One more level of self-consciousness could tip people over the edge
Re “Don’t slouch, you’re on Zoom” (Business, Feb. 18): While Scott Kirsner’s recent Innovation Economy column is mostly positive about the new software that “nudges” you on how to sit and where to look and reminds you to smile more often, in my experience advising professionals on how to show up on Zoom, people don’t need a digital nanny watching and scoring every eyebrow raise, facial twitch, and slump in posture.
Adding unnecessary software that monitors our already Zoom-fatigued life, requiring one to multitask for it to work, could tip many over the edge. It already takes extra cognitive energy to pay attention in a virtual meeting. This app asks participants to take note, decipher the icons, and make adjustments in order to receive a higher score at the end of the meeting.
A quick online search will bring up plenty of advice on how to improve your lighting, camera angle, and background and how to sit in the frame. Even a small amount of attention to these factors will help you be engaging and appear trustworthy and credible. Who needs a digital critic when you just need to sit up and pay attention, just as we were taught in kindergarten?
A simple reminder: You’re being watched
My thanks to Scott Kirsner for “Don’t slouch, you’re on Zoom,” a review of the Sidekick app from Virtual Sapiens.
When using Zoom, you need to remember that other meeting participants can observe you quite closely. In gallery view, they can “pin” your thumbnail image, and your picture will be blown up to full size (it’s a version of speaker view, but with someone other than the speaker shown). Thus, at any moment, someone may be observing you closely.
You also need to visit gallery view for another reason: to review your own image. If you spend all your time in speaker view, you have no idea what your image looks like. You may not be centered, or you may be poorly lit or washed out by a bright light or window in the camera’s view. You can only know if you look.
Sidekick sounds great, but paying attention to the tips in Kirsner’s column can go a long way toward correcting these problems without having to purchase the app.
Lawrence J. Krakauer