How to look Professional During Video Meetings
The world has suddenly changed with millions of people finding themselves (WFH) working from home. With that has come the advent of #Zoom and #Teamworks meetings. This brings up a whole new set of business etiquette questions such as: Where is the best place to hold these conference calls? Is it appropriate to be seen at a virtual meeting in a hoodie? Here’s a few tips to make sure you show up at video meetings looking both professional and polished.
Set Up Your Space
Most experts agree that the best place to hold a #Zoom or #Teamworks meeting would be in a study or living room. You should determine what will be visible behind so others are comfortable with what they see. If you get called into a last-minute video meeting and the whole house is a mess, you can use the Zoom virtual background feature, which acts like a green screen to superimpose any image of your choice behind you. But before you go this easy route consider this: Showcasing a background of treasured art or books can offer insight into who you are and that could make a good impression among both clients and colleagues.
You will also want to set-up good lighting. The best option, according to Esther Yoon who writes Zoom’s blog, says natural lighting from a window is ideal. So open blinds to let the sunshine in, just make sure any lighting comes from the front or side of you, not from the back because that will shade your face. A table lamp strategically placed in front of you or at a 45-degree angle also works in lieu of natural light.
Camera and Audio Pre-check
It can be distracting when people do not look at the camera during video meetings. So first make sure the camera is positioned at eye level. If the webcam is physically below your eyes, stack a few books under your laptop. Look into the camera directly and resist the urge to look at yourself on the screen during meetings. Yoon also maintains using earplugs with a built-in microphone are best to use so participants can hear you speak without any background noise such as dog barking or screaming children.
Ready For Your Close-Up
Now that you have gotten set up for a meeting, the next big question is what to wear from the waist up? First and foremost, avoid tops with busy patterns like stripes or large, graphic prints. In addition, solid white or black tops may make the camera auto adjust lighting, so it is difficult to see you. Button-down shirts instantly create an image of professionalism. When in doubt, you can always rely on layering work- wardrobe staples like a cardigan or blazer. To keep things simple, consider wearing a basic T or turtleneck in flattering colors. Looking to radiate a fashion forward image? Try a python print top, which has a subtle but camera friendly print.
Use Accessories as Personal Style Statements
Since video meeting participants are only seen from the waist up, hair and jewelry accessories are fast becoming key wardrobe pieces to help project a professional image. Lorrie Frost, VP of New York City based Natasha Accessories, Ltd., reports an uptick in their hair accessory sales. She believes this is due to the closures of hair salons nationwide. “Embellished hair clips, headbands, and scrunchies are trending currently for this very reason. “Still, she says both statement earrings and choker length necklaces are relevant because they can showcase personal style so well on a video call. Fashion forward eyewear also upgrades your professional image on camera.
Even after you have set up your video meeting space and put together a professional waist up outfit, don’t forget to give family members a heads up that you have an important conference call. That way, you prevent a video bomber from crashing your conference. A final word of advice? “Keep in mind you are always more visible on video calls than offline meetings,” points out Jason Aten, a tech columnist. “Please don’t look at your phone or eat and then pick your teeth. You’re on camera–they’re watching.”