The Zoom ProtocolFeatured

Hey super squirrels!My name is Gigi Rodgers and I’m the Director of Doodling at Puck’n Khaos and the Content Marketing “Chop Shop” Chief over at The Puck’n Studio.I’ve been creating videos for brands, companies, and my personal YouTube, for over five years, covering everything from production to video editing in post. And it’s because of this experience that I know a lot of the ins & outs of what it takes to look and sound good on video - even if you have nothing but your mobile phone to record yourself with.During Covid, the whole world is getting used to doing Zoom or Google Meetup calls - and dare I say it - many are having a rough time with it. For example, right before Trevor Noah started the Zoom call interview with Jon Stewart, you heard a little banter between the two. Trevor advised Jon to look at the camera lens of his computer - and not the screen - when he was talking or responding to Trevor’s questions.Jon’s response:“I’ve done 13 interviews...and NO ONE has told me that! Why didn’t anyone tell me I was doing this wrong?! Thanks man!”So in that same vein, and after hearing so many horror stories about Zoom Call “fails” (there are so many…), I’m going to be your Trevor Noah and give you some tips on how to crush your video web calls. I like to call this the “Zoom Call Protocol”.Number 1 - Webcam EtiquetteThese days, no one is wearing pants - or they’re just wearing their pajamas.All good!Though we - your colleagues or clients on the web call - don’t need to know that.So, if at any time you need to get up from your seat, mute yourself AND turn off the camera.When you get settled back into your seat, unmute yourself and turn your camera back on.Number 2: The PrepIf you have to give a presentation from your computer - do the prep beforehand.In other words, you shouldn’t be trying to find the document, and set up the document, while you’re on the call.Why? It sucks up precious time. You may not remember exactly where you stored the photo, so you may go through a number of files & folders to get to it. And lastly, you don’t want to show everyone your personal filing system - or how you name files and folders. That can be a little too revealing.Do yourself a favor and separate your one tab from the other 30 you have open on your desktop. If you don’t need ‘em for the presentation, minimize them down to your dock.Keeping them up is a distraction - for you. And heaven forbid you accidentally click on a tab that is NSFW (Not Safe For Work).Ergo, keep open your solo tab with all the information you need.Have the slide deck ready to go.Have the video queued up.Have that pdf already open.And turn off your Slack notifications.Number 3: Eye to EyeSit your computer on top of boxes, or books, so the camera and you are at eye level. Your computer can sit a little bit above eye level - just slightly - so it’ll raise your chin.Raising your chin a tiny bit higher keeps you from showing any extra chinnage - which is a word I just made up. Lol!People normally have their computer looking up their nose when on a web call.Let’s not do that to your audience anymore.And while we’re on the topic - your head doesn’t need to cover the whole screen on these calls.Meaning, sit back a little.Be about arms length away from your keyboard - where your hands can still reach the keyboard, if need be.Number 4: LightingTo make this super simple for yourself, whenever possible, sit in front of a window while on a call. It’ll pretty much light you evenly across your whole face and body.Though if the light is coming in too bright - place a white sheet over the window. Doing that produces a soft light across you, which is the most flattering kind.Number 5 - Hair & MakeupLet me caveat this section by saying that these tips aren’t for everyone.If you’re someone who is comfortable with your appearance, and don’t feel the need to change your look for anyone, then you can skip over this part.Though if you’d like to “glow up” up a bit, and a little hair and makeup makes you feel more confident, then here are some tips for you to keep in mind.Let’s talk about a quickie makeover that would take you less than 15(ish) minutes to do.Step 1: Glasses have a tendency to catch the glare of your light source or computer screen.Therefore...goodbye glasses.Hello contact lenses.Step 2: Get rid of the shine on your face, which a quick face wash can do. If you’re face is clean, but there’s still a little shine afterwards - you can either use a mattifying primer, a moisturizing face tint, OR for those of us who don’t mind a little makeup application - I applied Fenty’s Foundation and Laura Mercier’s Loose Setting Powder.Shine gone & my base is set.Cool.Step 3: Now it’s on to:- filling in the eyebrows- applying mascara- Add gloss- and dealer’s choice, on some blushThis will take you five minutes, TOTAL, to do.And it’s 1000% up to you on how much, or how little, you want to apply.Step 4: If you want to wear jewelry, and not forget about it, keep a pair of hoop earrings or studs next to your computer, in a little dish.They’re in your line of sight at the computer, and you can pop them on in seconds.Step 5: For hair - you need to have your “Go To Less Than 5 Minutes Style”.And this’ll be dependent on your hair type.For some of you, it may be a side braid.Maybe it’s a headwrap (which is my go to).Maybe it’s a messy bob.Or maybe it’s a cute protective style.Go onto Pinterest, type in your hair length or the type of hair you have, and see what pops up. And then, from now on, that’s your webcam hairstyle. Locked in!Number 6: The Fashion PoliceThese days - if you’re not wearing a tee, tank, or sweatshirt - you’re the outlier.But if you want to look just a dash more professional, from the waist up, without going all out - here’s a super simple (and fast) way to upgrade your style. Add a jacket or open sweater to your outfit.Different styles & colors of jackets or sweaters in your closet, can transform your look from “comfortable” to “business casual” in seconds.Number 7: The Mug TrickIf you’re using your phone to do a video call - instead of holding your camera the whole time (which tires out your arm) - grab a mug.If you have one of these pop tops in the back of your phone like I do, pop it out half way and place it on the edge of the mug.Position it accordingly on your stack of books, or boxes.Center yourself in the frame with just a little bit of space above your head.And now, you're hands-free for your mobile video call. Number 8: Final RemindersOne:Make sure to take a cloth - a microfiber cloth would be best - and clean your lens before jumping on a call.Two:Whenever possible look at the camera lens when you’re talking, and not your screen, where everyone's faces are.If it makes it easier, draw eyes and tape them around the camera so it gives you something to lock onto.And that’s the end of this Zoom Call Protocol, ladies!I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any questions, feel free to message me or leave a comment below.
Great article, thanks for sharing Gigi! I love the "chinnage" that is STORY OF MY LIFE haha
No worries! This was a bit of a hefty read, so glad it entertained you!And "chinnage" is the story of at least ONE video we've all shot.
This is super useful! thanks for taking the time to put this together
My pleasure. It's my thing, lol!
Amazing tips! So much appreciated. I hope your new term "chinnage" makes it into the dictionary or medical dictionary one day.
Love this! To reduce chinnage and tired arm when joining video calls from my phone or tablet, I got one of these and it has been a life-changer!
A stand holder! Nice!I've seen those, with the table clamp too. Yeah - that is a useful tool!And I gotta say, I love how everyone is using the word "chinnage" now. 🤣
I LOVE this. super helpful, thank you! Would you be okay if I added your article to my website ( that has career development tips for recent grads? It would definitely put you as the author and link to your website or linkedin. If you want to keep it within this community, totally understand!
Sure! Go for it. DM me if you need anything. 😉
Great tips!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I noticed the glare from my glasses; maybe should try contacts more often.
The only way I can get rid of the glare from my glasses is if I sit in a well lit room (lit up by sunlight), adjacent to the window. And kind of distant from the window so I don't get the window reflecting off my glasses.There's also lighting you can put overhead, but...I don't got time for that. LOL!So yeah, I'm usually a contacts girl.
Thank you! My other secret tip is to keep a big, beautiful scarf, ideally a pashmina on hand, in case you accidentally lost track of time before you needed to make your wardrobe camera ready... You can cover up your bathrobe in a pinch....I mean, not that I'd ever do that or anything.
Squirrel, just toss your bathrobe off and then wrap the scarf around you. Is it that cold in your place? 🤣But bathrobes are so freakin' comfy....SO - APPROVED!!!
you are awesome!
I try. 😏👾
This is such a great post!! So many great tips and things to remember! Lots of great pieces to share with the college students I work with too as they prepare for virtual interviewing. Do you mind if I share in presentations I give to classes? I'll be sure to cite your post!
I'm so glad you like this, and that's so dope to hear about your students.As far as sharing it - Sure! Go for it!