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October 15, 2020

Tips on Personal & Corporate Branding, Virtually

Tony Treadway

The pandemic has made virtual meeting the norm, and we need a lot of work in sprucing up our image. Whether it’s your corporate brand or your own image as a professional, there are some simple things that you can do to look more like a pro.

The endless virtual landscapes within the grid of personalities inside the room of every virtual meeting is a bit maddening. It’s something we’ve never dealt with before. From screaming kids and barking dogs, weird camera angles and the hollow sound can be improved to reflect your own personal commitment to truly engage in a conversation. Here are some quick tips that can elevate your brand:

  1. Please be on the Virtual Meeting Link at least 5-10 minutes before the call to assure everything is working and aligned with testing of mikes and cameras. Due to the variety of meeting software you will encounter, give yourself time to navigate and familiarize yourself with the interface. If you will be presenting a deck or document during the meeting, be sure you know how to navigate the deck to full screen show everyone can view it clearly. 
  • Make sure that you are well lit on your face with no windows or bright lights behind you. It’s annoying and easily avoidable. If you have an office space set it up as your movie set. One or two lamps positioned to put your face in the best possible light and without a window as a backdrop are the first things to do in setting your virtual environment.
  • Be sure that the camera of your laptop or other device is at your eye level. If you have a laptop, sit it on some books to get the laptop camera up so that if you are on camera you are looking directly at the camera instead of looking down. If you are concerned about a double chin your neck wrinkles, try elevating the camera slightly higher than eye level-but not too much.
Use branded virtual backgrounds for external and internal meetings.
Custom branded virtual backgrounds are a great way to identify yourself in a group meeting and give reference for your brand.
  • Some companies are providing logoed backgrounds for their staff who’ll be on a call with a client. Remember these backgrounds are a rudimentary chroma key used by TV station weathermen and women for decades. Good lighting on your face is vital the background appears. Also, if you are using an electronic background avoid a lot of head or hand movement that exaggerates the weird ghosting effect that frequently occurs. A better alternative might be to strategically place your products or something with your company logo in the background rather than rely on one that is electronic.
  • As for your background, think about the message you wish communicate and who you are as a person. Avoid anything that distracts from the discussion or possible offends the viewer. You might be proud of that 10-point buck you killed or even the fact that you are a big fan of your college or professional team. Not everyone will be.
  • Remember to sit upright during the presentation and engaged. Avoid catching up on e-mails or other distractions and be engaged in the conversation even if some else is speaking. If they are part of your corporate team, nod when they are making any important point in the presentation to demonstrate that you are engaged.
Losing track of your mute button has become a common meme these days…don’t be part of the punchline.
  • If you are not speaking, turn your mike off, but remember to turn it on before you speak. Leaving your mike on with the distinctive should of you hammering out an e-mail message during the meeting is a dead giveaway. So is your cell phone ringing. Turn it off.
  • I’m a big fan of video, but generally not during a virtual conference. There are so many pitfalls. The sound not working. Bandwidth problems on either end of the call. Instead, include a link after the call for the viewers to watch might be a better solution. I am a fan of an actual live demonstration on camera if that is possible, or at a minimum hold up the product that you are discussing to show its scale compared to your body.

Use these tips in making a good virtual impression is worth the effort. Do some practicing with a friend or fellow worker who can help navigate the best impression. Want to discuss other valuable tips in presenting in a virtual world? We’ll be happy to share some additional insights.