With much of the world adopting social distancing measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are depending more on internet-based audio and video software to communicate with colleagues, clients and job candidates. But how can you make sure you're using it well?
Here are 12 tips that will help students and professionals maintain audio and video etiquette:
1. Maintain high resolution. Videos should optimally be recorded with a 1920 x 1080 resolution when posting on platforms such as YouTube.
2. Use adequate lighting. Avoid using overhead lighting, which can cause shadows. Windows can be a good source of natural light. Having light on either side of you will reduce shadows.
3. Use a clean background. Be deliberate; avoid distractions in the background. A solid-colored background is suggested. A wall, bedsheet or large sheet of paper as a background works well.
4. Avoid shaky footage. Shaky footage can be distracting and unprofessional. Maintain a solid base that you can place the video camera (or laptop) on and ensure that it does not move during the course of the video or webinar.
5. Maintain symmetry. Imagine a 3-by-3 grid over your filming area. Be intentional about where you are in the screen; preferably in the middle of the video. Use the screen space wisely.
6. Purchase plug-in microphones. Headphones or stand-alone microphones will offer clearer and crisper audio quality than most built in microphones.
7. Avoid background noise. Things such as typing on the keyboard or shuffling papers will sound much louder on the video than they do in real life. Make sure the microphone isn’t too close to you so your breathing noises are eliminated.
8. Maintain positive body language. Stand (or sit) up straight with shoulders relaxed. Don’t cross your arms. Smile, especially in the beginning and end of the video. Don’t be too close (or too far) from the camera.
9. Speak slowly. Practice what you will say before recording. Use props, such as a white board, to assist you when you're speaking.
10. Stop for questions frequently during webinars. Remember you won’t be able to see your audience. Pause to take questions after every topic or as necessary to ensure the audience isn’t lost.
11. Share additional resources. Consider giving the audience a summary of the key points or additional resources and readings that may aid in understanding the content. Reduce the handicap that comes from not being physically there with the audience.
12. Test first! Always try it out yourself to see how you look and sound before doing it for real. Adjust as necessary.
–By Ashraf Khan. Khan is a 2020 MBA candidate and dean's fellow at Maryland Smith. He is originally from Potomac, Md., and worked as a civil engineer in the Washington, D.C., area prior to pursuing an MBA with a concentration in marketing.