Everyone is now on Zoom. My five year old son is taking kindergarten classes there too.
You have to wonder though if there is a better way to show up in the 1920 x 1080 px square you are given. Whether it is a private 1 to 1 meeting or a virtual conference where you need to stand out (especially if you are a first-timer), please know there is a better alternative to bookcases in the background.
Watch this video to see these ways in action.
#1 Share your Screen with Permission or Not
Whoever started the meeting is the host. That means they have control over what you can do no matter if know they what is possible or not. Sometimes it can take seconds for someone to figure out how to give someone else permission to be co-host to share their screen. In other cases, you have to walk someone through the process. If it’s a larger meeting with 50+ participants waiting, the likelihood of you getting permission is nil or next to none. You can learn how to share your screen if you create a desktop screen share scene in your virtual camera software.
#2 Show a Website as a Virtual Background
If you are proud of your company website, you should be able to display it proudly behind you as you encounter discussions that would require it. If your company has 100 web pages in its website, you have 100 virtual backgrounds. If you have a web page for a Matterport listing, you can use that as your virtual background.
#3 Add a Digital Whiteboard as a Virtual Background
What you say I might not understand. If I can summarize your thoughts in a back of the napkin approach or flip chart-like scene, it minimizes the likelihood we misunderstood one another moving forward. Get started by adding a desktop screen share scene in your virtual camera and activate a digital whiteboard overlay like this.
#4 Add Songs and Sound Effects
Are there tunes, songs, or sounds that if you heard them, it would make you feel a special kind of way? Action adventure movies and broadcast radio does this really well. If you have a distinct sounds you want to add during your Zoom meetings, consider creating an audio brand and investing in a sound board. This will allow you to play these sounds alongside your microphone as an input source in the audio setting of Zoom.
#5 Show a Slide Presentation as a Virtual Background
I dislike slide presentations although they are a necessary evil when introducing the basics. They help create structure to learning new things and can act as a summary to review after commentary is made. What you see most of the time is someone activating screen share mode and the window to view the slides is cut off to make room for the person to show up in a little square. Instead, activate your virtual camera with your presentation slides open and choose where in the slides you want to show up with a camera input feed as large or small as you want.
Try giving this presentation by expanding the view and recording your best presentation using my PowerPoint slides.
#6 Replace Yourself with a Pre-Recorded Video
Are you the host and need a way to countdown the meeting? Are you sick of having to request permission to share your screen, opening up a YouTube video, and relying upon YouTube to play it? Stop the madness by adding the video as a scene inside of your virtual camera software. Then add a button to your stream deck to be the button to play the video. When it’s time to play the video, all you do is press a button. Whallah!
#7 Add a Video as a Virtual Background
Extra milers, listen up. If your brand has already produced high-quality digital videos for you to use on your website or on your blog, it would be insane not to use them inside of your virtual camera. Or if you want to customize that video more, upload it to Canva and create a virtual background video with your personal contact information at the bottom. Upload your newly created video in Canva into your virtual camera scene. Add to stream deck. Push-button. Boom. Now you can capture someone’s attention quickly. Videos can loop however it’s recommended to keep videos short to grab attention and stop to keep the focus on what you are saying.
#8 Participant Chat Templates
A productivity-focused value proposition your company should be offering you is participant chat templates. You have templates for a business card, presentations, and email. Participant chat templates save everyone time typing the same text, websites, and greetings, which can be modified before copy/pasting and clicking send.