): Logitech StreamCam** this was my pick 
- 1080p at 60fps for smooth video
- Tracks focus
- Can mount on tripod or monitor
-Optimised for streaming
- Cons: It isn't as discreet as other webcams

**Top of town (from $329): Logitech MX Brio 4K**
- 4K resolution at 30fps or 1080p/60fps
- Wide angle lens
- AI lighting and colour adjustments
- Cons: Very expensive, overkill for most

I did also test the Logitec Brio 500 ($199) but was unable to make it work even after restarting my computer 3 times and updating the software. So this was a no from me.

 

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