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Phoenix Public Speaking coaching and workshops

Archive for green screens

How to Reduce Zoom Fatigue

In a Zoom meeting, you’re always on, even if you’re only a silent attendee. Unlike an in-person meeting, you can’t hide out in the back row. There’s a loss of anonymity. Everyone is in the front row and it feels like everyone is watching you.

That visibility causes you to be on your guard and to adjust constantly. Sit up straight. Change that goofy expression on your face. Fix that wrinkle in your dress. No scratching your head. No nothing that might cast you in a less than favorable light. Oh, and be sure to make eye contact by looking at the camera lens, constantly.

The Cause of Zoom Fatigue

We spend an excessive amount of time looking at ourselves in a typical Zoom meeting. All this self-awareness is exhausting and I believe the primary cause of Zoom fatigue.

One solution would be to turn off your camera, but then we lose much of the human connection in an environment already starving for connection. Of course, turning off your camera makes it easy to lose focus on the meeting and start multi-tasking. And finally, the meeting presenter and others speaking can’t see and react to your facial expressions and body language. We’re simply not being good audience members when we turn off our cameras.

Hide Yourself

Here’s another option that I’ve recently adopted. Leave your camera on, but right-click on your image and chose the option of “hide myself.” That way, you aren’t seeing yourself constantly, but the speaker and others can still see you. Think about it this way: in an in-person meeting, you don’t carry a mirror around to look at yourself, but you are aware that others can see you. So, knowing that you can be seen by others, you act appropriately, but you don’t obsess over yourself.

Try hiding yourself on your next Zoom meeting. Be a good meeting participant and be good to yourself. Most of all, be human.

New Perspectives for 2021

Phoenix Public Speaking owner and founder Paul Barton presents new perspectives and strategies to move forward in 2021 at the Maricopa Corporate College Virtual Impact Breakfast. He covers tips on how to spot emerging opportunities, how to manage remote work teams, how to approach training, and how to manage employee activism.

Using Your Voice to Engage

Vocal expert Sharon Marrell sits down with Phoenix Public Speaking owner and founder Paul Barton to talk about how to use your voice in public speaking and business presentations to engage your audience.

For more information about Sharon, see her website and her LinkedIn profile.

Speak Well Without a Script

 

How do you speak in a structured, conversational way, stay on point and on time, and do so without a script? This video unlocks the simple but powerful secret that can supercharge your public speaking and business presentation skills. Give it a tumble and let us know what you think.

Hey, keep your pants on!

 

A lot of tips have been written for Zoom hosts and presenters, but what about participants in the audience. You can’t hide in the back row like you can at an in-person meeting. Watch this video for some participant pitfalls to avoid during a Zoom meeting.

Don’t blow your credibility

 

In communication, especially personal communication like public speaking, credibility is everything. Want to know the fastest way to blow your credibility as a public speaker or business presenter? This video will tell you the pitfalls to avoid when making presentations.

You can drag and drop in Zoom

 

Did you know that you can drag and drop in Zoom? Do you know why, as a business presenter, you’d want to? This tip will help you to better connect with your audience on Zoom.

Making Public Speaking Fun, Less Scary

Can public speaking be fun? How can you conquer public speaking fear? Should you use a green screen when presenting on Zoom? What role does storytelling play in public speaking? What are common mistakes to avoid? These and other questions are answered in the lively podcast interview I did with Book Marketing Mentors recently.

Book Marketing Mentors is a first-rate podcast and I am very thankful that Susan Friedman, CSP, asked me to join as this week’s guest expert. I’ve been a huge fan of Susan and her podcast since it began about four years ago. I always get a few actionable tips off of every episode. So, this time, I was the one giving tips.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

LISTEN NOW

 

Oh, and you can also download a PDF transcript of the entire podcast. Hey, it makes great bedtime reading! LOL

DOWNLOAD THE TRANSCRIPT

 

Equipment to Look and Sound Your Best to Engage a Virtual Audience

By Paul Barton
Principal Consultant

Lights, camera, action! If you’re going to present frequently in a virtual world, you need to look and sound your best to be an engaging speaker. That may require an equipment upgrade to get the right look and sound.

When the COVID-19 virus hit and the lockdowns began, like most everyone, I had to pivot quickly. I had been a public speaking coach on the move. With my rolling computer bag and MacBook Pro laptop, I went from client to client, from Starbucks to Starbucks. When my home office suddenly became my sole place of business, I tried several “do it yourself” solutions to look and sound professional. I experimented with lighting, green screens, and the built-in equipment, but I just couldn’t get the quality I needed to be an effective presenter.

Eventually, I decided to make the investment to upgrade my equipment. I wanted high-quality but budget-friendly equipment. And once I made the switch, it became one of those decisions where I thought, “Why didn’t I do this before?”

I have since qualified as an eSpeakers Certified Virtual Presenter and I’m now fully prepared to present high-quality virtual workshops for corporate teams or virtual conferences.

The following are the equipment choices I made for a total of $347. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no one is compensating me in any way for these endorsements.

> Lighting: After consulting with my professional photographer friend, Patrick Rapps, I chose the Neewer Ring Light. It has a dimmer control that adjusts from 1% to 100% and it puts off very little heat. It does not come with a stand, but as a speaker and musician, I had an extra mic stand. It is now mounted so that it is shining head-on at me. My Neewer also has come in handy for casual family photos elsewhere in the house. Cost: $66.

> Camera: The built-in FaceTime HD camera on my iMac just wasn’t cutting it. I chose the highly recommended C922x Pro Stream Webcam, a full 1080p HR camera. It clips on top of my iMac and also can be mounted in a wide variety of places. It has built-in light correction and a 5-foot cable, so it’s versatile. It also has built-in microphones that are better than the iMac built-in microphones, but not as good as my next choice. Cost: $151.

> Microphone: The webcam mic was better than the iMac built-in, but not nearly as good as my Blue Yeti. You can hear the difference between the built-in mic and the Blue Yeti. The Blue Yeti has settings for cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. That makes it good for Zoom meetings, podcasts, and even recording my guitar for those random “public speaking blues” songs I post on my Instagram occasionally. The Blue Yeti also has a volume control, a mute button, and zero-latency headphone output. Cost: $130.

So, those are the equipment choices I made. I encourage you to shop around and discover what works best for you. And when you find the right fit, you’ll be well on your way to being a virtual business presenter that can turn heads, win hearts, and get results.

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Pros and Cons of Green Screen Background

How to Blur Your Virtual Background for a More Realistic Look

Pros and Cons of Green Screen vs. Authentic Backgrounds

By Paul Barton
Principal Consultant

The great Zoom meeting debate is on – green screen vs. real background. What say you? Which do you prefer? If you’re not sure, here are some things to consider that will lead you to the answer that’s best suited for your presentation.

Green Screen Do’s and Don’ts

Green screen for Zoom meetings

My $7 “green screen”

Green screens can provide a layer of privacy if you don’t have an attractive home office and they can be professional looking when done correctly. But if you want to look professional, ditch the unrealistic and distracting views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the fun but silly palm trees blowing in the wind. Instead, go with a simple background, such as a solid color with your company logo or an uncluttered photo.

Canva or Snappa offer Zoom templates that you can easily customize. You can slightly blur your photo for a more realistic look. If you use the Zoom built-in virtual background without an actual green screen behind you, your audience will likely see your head warp as you move.

I know some folks who painted an entire wall green or purchased green screen backdrops. These solutions work well and are a good choices if you’re using them enough to warrant the time and expense. However, there are less expensive options. I set up a simple green screen in my home office using an appropriately colored green blanket I bought at Walmart for $7. Then I created a solid-colored Zoom background with my company logo for meetings I was hosting and a solid colored non-logo background for meetings where I was a participant.

Although I was able to get my green screen to look good, I prefer my actual bookshelf background for most business situations.

Actual Background Do’s and Don’ts

Bookshelf background for Zoom

Note empty space for head

A natural background allows you to show your audience a bit of your personality. And, of course, it’s also more authentic and less pretentious.

If you go with a real background, make sure it is framed correctly on your webcam, free from clutter, and lit properly. A well-placed book and a houseplant can add a nice touch to the ambiance of your presentation. However, make sure the area behind your head is empty so you don’t have knickknacks or plants appearing to grow out of your head.

In addition to my bookshelf, I also had a large foam board logo printed at OfficeMax and hung it on a blank wall for presentations that I deliver from a standing position. This is what I use to record my online courses and marketing videos.

The Bottom Line on Zoom Backgrounds

As Zoom meetings continue to be the way we do business meetings, conferences and even networking events, we’ll continue to weigh the pros and cons of virtual backgrounds and the actual backgrounds. Whichever option you choose, make sure your background isn’t distracting. As always, you are the star of your presentation, not your background or technology.

The bottom line is this: Choose the background option that will best connect with your audience. A virtual conference audience with hundreds of participants may respond best to a presenter that stands out with a professional-looking green screen background. However, a 1-on-1 coaching client or a small group may engage more with a presenter that has a more personal background.

As with all effective communication strategies, let the audience guide you to success.

 

RELATED POSTS

Zoom Dos and Don’ts

5 Tips to Make You a Better Videoconference Presenter

5 Tips to Conduct a Virtual Meeting

How to Blur Your Virtual Background for a More Realistic Look