If there’s one brand that became a household name during the pandemic, it’s Zoom.
The virtual conferencing and webinar software exploded in popularity in 2020 and 2021, ending its first fiscal year after the pandemic with a $671 million net profit, after just a $22 million net profit in the fiscal year prior to the pandemic.
Zoom is one of those brands like Google that became a verb due to its popularity. Today, if I say to you: “would you like to Zoom?” you know what that means. Before 2020 you might have thought I was speaking toddler or challenging you to a foot race.
This platform has been particularly popular among businesses that can easily host face-to-face meetings virtually.
At Summit, we use Zoom for all our team meetings and our virtual client meetings. Some of our offices use Zoom exclusively for meetings.
But this article isn’t a promotion for Zoom; there are plenty of other video conferencing platforms out there, and, whatever your preference, we believe the following tips will up your video conferencing game.
Here are 5 tips for creating a better Zoom experience:
1) Purchase a ring light
Something like this one on Amazon. There’s nothing worse than trying to chat with someone you can’t see. The problem is very few people think lighting is a big deal when, in reality, it can go a long way in adding professionalism and quality to your video conferencing calls.
The ring lights like the ones used for Youtube makeup tutorial videos make a perfect Zoom conference call light because they fit right on your desk, they plug into your laptop, and the ring shape is flattering on your face, filling in all shadows. And, bonus, if you plan on using your phone for the Zoom call, the light has a phone tripod built right in!
2) Avoid Virtual Zoom Backgrounds for Professional Calls (We know it’s tempting)
For business calls, try to avoid using a virtual Zoom background. They might be a fun thing to experiment with on a call with your friends, but Zoom’s greenscreen technology is far from perfect. This means your Zoom background could be pixelated, the lighting on your face doesn’t match the lighting of the background, and it could have trouble detecting your face, which means your face could cut out, or worse, certain parts of your face will disappear and reappear.
That said, if you do need to do the Zoom call from a closet or children’s nursery and a Zoom background would be more professional than an actual background, you can help Zoom’s technology work a lot better by following the first tip. A well-lit face helps tell Zoom where your face is, and the green screen technology will work much better. It will also help to have a plain wall behind you.
3) Find a non-distracting, flattering background
If possible, find a background that speaks to your brand rather than a virtual Zoom background. Are you a teacher, pastor, or CEO of the company? Perhaps have your bookshelf in the background. Are you a musician? Have your home recording studio behind you. You don’t want a distracting or busy background, but you also want to avoid a blank wall. Find a good balance between tasteful but not distracting.
4) Check your internet speed and connection ahead of time
You can use a tool like speedtest.net to ensure your internet speed can handle video conferencing. You will want at least 2.5MB download and 2.5MB upload speed to handle HD video conferencing through Zoom. That’s not a lot; most home internet speeds can easily accommodate this.
If you are video conferencing from home, you may want to check with the family to make sure no one is streaming Netflix when it is time for your important call!
We’d recommend not relying on public internet for Zoom as the bandwidth can be hit or miss in places like coffee shops. It’s all dependent on how others are using the internet.
5) Purchase a Noise Cancelling Mic
Something like this from Best Buy. While most newer laptops have great mics that will work well for video conferencing, you can upgrade your meeting even more by purchasing a microphone that will cancel background noise. Many of us have been working from home, perhaps with kids running around or a dog barking. This will help with that.
There you have it! Five tips to level up your video conferencing experience! Thanks for reading.