If you are one of those people who has effortlessly transitioned into a virtual world, then you can stop reading now. You have already conquered the intricacies and technological challenges of our suddenly all-virtual on camera world.
However if, like me, you find new technology daunting, you will appreciate what I have to say: I was born in 1964 which puts me on the cusp of Boomers and Generation X. Born between 1946 and 1964, Boomers are the demographic cohort following the silent generation and preceding Generation X. The name Boomers originated from the baby boom that took place after World-War11. It is estimated that around 76 million Americans were born during this era.
In the last few weeks, whatever your age and stage, and whether your are a doctor ,a teacher, a supply chain manager, or a professional speaker, you have had to master the ability to communicate effectively in a virtual world. And in most cases, you have had to do it single-handed. Throwing up your hands and outsourcing the task to the IT professional you had on speed dial is not an option. So here are some key things we can all do to ensure we remain relevant in this increasingly virtual and on-camera world.
GET OVER THE FEAR AND DISCOMFORT
As John McCain wrote, “courage is not the absence of fear, it is the taking of action despite the fear”.
While I have been in front of the camera for a large part of my adult life, I was used to having a crew handle the technicalities like camera and sound. Over the last few weeks, I have had to be my own camera person, lighting technician and sound engineer. So my suggestion is to identify exactly what technology you need to be efficient. In my case I have had to buy a HD computer camera, professional lighting and a green screen that allows you to key in a virtual background. If you have a Mac you don’t need the green screen.
FIND A PATIENT TUTOR
This can come in the form of your teenage niece or nephew your college kid or a tech savvy friend. I find domestic partners tend to get irritated with their less capable significant others, so choose someone who you can be very relaxed with and who has a good sense of humor.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE
If you do find yourself experiencing a technical issue, just relax, explain what is going on, and carry on.
If you are transparent and don’t look flustered, you will come across as someone who handles difficulties well.
PLAY WITH IT
Spend time playing and practicing with the technology. For example set up Zoom calls with your college friends for a chat, and try to iron out glitches then.
IF YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE YOU ARE A PRO AT THIS
Make sure you are looking in to the camera when you speak.
Mute when you aren’t speaking and don’t forget to unmute when you do talk.
As I shared in my last newsletter, Everyone’s on TV, be super aware of lighting: Make sure you have light in front of you to prevent you looking like a silhouette.