Project Management

Smile, You’re on Camera!

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I’ve been working remotely almost exclusively for the last three years, and it was a significant part of how I worked before then. So, I didn’t have as big an adjustment when the COVID-19 crisis hit and we were all forced to adapt to a more remote way of working.

But I did notice that the increase in video calling that occurred led to a few “What were you thinking?” moments with some of the people I was speaking to, so it seemed like a good topic for an article here.

As an extreme example, there was a news story in the United States recently about someone who was interviewed on TV with what was considered to be an inappropriate (or at least politically charged) coffee mug visible in the background. None of the news stories focused on what it was the interview was about in the first place, just on the mug.

Most of us don’t have to deal with that, but we do have to consider the message we are sending—and a little preparation goes a long way.

Create your space
The most obvious thing to consider is the space you are videoconferencing from. For most people, the webcam you are using is directly in front of you, so think about what is immediately behind you and also in shot.

If it’s book shelves, then what are the books that people can see? Some of them may not have readable titles, but some of them might, so are they …

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I hate music, especially when it's played.

- Jimmy Durante