Definitive Guide Series: Video Conferencing Best Practices
How to Take Advantage in a Post-COVID Normal
As we emerge from COVID, a positive change for the world is the emergence and acceptance of Video Conferencing. For those early discovery calls, rather than wondering if your client was surfing YouTube or Facebook while you asked probing and leading questions, Zoom calls allow us to build more meaningful relationships early in the process. To best maximize your Zoom calls and Own the Intro, read this Definitive Series Guide on the “Video Conferencing Best Practices.”
Look at the Camera… seems obvious, but it’s not. Most people look at the eyes of the person talking on their screen, which, in most cases, is a few inches below the camera. This makes the buyer see you as looking at their shoulder, not exactly creating a bond or imbuing trust. Look into the lens (helpful hint: put some small craft eyes next to your camera), especially when you are listening intently or making a point.
One way to make this easier is to buy a monopod and an external camera and place the camera in the middle of your monitor or screen.
Know where your microphone is. Whether your mic is external, integral in your laptop, or a speakerphone, speak into it, clearly, in a normal cadence.
Clean your desktop up! No one wants to see a messy desktop and a bunch of open tabs. Also, be mindful of your bookmarks bar and you can inject some personality there with your own personal interests, perhaps sparking a deeper conversation on a common interest.
Stay Alert! While I am sure we are all guilty of checking your phone or looking out the window, you are on camera and the other person will notice.
Mute your desktop notifications and other alerts. If your phone alerts you of a text, instinctively the other person is going to check their phone, too.
Be on time and dress to impress. COVID is nearly in the rearview… the excuse to wear sweatpants and a t-shirt have gone with it. Don’t make someone wait.
Record your calls and watch the game tape!
From Basic to Advanced Zoom Call Setups
Minimum Speed: 1.5Mbps
Recommended Speed: +100Mbps
What’s my speed? www.speedtest.net
Hardwire or Wifi? Hardwiring is more reliable than Wifi, and be sure the kids aren’t streaming Netflix in the other room as that will steal bandwidth.
Have a backup plan: In case you lose Wifi, have a hotspot on your phone ready to go.
At RapportNinja, we always recommend a minimum of 2 screens while presenting (and 3 if your video card can handle it). The screen closest to the camera is what your guests are seeing, along with their video feeds. The second screen is your personal sandbox. One tab should definitely be dedicated to rapportninja.com and additional tabs as you see fit.
Hierarchy of microphone quality:
Wired headset or microphone (Best)
Bluetooth headset or earbuds
Cell Phone microphone
Internal computer microphone
Cell Phone speakerphone (Worst)
Pro-Tip: Since you’re on camera, large noise-canceling headphones are not the best look.
If connecting by computer: familiarize yourself with the audio device selection to make sure the right input is selected.
If connecting by phone: be sure to enter your “Audio Pin” so that others can see who is talking.
Personal Preference: I connect through my computer so everything is on one screen, and I can use higher-end audio devices while having a cell phone back-up ready to go. This method also prevents call-waiting interrupting your audio. Having said that, if you are on public or shoddy wifi, I highly recommend calling in via your phone in case the internet drops on your computer.
A good camera really sets a presenter apart from the competition. It is immediately apparent when someone has an external camera and if part of your deal flow requires a Zoom call, you need to invest in one. We recommend the Logitech Brio but if you’re looking for the next level, a DSLR setup like this one is over the top.
DO: EYE-LEVEL, CENTERED ON YOUR FACE (Get a laptop stand, mouse, and keyboard)
Sit at eye level to the lens and try to position yourself so that it shows midsection up. Placing the camera too high leaves other participants staring down at you like a bad tv show. Placing a camera too low can lead to unflattering and awkward angles.
Look into the camera. Looking into the camera lens is the equivalent of looking into the person’s eyes, so practice doing so until you’re comfortable with it. Put a post-it note or sticker next to the camera lens to remind you where to look.
DON’T: Put a laptop on a table below you or in the corner while you look at an external monitor—we don’t want to see your nostrils.
If you can, find a private place to take the call, and if not, use headphones to minimize background noise. If you have roommates, partners, or family members who are also working from home (or just stuck at home), let them know beforehand that you’ll be in a meeting to minimize interruptions.
Make sure your face is well lit. Natural lighting and side lighting work best, but overhead lights can work well, too. Backlighting can often make it hard to see; if you can’t change the backlighting, try to put another light in front and to the side of your face.
Clean up the area around you. Open up the camera on your laptop or switch on your external camera and see what’s visible in the background before the call, and check that you’re comfortable showing that on a video call (so put away your laundry and make sure whatever’s on your walls is work-appropriate).
Note- While currently en vogue, sitting in front of your library to show that you read books detracts from the attention on your face. Keep it minimalist to draw attention to items that matter.
I prefer a few pictures, a couple of books, some art, and a plant.
Sample Set-ups: Video Conferencing Best Practices
Laptop Stand: Rain Design mStand (an Amazon box will suffice)
Microphone: Apple AirPods Pro
Lights: YICOE Softbox Lighting Kit
Camera: Logitech Brio 4K Ultra HD Webcam
Microphone: Blue Microphone Yeti X
Headphones: Shute SE215 Wired Earphones (Any headphones will suffice)
Resources: Video Conferencing Best Practices
Everything You Need to Look Ridiculously Good on Zoom (Best I’ve Read)
About the Definitive Guide Series:
At RapportNinja, we spend a lot of time researching ways to elevate sales and improve the buying experience. Grounded in our Core Value of “Always Be Giving,” the Definitive Guide Series is meant to be the starting point in your learning process for all things sales. Think of it as a sort of “Cliff’s Notes” or “Spark Notes” for sales topics.
Check out our other Definitive Guide Series articles: