Does Seeing Up Your Nose Really Matter on Zoom?

During the week I posted on Linkedin saying the Zoom honeymoon was over. That...

Poor framing - like a low shot looking up your nose - doesn't do you any favours now.

I got a great question from that post that's worth unpacking for you.

S asked...

'I sent a tip of the day last week explaining the zoom filter- and how using it can make you look a little more beautiful and less tired.

I received an email from someone (feedback always gratefully received) stating they were saddened I felt the need to tell people to improve their appearance to be more successful. particularly saddened I was aiming this at women -although interestingly there was no mention that it was aimed at women in the email - so that was an assumption.

Personally, I know I perform better when I feel more confident in my appearance - I do my hair and make-up just for me.

Nobody should be judged on their appearance - but here we are talking about angles and lighting.

Why does it matter if you can see up my nose in a dark corner if I'm doing a good job?'

 

I'll offer 2 reasons here

Clarity and Respect.


Clarity of message is important.

Anything that detracts from your message runs counter to the reason we send business communications in the first place.

Removing distractions that give a viewer a chance to drift away from your message - in a commercial setting - makes sense. It's so hard to get attention, to begin with, so do what we can to keep it.

Conventional framing, taking off jingle-jangle jewellery, slicking back a fringe that needs continual flicking, not clicking your pen while speaking: these are disciplines that from broadcast TV - and industry that worked it out decades ago.

 

The other reason for putting your camera to eye level is respect.

A good rule of thumb I use is that if you are not sure what to do when presenting on video, ask, would the same thing be ok in real life?

If you strode up to someone sitting at the coffee shop and leaned over them and talked at them, that's not ok. It's uncomfortable. There's a power imbalance.

We either both sit or we both stand. As humans, we communicate eye to eye. Eye-level to eye level.

Doing a zoom call from your laptop on your desk - where the shot is looking up your nose - is usually driven by convenience. Your convenience. What this says is that my convenience is more important than your comfort. Not a great message.

So yes, video/virtual is all still relatively new and we are finding our feet. It's now evolving into standard practice and with that will come expectations.

Still, I think the Zoom honeymoon is over. Time to lift our video/virtual game.

I'm as curious as the next person to find out how this all plays out.

 

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