Pitch Like a Pro: Making Your Zoom Meetings Look and Sound Their Best
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Follow these tips to put your best face forward in any remote call or presentation
An important revelation of the last year is that sales no longer has to be an “in-person” activity. While remote sales/meetings can be limited in the scope of real human interactions, they’ve also presented a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs to present to wider audiences in a shorter amount of time sans travel budgets or jet lag.
If people are failing, they look inept. If people are succeeding, they look strong and good and competent. That's the 'halo effect.' Your first impression of a thing sets up your subsequent beliefs. If the company looks inept to you, you may assume everything else they do is inept. – Daniel Kahneman
Turn on your computer’s Do Not Disturb settings for the duration of your call. There’s no need to be distracted by the chimes from a text thread or Slack/email notifications.
Choose flattering camera angles in a well-lit location: optimal camera angles are typically straight on or from a slightly downward angle. For lighting, a key light (the brightest light source in the room) or daylight from a window behind your camera/computer screen will help to illuminate your face. Never Zoom in a dark room or with a bright light/window behind your back. A ring light that attaches to your laptop or set up behind your computer screen is the optimal solution.
Use Bluetooth headphones with a microphone to quickly improve the quality of your audio, ie. Apple Airpod Pros or Klipsh T5II.
Be aware of what’s behind you and in the camera’s view, or use a virtual background. Find a clean uncluttered space to set up in front of that won’t distract your audience from focusing on you. Zoom has a native chroma key, it works significantly better with a homogenous background or green screen. You can use a photo background kit and paper roll for something more subtle.
Optimize/customize your Zoom settings for audio and video. Zoom offers native noise suppression and “touch up my appearance” options that can be adjusted for your specific environment. You can also increase your microphone volume and speakers for more/less sensitivity and output. If background noise (dogs, family members, street noise) is an issue for you, there are also non-native background suppression apps available. One is www.krisp.ai, it works well specifically with your computer microphone.
Upload a profile photo or company logo to make yourself easily identifiable and keep “Always display participant’s name on their videos.” checked in Settings > Video so everyone can see the names of the people they’re speaking with.
With a free Zoom account, your meetings will be limited to 40 minutes – unless someone else in the meeting has a Pro account. Being cut-off can be embarrassing! Spend a little money to upgrade to a Pro account if you're hosting most of your meetings.
Brand your company's Zoom landing page and meeting videos. Companies with 10 or more users can create a vanity url, yourcompany.zoom.us, a unique landing page for their team and brand their meeting videos with their logo https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201363233-Customizing-branding-settings-for-your-vanity-URL
Upgrade your audiovisual equipment:
External cameras will often provide a better picture quality and more realistic color representation. It also offers you the freedom to optimize your camera angle with a monitor mount or desk tripod. Make sure you purchase a camera that is an upgrade to what your laptop offers. Check out the Logitech Streamcam Plus for overall value or the Huddly Go if you want a high-quality camera with a wider viewing angle.
External microphones provide comparatively fantastic clarity and smoothness. The Shure MV5C and AKG Lyra are wonderful USB microphones with desk stands that have multiple adjustments and a place to plug in your headphones directly. The newer Shure MV7 (based on the studio standard Shure SM7B) can be connected via USB or through an XLR output to connect to an audio interface. You would also need a desk mic stand or boom arm for either of those. All three microphones also allow for audio return headphones, like the Sennheiser HD280’s, to be plugged into them directly.
External speakers, while headphones sound great, they can be a visual distraction. External computer speakers will provide superior return audio clarity.
Using an external audio interface will give you control over your speaker levels and microphone without having to adjust the Zoom settings. This also makes possible the use of XLR microphone and studio monitors, providing the highest level of sound quality. This is great for podcasts or if you want to sound like a professional broadcaster. Check out the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for a solid solution.
RECOMMENDED BLUETOOTH EARBUD HEADPHONES:
Good: Apple AirPods
Better: Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Earbuds
Best: Apple Airpod Pros
Good: Shure MV5C
Better: AKG Pro Audio Lyra USB-C
Best: Shure MV7 + Desktop Stand
Good: Logitech StreamCam (or Black)
Better: Huddly GO Video Conferencing Camera
Best: Huddly IQ with Travel Kit
RECOMMENDED COMPUTER SPEAKERS:
Good: Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Certified Speaker System
Better: Yamaha NX-50 Premium Computer Speakers
Best: Audioengine A5+ (Plus) Powered Speaker
RECOMMENDED LIGHTING & BACKGROUND:
Elgato Collapsible Green Screen
RECOMMENDED AUDIO INTERFACES:
Good Steinberg UR12
Better: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Best: Universal Audio Apollo Solo