Media Training Worldwide

Backdrops and Quick Tips You can use for Your next Zoom Meeting

Recently, we’ve received many inquiries from clients asking us about how they can look their best Zoom meetings… 

Many of our training participants have been commenting on the backdrop that we have been universally using for our trainers at Media Training Worldwide. It’s very simple. All we did was purchase a $15 backdrop from amazon.com, taped it behind where we work and conduct Zoom meetings from, and voila–– we have a nice, textured backdrop that earns us compliments in many of our meetings. 

Here is an example of using the backdrop in one of our recent one-minute short videos by one of our trainers, Jake Senn: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMz8kAll7G9/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

As you can see, it’s relatively simple and painless to set up. Best of all, it’s dirt cheap. You can grab one of these backdrops there.   

Please note that we do not use affiliate links. As a premium training firm, we only share items that we have personally vetted and trust using by our rigorous standards. 

Once you have a backdrop, then it so much easier to ignore what’s behind you and focus on what matters more–– your message and how you come across on camera, which brings us to our next point… 

Because of the pandemic, most people are not working from their office. Typically we are all working from home. There are a lot of elements that we are not in control of in our home. Our kids may get into a yelling match over who gets control of the iPad, our neighbor’s dog may see a squirrel and orchestrate a chorus with the neighborhood dogs… While these types of circumstances are outside of our control, we can instead focus on what we can control. There are four elements that we want to control when we are presenting ourselves on Zoom:

  1. Our presentation (ie how we look, how we are dressed, our confidence level)
  2. Our audio quality (ie what microphone you are using) 
  3. Our video quality (ie are you using a built-in webcam, an external webcam, or a professional video camera for meetings) 
  4. The lighting in our environment 

For your presentation, are you dressed in your typical office-wear, or are you rocking pajamas that you’ve worn three days in a row (pro tip: your colleagues may pick up on this pattern…) Some forms of dress have loosened up for a lot of people working at home, so it makes sense to wear something that is both comfortable and that makes you look professional. If you used to wear collared shirts in the office, then consider wearing a polo shirt for more comfort.   

For audio quality, consider buying an inexpensive lavalier microphone. You can purchase a decent quality lav for as little as USD 40 on Amazon. If you have noisy family members at home or neighbors watching the big game while you are on Zoom trying to close a seven or eight-figure deal, then you know how important having this peace of mind is. You can see an inexpensive microphone option here, or see the lavalier that we regularly use here.

For video quality, we recommend purchasing an external webcam. However, if you are live streaming to an audience outside your organization or are going to be on broadcast television, we recommend purchasing a DSLR or mirrorless camera that can act as a webcam. Consumers are used to seeing media representatives in expensive studios and are experts at catching inadequacies in production. Most people spend 10,000 hours watching television before they turn 18, so it’s safe to assume they are experts at making you look bad. 

Our Video quality (ie are you using a built-in webcam, an external webcam, or a professional video camera for meetings) TJ Uses his Canon Vixia as a webcam, and Jake uses a Panasonic Gh4 with a 25 mm 1.7 MFT lens. We use the Elgato Cam Link 4k to connect our cameras to our computers. 

For the most basic lighting setup, we recommend having a ring light. At the very least, having a ring light pointed towards you will help motivate your viewers to look into your eyes. In cinema, they call this a “catch light,” because you catch the shape and dimension of the light source in our view. Also, your face will be lit up evenly. 

There is so much more we could discuss. In the meantime, we would like to keep it relatively simple for now. If you are interested in receiving more tips on looking your best on camera, let us know and we can share more tips and tricks with you in the form of newsletters, videos, or perhaps as additional bonus content to our online courses. 

P.S. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out this on-demand course on presentation training, you can check it out at the link below: 

https://courses.mediatrainingworldwide.com/courses/the-ultimate-public-speaking-training-course

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