So, we can meet again at the moment and I’m enjoying the opportunity to do just that, and I still want people to look into my eyes but not in a creepy way!

I’m also enjoying the convenience with which I can catch up on line with people, so Zoom, Teams and Remo are all here to stay as far as I’m concerned, to fulfil part of my networking activities.

On line isn’t real and comes with its own code and etiquette. When there are a lot of people in “the room”, then it’s tough to have a conversation and that’s where Remo and the breakout room facility in Zoom and Teams have their place.

Yet even in a room of four, five or six, it’s sometimes hard to fully engage and the usual “in person” body language of easily seeing who comments are being directed at can be hard to fathom. Ideally we’d address our comments to everyone at the same time by looking directly at everyone at the same time. We engage better when we get and give eye contact – but that’s hard to do. We naturally want to look at the person’s eyes on the screen, but that can look like this.

Look into my eyes

I’m looking at the screen in an awkward set up and the camera that is looking at me is nowhere near where I’m looking.

I can move my camera to above my screen and engage a little better. At least here, you can believe I’m looking vaguely in your direction as the camera is laterally if not vertically aligned to where I’m looking. But I’m still not giving eye contact.

Look into my eyes

Now, if I look at the camera, this is what you see, better perhaps but still a little awkward and looks forced, plus I still need to look at the camera and not you.

Look into my eyes

So, how did I fix this?

One of the advantages of kids leaving home is that they leave lots of stuff behind. My son left loads of Meccano, so I made this

Look into my eyes

So now I can hang my camera in front of my screen like this

Look into my eyes

Which makes all the difference. And now I can look you in the eyes like this.

Look into my eyes

And while I’m actually looking at your eyes, I’m pretty close to looking in the camera, so it looks a lot more real and engaging. I did need to experiment with the height of the camera and found that it looks most natural near to the top of the screen, ideally about where people’s foreheads are.

It’s not real contact, but it is a step closer!

Andy from Photohello is a Visual Alchemist bringing you media in many forms to help you raise your marketing game: andy@photohello.co.uk

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