Roundtable Recap: Strategies to Ensure You Lead Positive and Productive Video Conferences

May 3, 2020

Presenter: Dr. Laura Sicola, Founder, Vocal Impact Productions

In the wake of the coronavirus and sudden need to work remotely while still staying in front of clients and connected with colleagues, people are being forced out of their comfort zones and learning to use video conferencing for regular communication. Unfortunately, lack of strategy and skill for running video meetings can make for an experience that is both inefficient and painful, and reflects badly on leadership. This Roundtable was anything but, as various key strategies to confidently run an effective video conference were shared and demonstrated.

Take – Aways

Projecting Leadership. In ensuring you come across as the best version of yourself, think about the image you want everyone to see and acknowledge that it might be discomforting to look at yourself in this format. That’s both OK and not unusual. Be willing to take your content seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. Step out of your comfort zone and help your mindset shift to bolstering, not hindering, that best version of you.

Video Is the Great Equalizer. Video has specific requirements that lend themselves to projecting your best on-camera presence. Consider:

  • Camera angles—How do you look when you are seated at a conference table? That’s the image you want on video where you take up the majority of the screen (and not just your head!). Be aware of what else is in your screenshot and if you really want someone’s focus to be thusly distracted.
  • Lighting—A small investment into lighting pays dividends in making sure you are literally in the best light possible. You will probably need to play around with your computer settings to land on what is going to work best.
  • Colors—Now consider the lighting you have perfected and what colors are best complemented by that lighting and what looks best on you. Avoid all black or all white, as computers have more difficulty finding “you” amidst those colors. Avoid sparkly accessories so you, again, focus the attention on you and not extraneous bling.
  • Backgrounds—While it’s tempting to have fun with Zoom backgrounds, know that Zoom backgrounds have been shown to be a security risk as a gateway for uninvited guests. Know, too, that your movements against those backgrounds can end up looking disjointed. It’s best to keep backgrounds simple.

Know Your Technology. Whatever platform you are using, make sure you test it and understand its machinations in advance. Test your own equipment (camera, mic, headphones, etc.) as well. Even better—have a behind-the-scenes helper with you to assist in making sure the technology aspect of your presentation goes off without a hitch.

Maximizing Audience Engagement. Set expectations in communications before the actual meeting, at the start of the meeting, and throughout the meeting as needed. If you are taking questions at the end, let everyone know. If you want people to participate throughout, let them know that, too. The more you help your audience understand how they will best benefit from the presentation, the more they will actually benefit (and the easier your presentation will be for you).

And, when you are front and center, commanding all that attention, remember that it’s OK to take a breath. It’s OK to share something funny. And it’s OK to reveal your information in the way that shows you are Gladys Knight (and not just a Pip)!

Next Month

We will meet again at the virtual roundtable to discuss how to be a great boss. We’ll be joined by Traction Services’ Maria Bassegio and Ed Callahan who will present some simple tools for creating a culture of accountability in our companies, starting with a simple self-assessment tool for anyone who supervises others, including themselves. Five best practices to use when acting as a leader and five others when acting as a manager will also be presented.

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