The (New) Rules of Engaging Virtual Meetings – Tip #2

by | Jul 14, 2020

A Series of Quick Tips for Success: Tip #2

Over the past few months, we’ve been relentless in attending “best practice” webinars, researching tips, strategies, exploring virtual platforms, and testing production methods in the pursuit of elevating the virtual meeting and training environment to unprecedented levels.

To pull of an engaging virtual meeting, there are indeed new rules, and in this series of posts, I’ll share some of our top insights we’ve found to crack the code on designing and running engaging virtual meetings. Today’s primary topic is about learning to stare down the camera

Tip #2: Look at the camera (not your audience)

This one is a real mind bender: If you are using a typical video conferencing platform, like Zoom or Teams, it can be really tempting—and really natural—to look at your audience. However, unless your camera lens is somehow positioned perfectly, you’re going to look awfully shifty to your virtual attendees. Instead, I want you to stare HOLES through the lens of your webcam or your studio camera. At our SPACE | 1335 Virtual Training Studio in Tempe, AZ, this is the #1 thing our producer, Sean, will reinforce to our newbie virtual on-camera talent. I know he’s personally said, “Hey Thiel, look at the camera, not your slides” about 900 times to me until the message took root, so I encourage you to put in some reps to ingrain this habit. Since you may not have the luxury of a broadcast-quality virtual studio on the daily, one of the ways I’ve ingrained this camera-seeking habit without making our production team wait for me to magically gain skill is to practice staring directly at my web cam on low-stakes video conferences as well; especially when I’m speaking. Similar to tip one, cut a few recordings of you staring holes through your webcam and then staring at your audience and you’ll immediately notice the difference. Believe me, it won’t take long until you’ve grooved this habit and you’ll start looking like a real pro.
That’s your Virtual Tip O’ the Day!

About the Author

Michael Thiel is the Executive Vice President and lead Imaginator at automätik, an organization dedicated to “Eradicating boring training from the face of the Earth.” He is a passionate advocate for the development of engaging learners via effective presentation and instructional design. With over a decade of experience with the integration of educational technologies in the corporate learning and events space, Michael has been featured as a lead instructional designer, guest speaker, and Facilitator with some of the largest and most trusted brands in the world, including BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen, Kia, Honda, and the Sub-Zero group (to name a few). You can find more articles from Michael at or visit the automätik YouTube channel.