The Importance of a proper Zoom / Google hangout Background.

As Covid-19 hit the shores of the Costa Del Sol, we have all experienced a very turbulent period. One of the largest changes to our lives has been the changes to working from home. Now suddenly, we as teachers, have voluntary or involuntary being forced to invite students and co-workers inside our homes. Most of us only see each other at MIUC and if we meet our colleagues it is normally at a bar or restaurant. These new times have changed that and I for one have enjoyed peaking behind my colleagues to see how they live. I guess its normal human nature. Personally, I have used my youngest son bedroom as my office, so people might have seen hulk and superman posters and figures in the background. One can only wonder what they are thinking.

Why is the background important in a video call?

Zoom or google hangout meetings are now the norm. Numbers indicate that Zoom has exploded from 10. million users to 300 million users in the space of 4 months. If this new way of meeting is going to be the norm, there is a new opportunity to create brand awareness. Branded backgrounds or even virtual background.

Normally when we have meeting it will take place in the office of our business. So any visitor is exposed to your brand by default. Now that we are at home the entire brand and its key touchpoints are missing. So how do you set up a home office background that does not become a distraction for the people attending the meeting.

How to get the perfect space for a virtual meeting?

Our homes are not as neatly organized as we would like. In my case having Superman and Hulk in the background is not the ideal setup to sell oneself as being professional and trustworthy. But now you can add a virtual background. There are now programs developed that will cut you out and insert any background behind you. So suddenly we can have meetings on the beach in the Bahamas or have the backdrop of New York behind you.

Things to remember when setting up your personal background. You need proper lighting. You need to be in a very good lit room, so you create a contrast between yourself and the background. You want to reduce the distracting halo-effect that you have probably noticed in the past meetings. Avoid having windows at your back so you do not present a dark silhouette.

It is also important to remain stationary. Anytime your webcam sees movement (color changes), it tries to adjust the lens creating an effect. Also avoid having people walk behind or around you. I know exceedingly difficult for us who have curious toddlers running around. Especially if you are using his/her room!!

The beauty of seeing speakers in their ‘natural environment’

There is something refreshing seeing ministers and experts on tv giving their opinion in the backdrop of their kitchens or kids rooms etc. It gives a human aspect we normally don’t see. We forget most of these people we see in the news have messy kitchens and a dirty kids’ room. I am personally really enjoying this “naïve” period, because if the pandemic stays and working remotely becomes the norm it will not be long before we have fully fledged branded virtual backgrounds installed for our meetings. So let us enjoy the hulks and superman posters while we still can.