I JUST DON’T LIKE TECHNOLOGY SAID NO MILLENIAL, EVER…
Let’s face it, with the COVID-19 situation, times are tough for communication. From one boomer to another, the forced remote work setup has been a tad challenging. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, a mere 3% of us boomers worked from home, according to a survey released by Workplace Trends.com, a research and advisory firm for human resource professionals. Most Boomers generally prefer to keep home life and work life separate. COVID-19 changed this dramatically for the immediate future.
By now, most boomers have settled into working remotely. Meetings, sales calls and interviews are now performed through video conferencing. How’s that working out? Here are a few tips and tricks to elevate your online video conferencing game:
VIDEO STAT: Boomers spend an average of 240 minutes using screen time per day. The problem is most are using that purely for entertainment outside of work (eMarketer)
APPEARANCE. Be aware of your surroundings. Pet and child disruptions are becoming the norm, but regardless, your video presence should look professional. This includes lighting. Jim Fisher from PCMag suggests that “A soft fill on your face is all that matters.” You’ll want to avoid direct bright light, but a lamp with a shade can do wonders as can a window. “If you’ve got big windows, place the windows 5-10 feet in front of your face (not back), so they light you up; otherwise the camera is going to struggle with exposure.” Try to keep your face and screen at eye level. Sometimes propping your laptop on a couple of books will do the trick. Putting a camera too low can lead to unflattering and awkward angles. You will also want to keep your background simple. Too much visual noise can be distracting. For Zoom users that want to get real creative, this company offers a virtual background option.
“Eyes are windows to the soul”
A little wardrobe (and background staging) can go a long way before lights, camera and…remote action!
Video calls outperform phone calls when it comes to decisions. We see the same trends when customers are viewing product videos vs. just listening to a podcast or reading a text review of a product. We can use that data to be more informed in our communication during this remote season. Now more than ever, if you’re communicating with your employees, clients, customers, or partners, consider being present; consider showing your face in every communication. The more competent your background, the more competent you can be perceived. Default to video calls and you will be more productive. Our team has prioritized we communicate to each other and clients through video calls first and foremost, consider following suit.
SOUND. Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers value audio in a major way because we grew up in the Hi-Fidelity era. Depending on your setup, you may not project and receive hi-fi sound, but you should be able to hear each other. Make sure your computer mic is working properly and test it prior to joining a video call. Most conference software systems allow you to log in and test your microphone prior to joining a call. If you live on a noisy street, make sure your windows are shut. Muting your mic when you are not speaking will also help cut out unwanted room noise. Listening is also crucial. Wearing headphones on a video call is totally acceptable.
PERFORMANCE. By now, you should be aware to dress appropriately. This includes wearing shoes. (You wouldn’t go to work without shoes would you?) Internal calls with employees, or even friends and family, may warrant casual attire. However, if you are presenting yourself to clients, or vendors, you will want to dress professionally as if you were in person. Two last tips. First, look into the camera. We boomers like it when you “look me in the eye.” It shows you are interested and engaged in the conversation. Second, pay attention. Only 3% of us can multitask effectively. Now is not the time to check emails or polish up your slide deck when on a call. We can tell. Your wandering eyes will look rude to the other participants. One last thing. Smile often and speak with conviction. You’ve got this.