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Forget Those Hokey, Fake Backgrounds on Zoom

By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications

If you’ve used Zoom lately, you’ve noticed the fake pools, sunsets and palm trees.  We’re all starting to envy the Pottery Barn-like kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms.  And don’t you just love those libraries full of books we know none of us have ever read, the coffee shops we all know are closed and mountain tops where I’m sure the internet connections are spotty or non-existent.  One of my personal favorites is that guy on the internet who’s selling “custom Zoom backgrounds for lawyers and law firms.”

We’re not kidding anyone.  We all see the flattened heads, strange things popping out of our shoulders, missing limbs and unnatural movements as the picture pixelates.

Like many of you, I find myself using Zoom every day, either in meetings or doing my presentations and CLE’s on crisis management.  If I weren’t concerned about outing my friends, acquaintances and clients, I’d love to show you my rogue’s gallery of bad Zoom calls featuring poor lighting, backlighting, incorrect angles and the dreaded lack of eye contact.

C’mon everybody – we can all see ourselves up there in the corner while the camera’s on.  Can’t you tell, yourself, just how awful and unprofessional we look?  And then we go and use one of those hokey Zoom images, making things even worse.

If you’re guilty of using Zoom incorrectly, then please, immediately read (or re-read) the article I wrote a few months ago on the proper use of videoconferencing, Tips for a Better Video Call (which, by the way, is probably the single most-read article ever posted on our blog).

Today, however, we offer you additional information about how to look good on those video calls.  Instead of ignoring what’s behind you – curate.  For advice on Best Practices in this regard, we turn to the real experts: the news people, talking heads and pundits who are now opining from the comfort of their homes, instead of rushing to the TV studios at 4:30 in the morning.  In this article from TVNewser, an industry publication, you can see for yourself why Al Roker, Gayle King and others look so darn great on TV.

As an example, here I am, webcasting live from my office at home (not).


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