Ohhh, we’ve all been there. The Zoom meeting with one person face-down over their keyboard, invisible. Someone sitting with their back to a window so you see them only in shadow. Or the person sitting three feet away from the camera, a wee head in the distance.
Thanks to COVID-19, Zoom calls, meetings and webinars have soared in popularity. After all, what’s not to like? They’re easy to use, universally accessible and free. That’s a great combo for easy communication perfect for our age.
Zoom is also perfect for ITAs for all those reasons and more. What a great way to host a virtual meeting with, say, two couples whose trip you are planning. Or with the key members of a destination wedding family, or members of a group you plan to escort.
If you want to appear at the top of your game, here are some tips:
- The right lighting is key. Walk around your home with your cellphone camera in selfie mode to test various lighting scenarios and see what works best for you. Avoid windows behind you (which will cast you in shadow), strong light on the side of your face (puts half your face in shadow) or overhead light (plain unflattering). In fact the most successful light is a table lamp placed behind your screen facing you. Drawing the curtains may make a positive difference.
- Get the camera to face you, which means raising your laptop on a pile of books. You want the lens slightly above eye level.
- Dress appropriately. White or black can be unflattering and harsh. Try for light colours.
- What’s the background? Your home office may be perfect but there are other great “dropped in” background options from Zoom, tourist boards and airlines to help set the mood.
- Try not to stare at yourself during the call. Keep your eye on the camera or your notes.
- Make talking point notes to yourself in huge font so that you can read them at a glance
- How do you sound? A high ceiling or bare walls may make your voice sound tinny or garbled. An earphone mic will cure that.
- Playing the ringleader If there are several people in the group, ask that they raise their hands if they have a question. To reduce background noise, request the group to mute their mics when not speaking.
There’s tons more including getting-started tips, personalized backgrounds and more at Zoom’s website.
Lynda Sinclair, CTM, is the Senior Vice-President – Leisure at Vision Travel, which has an ever-expanding and vibrant program for independent agents. With 35 years in the Canadian retail travel industry, Lynda “lives and breathes what goes on at the front line” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.