Remember that beloved thing called silence? It was around for a couple millennia and has kinda dropped to the wayside since Westernization became a thing. As of late, silence has become considerably harder to find — especially in the last decade.
Everywhere people go, noise will follow. Even in quiet restaurants and coffee houses, someone is guaranteed to tap their foot or broadcast television from behind the bar. Noise is simply inescapable. One of the biggest perpetrators of this activity is the dealership; not a single minute passes where a phone isn’t ringing or the intercom isn’t blasting across the facility.
Granted, we don’t always really notice this racket until we do activities that require silence — arguably the most significant of which is recording video. So what do you do when you need to send a prospect a video message, but just can’t catch a break from the endless pandemonium? Well, there’s a couple things…
First: leave your desk. I understand that your desk is your safe haven where you’re most comfortable, but that may also mean that you’re seated out in the open or amongst other salespeople, forced to deal with endless distractions. Think of the least noisy place in the dealership and take your phone or webcam-ready laptop there.
If you have the same mindset that I do, you wind up walking to the conference room where you attend sales meetings. That’s a good choice, as it’s a perfectly quiet space that only deals with a little hum from the overhead lights, if not the ventilation. So, you set up your phone (sideways, and not handheld) or laptop and start recording your video message. But wait, what’s that irritating sound you hear when you play your video? Oh, right, echo. This room echoes.
So, how do you get rid of this echo and keep your video from sounding like you’re recording atop Mt. Everest? The first simple step is to grab the nearest garment — a sweater, a jacket, or even a couple dealer-branded t-shirts (if you work for a BMW or Mini dealership, then you should have plenty at your disposal) and bundle or stack them, placing your recording device square in the middle. Lo and behold, no more echo.
When you speak, you emit sound waves that collide with every surface in the immediate area, bouncing off of every object until the sound dies out, and boy do microphones pick all of those up. By propping up your recording device against a cushy garment, you are helping to eliminate the majority of soundwaves that fly past the camera and reflect on the desk, walls, chairs, etc. This will considerably reduce all echo and make your voice perfectly audible, thus allowing you to communicate with your customer without any unnecessary noise.
Of course, there’s the other possible outcome: what if the conference room is unavailable? Find a vacant office somewhere else in your store, close the door, and conduct the same garment-propping setup. Just bear in mind that you may need to double up the garments or drape them over other objects in the immediate area in order to stop the other sound reflections. Yes, you might look silly covering an absent coworker’s desk in t-shirts and hoodies, but it will save you the trouble of having lackluster video.
Before we conclude today’s lesson, here are two final things: make sure that there is limited background hum and always double check your footage. Shut off all fans and close all windows before you shoot so that the hum in the distance is kept to a bare minimum, thus saving you from distracting sounds. By reviewing what you shoot, you can be 100% sure that you like what you’re sending out and that your prospects will as well.
If necessary, there are applications that you can download to kill background noise, but that is a lesson for another day. Go forth and create. Just make sure it’s brief and intelligible, lest you should lose your audience to that cruel entity called boredom.
– by Andrew Zielinski