Webinars and Zooms: seven mistakes people are STILL making

Got a webinar appearance coming up, or an important Zoom meeting/pitch? Everyone’s at it while working from home. Here are some of the things we most frequently see people still getting wrong: 

1. Not getting the hang of that ‘mute’ thing. The TV director Tristram Shapeero went viral on Twitter a few days ago, and not in a good way, when he commented on the poor quality of the flat of an actor he was auditioning via Zoom, when he thought no-one could hear. A grovelling apology followed, but the damage was done. Think of it as like being in a TV studio – assume someone can always see and hear you.

2. Failing to check your image and backdrop on your laptop camera app before you go on to Zoom or Microsoft Teams etc, to ensure everything looks as it should. You have to then switch the camera off, otherwise it can’t be accessed by Zoom when you try to join the meeting.

3 Having nothing in the backdrop of the shot. There is little more unsettling, people may think you’re in an institution. Take the time to position artworks, books and plants in a pleasing, but non-distracting way.

4. Looking at the faces on the screen in front of you, rather than looking directly into the camera of your laptop – which should be placed on books or a box, so it is slightly above your eye level.

5. Having a lamp or light-filled window in shot behind you, which will probably leave you in shadow. Position soft lighting behind your laptop to illuminate your features, or better still, invest in a ring light – much brighter, and you can alter its intensity.

6. Leaving your phones and email client on, so that the remote meeting is constantly interrupted by pinging noises or visual notifications. Close down Outlook or Thunderbird before you start.

7. Looking a bit sweaty. Glowing is good, shiny is bad. Yes, guys, maybe you need powder…

More in our media training courses, face to face or via Zoom