Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Background check


Do you use Skype, Tinychat (tinychat.com), or something similar for video calls?

Do you make those calls from your office, perhaps a home office?

Do you ever look at the image YOU are sending?

If not, it might be a good idea.

A fellow with who I video chat has a huge window behind his desk. When the blinds are open and the sun's bright, his features can't be discerned. When the blinds are closed, the office is dark and it's hard to discern his features.

My home office, on the other hand, has the window on the north side so the sun shines on me from the side. I have a "sunny side" and a "less sunny side." When the sun's behind a cloud or over the horizon, I have a light that illuminates my bearded face.

But, because it IS a "home office," the background is cluttered with non-business "stuff." I suppose I should move my BCI and Harris Institute certificates to the wall behind me, but they are big and would keep me from opening my closet door. I also could place my several clocks on the wall behind me, but then I'd have to spin around every time I wanted to see what time it is in Israel or California or …

Since I don't often have video chats with clients, I am not overly concerned about the background, although lighting and sound quality are important. (I have a Hercules camera with built-in microphone that apparently lacks decent pick-up power; people complain I cannot easily be heard. The Spouse also has a Hercules camera, but hers has an external mic so she is heard.)

As with all other things "risk management," it is well worthwhile to check how things will appear to someone else.

Is the camera focused (if it even HAS a focus mechanism)?

Does the microphone capture your voice without you having to shout?

Is the other party's voice loud enough through the computers internal speakers; what about external speakers.

It's like a car.

The gas tank if full.

But when you jump in to go someplace you find a tire is flat.

If you have a fully-inflated spare and the time, you can replace the flat with the spare.

Too many "if"s for a seasoned risk management practitioner.

Those "if"s could have been avoided by a little pre-trip inspection.

The same holds for video conferencing.

A little pre-conference check will go a long way to giving a professional appearance.

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