• Vernon Roberts

Stop Whining and Turn On Your Webcam

Ok, ok. I know it's a pain at times. Setting up that web cam or simply turning it on when you don't feel presentable. Many times we don’t turn it on because we know we’ll have to be fully present and aware once that light turns on next to the lens. There is one thing that you need to know. Interacting during a virtual presentation with streaming video on a call increases the speed of trust creation during collaboration.

More information for the brain.

One of Robert Cialdini's rules of influence is that people do business with people that they know and like. When a person can actually see the eyes and expressions of another person, something magical happens. It's more powerful than any voice emanating from a teleconference speaker. A pseudo connection is made in the brain. The brain now has more information to use when deriving meaning and determining whether to trust another. When we are in a conversation, we respond to quick, subtle cues about our listener’s understanding, intention and empathy. This could be from facial expressions, tone or from the length of pauses. The same goes for our listeners in the other direction. This awareness is exponential in the virtual world.

Tips for using a webcam:

Your camera angle: Make sure the camera angle is level with your eyes. If it is below your eyes, it will be shooting at an unflattering upward angle to your face. If the camera is too much above your eye level it will look like you are presenting from a crater.

Framing yourself: Position yourself in the frame of the viewer, from just above the top of your head to about the third or fourth button on your shirt our where it would be on your top. Make sure that you are sitting up straight with good posture.

Your voice: Many webcams come with built in microphones. These are generally not the best quality. You also have the choice of using your computer’s built in microphone or wearing a wired or Bluetooth headset. What ever microphone you choose, always ask your listeners if they can hear you properly. Also, make sure that you project your voice just slightly as you clearly enunciate, punctuate your words and pause.

What you are wearing: First and foremost, the webcam is a collaboration tool. Don’t let what you are wearing stop you from an impromptu collaboration meeting. If you are leading an important scheduled meeting just remember these 3 things. White makes you look darker, black makes you look lighter and red gives the camera fits.

What’s behind you: The only thing that I will add here is the least distracting the better. I personally have interesting wallpaper in my office that always gets asked about. I try to limit it’s visibility if I can. A plain background is always the best. If you are in your home office, be aware of kids, dogs and significant others in the background.

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