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Tips for Zoom Teaching from Hotel Rooms

Don't let the road hold you back...

I needed to do a Zoom teaching for a big audience the other day, but I was on the road filming a project we were producing. Have you ever had that moment of panic? You don’t want to show your bed behind you, and honestly even nice hotel rooms don’t make great backgrounds. And the lighting? Forget it. I did one in Florida a few months ago on a high floor at a hotel. A lightening storm came up during my talk and there were giant lightening bolts flashing right outside my window. To the viewers it must have looked like I was in a haunted house.

Because of issues like that, in the past I would do my best to reschedule until I was back in the office or could get to an office on the road. But in the age of COVID-19, we have to be quicker on our feet. So for my most recent Zoom teaching, here’s what I did:

 – I wanted to get the laptop camera at eye level, so I got the hotel ice bucket, turned it upside down, then set my computer on it.

 – I needed the right amount of light, so I moved the decorative fixture (the one on the right) from the back of the room to the desk to add more light. Keep in mind that my MacBook Air has a terrible camera, so I need to add to the light level whenever I can.

 – I positioned the ironing board to block the air conditioning.  Hotels always design the ventilation at the worst possible location in the room.

 – What you CAN’T see is the background. I went to a lot of trouble turning my laptop camera so they wouldn’t see my bed (which is a challenge in a hotel room.) So I managed to get in front of the curtains, which wasn’t brilliant, but at least it was neutral.

The bottom line is that it’s possible to do an effective Zoom or other online connection even in a remote hotel room. You just have to be creative in how you position things. Be intentional. Don’t settle. It’s your brand and reputation at stake.

Now – go to your hotel room and change the world.

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