CORONABOBS ISOLATION DAY 10 – Diary of a Self-Isolator

CORONABOBS ISOLATION DAY 10 – Diary of a Self-Isolator BLOG  Posted Friday 27th March 2020 

As I post this Friday 27th March it has been confirmed  the PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON has tested positive for Covid -19 the posh name for Coronavirus.

DAY 10 Wednesday 25th March 2020

During self-isolation we’ve had a few video link ups with grandchildren and family. But I’ve struggled with them.

I am the first to say I am not good on the phone. I’m even worse on video link. Part of my problem is being deaf, of course.


The other is I am so self-conscious about my voice. I remember being so embarrassed by the sound of my own voice years ago when I first heard it recorded. Something else I always get wrong on the phone is when to talk. I end up over talking those I am talking to or leave long embarrassing silences.

With video links, it is the same but 10 times worse. I look stupid and horrendous. In my head I am giving a huge happy smiley face and all I see on screen is a cranky, horrible old cracked face and no smile. And yet Mamma who is standing next to me has a huge, beautiful full-face sunny smile.

I really hate the image I am projecting. It is not good for my grandchildren.

So, I decided to research the subject to improve myself and turn me into a video star.

Because I know many out there will be coming to video links for the first time, I am sharing my findings with you.

15 Ways To Look Great On A Video Call

Face to face meetings are the most natural way to communicate. But if that’s not possible due to self-isolation, then video linking has a lot going for it over phone calls. People pay more attention when they can see the people they’re talking to.

Unfortunately, for all the benefits, video linking is incredibly easy to screw up. “Everyone thinks they know what they’re doing but they’ve never been trained to do it,” says Paul J. Bailo, author of The Essential Digital Interview Handbook. Here are some tips for looking like a pro:

  1. Be Energetic. A camera can be the biggest critic you ever meet. It sees when you display a low energy level and does not miss a beat when your enthusiasm stretches the truth. Make sure you are energised.


  1. Make your discussions short and understandable. We often hear intellectuals lament how the Internet gives us all attention deficit disorder. Studies show that our attention span today is only 8 seconds. To keep your audience hooked to your conversation, you need a quick and clear message.


  1. Remember to smile. 72% of people believe that frequent smilers are secure and successful. What better way to win your audience than by showing that you are confident? In fact, it is so creepy when you don’t smile. If you have trouble smiling on camera or are concerned that your smile will not look genuine, fret not! Practice smiling in front of a mirror. It will relax you when you are on camera, and you detect inadvertent facial tics you didn’t mean to use.


  1. Look directly into the camera on the laptop or phone. It is so important to still make eye contact. Unlike on a stage, the camera lens scope limits you where you can look to ensure you capture the audiences’ attention. The key is to look directly at the camera lens. While it is tempting to look at yourself talking (depending on the camera in use) or focus on different spots throughout the video, your audience is only right in front of you. Take heed of the limited space of the camera and focus on it instead of looking around. Remember the need to smile, and also blink. We are not going to sugarcoat it; everyone looks creepy when keeping their eyes open for too long.


  1. Grab the audience attention early. We cannot repeat this statement enough; you have 8 seconds. Now that you have a clear message, you need a quick, clear way to convey your thoughts to your audience.


The better you start your video call the better and easier your conversations progress. At the start come up with something compelling to say that immediately engrosses your fellow callers in your topic. That could be an anecdote, statistic, or a bold claim (which you then back up). You, fellow callers, need a reason to keep listening to you. You need to give them that reason early, or they will lose interest.


  1. Prepare for your video link conversation. Make a list of interesting things you are going to discuss. This will make the video link flow better otherwise you end up rambling.


  1. Make sure you dress for success. People make snap judgments about you right away. They judge you for your smile (or lack thereof), your posture and other non-verbal communication cues. Finally, your viewers judge you based on what you wear. While you will never please everyone, you can wear something that fits your target audience. Think about hairstyle too. Yes, people like Mark Zuckerberg get away with wearing hoodies for years. However, even he wore a suit when he spoke in front of the Senate recently.The adage is true: if you look good, you feel good. You do not need to spend your entire day getting dressed ready for the video link with grandchildren. However, you can spend some time finding a clean, ironed shirt to wear. Do NOT dress too flashy. Also, comb your hair and use some hairspray or gel.


Put some flattering, solid colours near your face, just like television news anchors do. Check your teeth for remnants of lunch. Make sure the temperature is such that you won’t be sweating, and won’t need to start taking off layers, which is disconcerting for all watching


Finally, both men and women can use some makeup for when on the air, whether it is concealer to hide blemishes or powder to darken your skin, so you don’t look like a ghost. Both men and women need this kind of help.


  1. Get the right lights. Overhead lighting is the worst kind of lighting for video links because it makes shadows under your eyes. Unfortunately, that’s what most people have by default. Bailo recommends using three natural, soft light sources: two behind your web cam (one on the left, one on the right) and one right behind you. A couple of diffuse (a curtain over a window) natural light sources falling on your face from behind the camera and on your back (behind you) should be perfect for most situations. If you can’t quite manage that, you can make diffuse (never direct) light work for you.


  1. Watch your angle. Are you using a web cam clipped to the top of your monitor? Chances are it’s not capturing you from the ideal perspective. If it’s angled down too much, you’ll put your viewers in the position of towering over you. You want the lens to be right at eye level. A tripod can get you there and hold the camera steady. If you’re using the built-in camera on your laptop, it may be too low–and looking up your nose. While it’s not ideal, you can put hardcover books under your laptop until the angle’s right. You want the camera to capture the triangle of your forehead to your left shoulder and right shoulder in the frame. To sum up, You, should try to set up the webcam in such a way that when you look at the screen, you appear to be making eye contact with the person you’re talking to.


  1. Less obvious? “Make sure you’ve got the right chair,” Bailo says. Fidgeting is fine on audio but deadly when you can see someone moving like a hyperactive schoolboy in the corner of your screen.


  1. Look behind you. The people you’re interacting with will be treated to the view of whatever is behind you through the whole call. Junk and clutter are bad enough. Your bed with dirty laundry on it is yukky! Or worse, you may have something sitting there that’s part of the scenery to you but jarring to everyone else (e.g. that Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders poster). Bailo recommends investing in what’s called “seamless paper” (what professional photographers use in their studios) if you’ll be doing a lot of digital interaction. Alternatively, choose the right location from where to make the call. Try to take the call in a clean, neat room or an outdoor area. The person on the other end should see an attractive picture behind you – which will, in turn, serve to make you appear more attractive.


  1. Minimize distractions. Don’t have people or things, TV or music distracting you


  1. Smile, You’re on Camera! As I keep emphasising it is so important to look good during video calls. It’s important to make a good impression, even if you’re not going to be physically present with the person you’re talking to.


  1. Posture and Body Language. Your posture should be straight and erect during video calls. Of course, this doesn’t matter as much if you’re making a casual video call, but it can’t hurt if the person on the other end of the line thinks you’re being energetic and enthusiastic. Don’t slump in your seat and keep your shoulders pointed towards the person you’re speaking to. Try to sit straight for the duration of the call. Get a good, comfortable chair that gives you enough height, so that you can look at the monitor without you having to crane your neck or stoop. Try to appear relaxed and confident. Don’t fidget if you can help it – a good chair should help with that.
  2. Equipment Check. And, finally, you should check your equipment before making video calls. Video calling is not just about looks – it’s also about the effort on preparation and organization you put into it. If you are well prepared and your call goes off without a hitch, you will make a much more favourable impression on the caller than you would otherwise. Working equipment goes a long way towards helping your video call go that much more smoothly.


Video calling gets easier with practice. Once you have the basics figured out – like your wardrobe, the lighting and your presentation skills – you won’t have to work too hard to impress the caller. When you get it right, you can carry out a meaningful, engaging conversation even if you’re not physically present with the caller.

But I have read all this and it’s not improved my face and my smile is still non-existent and crap. What can I do?

And what did I do Day 10 Had a wonderful day gardening. Millions of worms, where’s my grandsons, they’d love them. But the blackbird is having the time of his life trying to eat them all. Then he flies to the top of the tree and gives such a melodic song – singing for his supper – beautiful. One of the many pluses to this isolation.

Prince Charles tested positive it was announced.




The mind is everything. What you think you become.  –Buddha


Happiness is…a video link call with grandchildren and family and friends


Knock, Knock.

Who’s there?


Wendy who?

Wendy bell rings schools out forever.


Love is… having a man at your feet


My granddaughter recently did a project at school on the 1960s and loved the Beatles music I played to her.

During the Isolation Period of the Coronavirus /Covi-19 I thought it was a good time to introduce the best tracks of the 1950s-2010s to her generation and to any others that choose to listen.

The first track is dedicated to the good times we had with my poor sister in law who is sadly very, very ill now.

Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys made No.3 10th March 1966

  1. Barbara Ann The Beach Boys 2:08


©2020 Phil M Robinson