How to look great on video conferences

“As remote work is expected to remain widespread after the phased reopening of some offices, video calls have become the new normal for business communication. However, business professionals know surprisingly little about the photographic techniques behind looking great on video conferences. Knowing how to optimize your look on camera, using the photographic approaches deployed by top executives, influencers and celebrities, is an increasingly important business skill that is neglected by most business professionals,” said Renata Cesar, founder of The Art of Being Photographed.


Here are five simple steps to transform how you look on video calls:

  1. Centre yourself: Place yourself in the middle of your viewer’s screen with your shoulders taking up as much of the width of the screen as possible. This makes you look larger and more broad-shouldered, and conveys competence, confidence and assertiveness.
  2. Consider camera height: Lowering a device gives the emperor effect – appearing to loom over the camera – which creates an air of authority and gravitas. Raising a device gives the baby face effect – a childlike appearance with a larger forehead and big eyes – which can give the appearance of friendly and personable. Choose the height that is best for your appearance and the impression you’d like to make.
  3. Choose your surroundings: Use a blank backdrop, such as a neutral wall or a bed headboard to ensure the camera lens focuses on you, your expressions and gestures. Find the best light – ideally facing a window or in front of a light therapy lamp that mimics the effects of daylight. Failing that, place a lamp in front of you.
  4. Check your clothes: Wear solid colours and avoid distracting patterns, logos or slogans to let the camera highlight you. If it’s a really important meeting, wear white or include white in your surroundings to avoid colour failure on your screen, which may turn your appearance orange or blue.
  5. Make eye contact: Look at the dot of the camera and not the other person’s image on your screen (or your’s). It might help to imagine a bullseye around the dot or stick a paper-hole reinforcer on it. This creates the human connection that only direct eye contact affords and the ability to send and receive the social cues which are lost when there is no direct eye contact.



Brandt completes GeoShack/INTEQ acquisition, expands to serve entire Canadian geopositioning market

The Brandt Group of Companies announced that, effective July 10, 2020, they successfully acquired the assets of GeoShack Canada Company and the Canadian assets of INTEQ Distributors. This acquisition, which directly affects the Ontario and Quebec markets, makes Brandt the exclusive dealer for Topcon Positioning Systems and other complimentary tools and technology for the entire Canadian market.


The announcement follows Brandt’s recent acquisition of Sokkia Canada and is the latest in a series of acquisitions and dealer agreements by the Regina, Sask.-based company since their purchase of Ontario/Quebec/Newfoundland and Labrador John Deere construction and forestry dealer Nortrax in late 2019.


“We’ve worked hard to make this a great deal for our survey, engineering and construction customers in Ontario and Quebec,” said Brandt CEO, Shaun Semple. “Our national infrastructure will allow us to build on the strong foundation laid down by the GeoShack and INTEQ teams to deliver greater-than-ever access to equipment and support services.”


The GeoShack and INTEQ brands and operations will be transitioned into Brandt’s nation-wide positioning technology division.


A recent agreement with Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc., has also assigned Brandt distribution rights for the Quebec market, making them the exclusive dealer for Topcon construction and geopositioning products for all of Canada. Brandt’s 56 locations from coast-to-coast, coupled with GeoShack’s strategic locations in Ontario will position Brandt, with one of industry’s largest team of experts, to provide an unmatched degree of aftersales support.


In combination with Brandt’s pre-existing Topcon footprint in Western and Atlantic Canada, these additions have given Brandt a comprehensive retail footprint to supply premium geopositioning equipment to the entire Canadian market. The agreement further establishes the firm’s position as one of the country’s premier privately held companies.



Construction holds up well during pandemic

Construction activity has held up relatively well during the pandemic, as – other than a brief shutdown in parts of Canada in April – it has largely been able to continue operating near capacity, according to an outlook for the sector in the BMO Blue Book.


The report notes that residential construction will remain solid in the near term, with housing starts expected to rebound to 215,000 units in 2021, from 195,000 in 2020.


“The average of the two years marks only a slight downshift from home-building activity in recent years,” said Doug Porter, chief economist, BMO Financial Group.


Non-residential construction should remain mixed. “Construction in the oil sector will likely remain quite subdued given the oil price backdrop, and office and retail construction will also be weak,” said Porter. “However, public-​sector infrastructure investment should remain solid, particularly if federal and provincial budgets focus on stimulus post-COVID. Some provinces have already hinted at pulling forward capital spending programs to support economic growth.”


The BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at: bit.ly/bmo_blue_pdf.



Wayne Lefebre brings 40 years of experience to Matcom

Matcom is pleased to introduce Wayne Lefebre as the newest project manager. Lefebre brings a rich knowledge of moving, rebuilding and repairing machinery that will help enhance the services Matcom currently provides. 


With 40 years of industrial machinery experience, Lefebre has a high level of proficiency in managing projects, completing rebuilds and new installations; with his largest project being $147 million. Lefebre will be applying this in-depth expertise, from small machine shops to large tonnage stamping, to his new role with Matcom. Prior to joining Matcom, Lefebre entered the industry in the quality assurance department. He accredits his success to this initial role that unveiled his potential and transferred him into the world of industrial problem solving. With this established skillset, he grew his own business, which excelled for over 10 years. Matcom is honoured to have such a well-rounded individual on the team.


“We are delighted to welcome [Lefebre] to the Matcom family,” said Matthew Rix, president of Matcom. “His experience brings a wealth of project management expertise that will help to strengthen Matcom and maintain its position as a leader in the industry.” Lefebre’s deep involvement in the industry has helped him obtain the skills to secure and execute high-quality projects, while adhering to high safety standards and attaining tight deadlines. 


“I want to help people,” said Lefebre. “In the true and genuine sense of helping. I believe in the power of listening and understanding people’s needs. Matcom has a reputation for its family-like dynamic and that strong communication is what attracted me.” During these uncertain times, Matcom is overjoyed to bring in such a hardworking addition to re-establish a sense of stability. 




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About Us

Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.