Two Tricks To Be More Effective on Video Meetings
Ubiquity reported that in 1971, Albert Mehrabian published a book called Silent Messages, in which he discussed his research on non-verbal communication among salespeople. He concluded 55% of effectiveness is body language, 38% voice and only 7% is the salesperson's actual words. Others have said the mix for most presenters is 70% what you look like, 23% what you sound like and 7% what you say.
Whichever numbers you believe, the impact is simple: your look and how you sound may be significantly more important to your influence than what you say. Add into this what Stanford University called ‘Zoom Fatigue’ and it becomes important for those of us working from our home offices to maximize those things to make us more effective on our calls.
At BRAVAS, we would recommend you focus on two things when improving your video conferencing solutions: a better camera and a better microphone.
A better camera
While that little camera on the top of your laptop might give you what you think of as a good picture, the people on the other end of your line may not agree. Cameras are more than megapixels and other parts of the camera system, like lens and processing are very important. We would suggest you replace that camera with an external webcam or a full-size camera.
The cheapest and easiest way to fix your image is something like the Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Webcam. Get one that supports 4K even though Zoom, Teams, and really all the other conferencing services you may use do not support 4K yet. The better the sensor, the better the picture when it squeezes it down the pipe. Logitech is in a class by its own, so avoid trying to save a few dollars and do this right. The webcam also comes with software like Logitech Capture for Mac that will help you tune your camera for the best picture. For Windows, there are plenty of applications that can help you tune the camera. It’s worth the effort.
At the other end of the scale is using you DSLR (digital SLR) camera as your source. Some modern cameras allow you to directly connect your camera via USB to your Mac or PC and have it act as a webcam. There are many online resources to help you with this; an example is this article from PCMag. Of course if you want to go all the way then try a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K or 6K through an ATEM Mini. They will think they are talking to Spielberg!
By the way, lighting may also make a difference, but a good camera will help compensate for bad lighting. Just don’t have a window behind you unless you want to be lit like an angel.
Now that you look better, you need to sound better. While Mac or PCs will have built-in mics, you need a better microphone than that – especially if you have a noisy PC or Mac. Here you probably have two practical choices and one that will take time to make work but will make you sound very professional.
The simplest practical answer is a microphone that connects to a USB port in your PC or Mac. The external mic on the Logitech Brio is a good starting point, but better would be one of many external mics. Again, you can Google for USB mics and get a long list. This NY Times article suggests the Blue Microphones - Yeti USB Multi-Pattern Electret Condenser Microphone and that would work well. There are lots of cheaper options, but remember, you are looking for a great sound not a cheap one.
On the BRAVAS Luxury Living podcast last month, our guest from ClearOne suggested a system that might typically be found in a conference room but would work from you at home. High end conferencing microphones like the CHAT® 150 USB Speakerphone provide noise cancellation and other features that conference calls a natural sound free of any distractions.
Of course, you can go all the way to be like Joe Rogan with a Shure SM7B or similar, but these are not just plug and play. To make these work, you will need a pre-amp, maybe a mixer and something to convert the single to USB. You will sound fantastic, but it’s a lot of work.
The 7% rule
Of course, none of this is any use if you have nothing to say – style can’t cover for substance 100% of the time. Yet a poor image or even worse, poor sound, is very distracting and a great message will be lost in the noise of how you are sending it.
Some of these options can be complicated, and if BRAVAS can help you create the perfect office or digital presence room in your house, let us know. We look forward to helping you enhance your video conferencing solutions!