Zoom Call Hacks from a PR Pro

As the daily question of whether to bring folks back into office is a real deal for employers…and employees continue to enjoy dressing “business on top and party on the bottom,” it looks like video conferences will be in play for some time.

So whether you are in a standing weekly meeting with the boss, a new business pitch, or in a television interview, here are some reminders on things to focus on before you get in front of that computer camera.

(I actually sent this email to a client this week.)

We were fortunate enough to garner two stories around our lack of child abuse calls since March. We put forth two different interviewees. The Child Protection Center provides forensic interviews for children who have been sexually or physically abused or have witnessed horrific violence … the non-profit that sees more than 800 kids each year.)

Lisa, Randi,

Here are the clips from last night…you guys were great, and CPC was seen by more than120-thousand viewers.  Both longer stories aired three times each, and the shorter one with Lisa today hit today at 11 am.

Unfortunately, I don’t think ZOOM/Skype is going to go away any time soon…so here are some thoughts/tips for the next time:  These are small things…but when you are only on camera for 10 seconds…we need to make sure viewers focus on what you say, not what you look like.

  • Start with your phone.  Turn the camera toward yourself and walk around your house testing the light.  Look for it to fill your entire face.  Find a good spot, take a selfie, and move your computer to that location.
  • Computer placement is key.  Note the difference in where the camera is placed for Lisa and for Randi.  Immediately, my eye is drawn AWAY from what Lisa is saying and TO her ceiling fan and her ceiling beams (including the one coming directly out of her head).
  • Watch Randi’s eyes during the interview.  She is likely looking at the reporter on her split ZOOM screen and NOT at the camera at the top of the computer.  Easy, small tweak.  Maybe slide the reporter’s image to the very top of the computer…so you aren’t just looking directly into a weird, green dot.
  • Lighting:  Try to cast a light on both sides of your face.  See how Lisa’s window has chopped her face lengthwise? If you can’t face the window, try putting a lamp behind the computer.
  • Audio is also important:  Listen to the audio on your interviews.  Lisa is in a large room with a bad echo.  Randi is better…but both would sound super clean if you used air pods (hidden by your hair) and not the speaker through the computer. You would need to connect those to the computer and test them before you ZOOM for real. I am always available for a dry run before any interview for any reason.
  • No air pods?  Quick hack…put the computer close to the wall.  Hang clothes behind the computer or talk into the curtains (out of view of the camera obviously) it will absorb your voice.
  • To avoid shadows on your neck and make yourself look more flattering…set your laptop higher than just on a table or desk. Add a small file box or 10-15 inches of books and set the computer on top of those. You want to slightly look UP into the camera…that will allow your entire face to catch the light in the room.
  • Framing:  Randi’s face and head take up the perfect amount of room on the screen.  Lisa needs to scoot closer to the computer.  You can always test what it looks like before the interview by starting your own ZOOM meeting, frame yourself up, tilt the top of the laptop back and forth…then leave your own zoom meeting before the real one starts.
  • Not a ZOOM or Skype?  If you have to FaceTime off the phone…definitely use a tripod.  No tripod?  Set your phone pop socket inside a coffee cup to hold the phone still throughout the interview.
  • I do like that Lisa named herself on the zoom call…note that the bottom left of her screen says “Lisa Mizell/CPC” and not “grandma” (or whatever she uses when she ZOOMs with the grandkids).  Not sure if Randi did the same (it is covered with the station’s chyron), but something to think about moving forward.

Best regards,


So regardless of how long the uncertainty remains certain, and this new norm stays the norm, whether you are being interviewed for television, or just on the Brady Bunch ZOOM call with colleagues, take heed of these tips.

Robb YagminPSPR’s Robb Yagmin loves to pitch products and sling stories…it’s his jam.  His experience on the “other side” allows him to not only give real-life, critical information to get you through a media interview but also successfully weave a pointed message into a soundbite.  He’ll talk your ear off, but he writes in short sentences.  He is a loud talker and a futbal fiend. 

Check out www.pspublicrelations.com to learn more about his company and find out if he can hook you up.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *