Misfiring Zoomscapes

I attended an informal, yet businessy zoom call a while back, observing in a type of network capacity.

An assembled fourteen thumbnails, looking for a kind of ‘idea understanding’ forum.

I wondered if the breakdown of individual zoom rigs was fairly typical.

One person was not in a position to show live camera. They kept a blank screen throughout. Perhaps missing the trick to have a stock profile pic or other imagery on display instead.

Three people were apparently multitasking and so only turned on their video when speaking. Although I was unaware if they’d announced this as such to the rest. One of them when camera-off put up their profile image. The other pair went black screen. Again perhaps a lost opportunity.

And only two used a virtual background. One being the person who was camera-on only when in discussion and used their profile pic when not. Their chosen background was a swanky web-found home office shot. The other plumped for the standard commonplace tropical beach snap.

The ‘host’ was sitting in a company reception. Actually in a real-life office. With only a corporate branding sign on bleak wall behind them. Which mystifyingly, they chose to mostly obscure behind them.

Then there were a couple of home offices. One sitting in the obligatory Bond Villain chair. And the rest, living rooms and kitchens. Including a married couple sharing their screen, with the consequence of semi-blocking the two pieces of framed artwork on their wall directly above and behind each of them. Three others committed the sin of sitting with a window behind them. Unfortunately bleaching themselves.

And for a brief mishap, one did suffer the zoombombing of a young child.

All but five were (much) too close to their camera.

And incredibly, only three (me included) positioned said camera above their eyeline.

How many were used to or not on video calls during the past year is difficult to say.

Yet not a single one of my fellow zoomers offered up a decent zoom rig.

It was quite the thing.

The absence of any curated, specific and tailored actual background was startling.

Sitting directly in front of wall decoration. Seeing mostly the ceiling behind. Blinded by the daylight through windows. Cupboards taking up half the screen. Way too many nostrils on show. And scary full-face shots.

That last paragraph alone should give a decent half-dozen pointers as to how to improve how you project yourself on your zoom meetings. Your backdrop is your personality. Your ethos. Your approach. How you work. What you stand for. Help truly make them Video Calls That Sell.

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