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Graham Miller video conference coronavirus


Oh, my word. Actually oh your word. Where have you gone Des Lynam, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Apologies to Paul and Art but needs must.

Not for DL's sporting knowledge, you understand. Although that question he posed during the ‘98 World Cup is more pertinent than ever. "Shouldn't you be at work?" No, it's not what he said, it's the way that he said it.
And that's why Des should be part of the antiviral programme for the other epidemic that's hit the nation. Online business meetings. Video conferencing. We can't meet like we used to. So we now do it online. Remotely.

Zoom, Facebook Live, Hangouts whatever application you're using. By the way, why aren't Skype dominating at this time? They had the market all wrapped up, didn't they?
Even on mainstream telly, our experts are inviting us to study their nostrils or count their chins, sorry again, as they answer questions via their computer webcams. I don't know about you but I find it hard to listen to their knowledge when they look like they're speaking out of their... (That's not fair, Ed.)

Why do they do this? Because they fail to understand the basics of talking to camera. I've done it a few times over the past 40 years on BBC, Sky, ITN, where we used to get audiences of 10-million in the 90s on a Saturday night, and I now teach it to others professionally.But during this time of collective national responsibility, here for free, are 5-basic tips to help you look like a human again. So don't look away now as I used to say before the football results. Yup, I said it first.

First of all

Position your camera so that your eyes are roughly 1/3rd from the top of the screen. A little gap above your head works wonders. A Double Diamond rather than a double chin if you're old enough to remember that commercial?

And here at number 2 is arguably the most important tip of all.

Look at the camera. Simple isn't it? Don't talk to your image on the screen in front of you. You're not brushing your hair. Or you shouldn't be. The temptation is great I know but desist. If you don't it angles your face all wrong.

If your eyes are not looking directly at your audience, we the audience will think you're being shifty or worse have something to hide.

Tip 3?

Slow down. Stop talking at 100mph. We do this because we're nervous about the whole thing. We feel exposed and vulnerable during these live online meetings. So slow down and be as clear as possible to give everyone a chance to understand what it is you're saying.

Tip 4

4th tip is to stop worrying about what you look and sound like. I wish I had a pound for every time a client says how much they hate how they sound and are appalled at what they look like on video camera. I'd be almost as rich as Des.
My answer to these worries is simple if not a little harsh. It's this. I don't want to alarm you but how you look and how you sound is what your clients see and hear every time you meet or speak to them. It's you. And they expect you to be you. Please don't try and be someone else.

And lastly, tip number 5

Look behind you. You know what I mean. How many times have we focused on an interesting book, plant or strangely placed family heirloom right behind the speaker's left ear? It means, of course, we don't listen to a word they're saying. What we are doing is trying to work out their reading list or why anyone would have that thing in their living room.
Always remember we humans react first to what we see before what we hear. Actually, it's a good thought to remember before any type of meeting.

So there you have it

These online meetings and conferences are going to be more commonplace even after we've seen the back of you know what. Follow the tips, practice on your own to the camera on your phone or tablet and get used to it. And before you know you'll have Des's twinkle in the eye, the relaxed style and casual delivery that held the nation glued to the set. You and the video camera - it'll be the match of the day.

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