Whether your video conferencing choice is Zoom or something else (Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime etc) these tips will get you through looking like a pro.
- Dress up! Look professional. it varies by industry but in general any of these work:
- A neat and tidy polo (one with your logo is ideal).
- A patterned blouse or shirt (I don’t know why but I always think something just a little louder like florals or patterns look a bit more “alive” on video). A collar makes it look like you have made an effort just as you would at a face to face meeting or in the office.
- A coloured shirt and your favourite tie.
- Your uniform.
- Tidy hair and grooming goes without saying.
- Basically… just make an effort… up top is all that is required, so it is still easier than a meeting in the office! Trackies or boardies down below for comfort are perfectly acceptable. No matter your gender though, please at the very least put on a shirt for everyone’s sake
- Tidy up your background, but not too tidy. A blank white wall or curtain is nearly as bad as a messy kitchen in the background. Strangely, what looks like a tidy room in real life can look stark and cold on video. If you are filming from your office, add some plants, an artwork, signage, tidy bookshelves, patterned wallpaper – loud and funky or rustic brickwork or woodwork can work well. Often the kitchen is not ideal unless you are in the food business. Kitchens tend to look messy and shadowy and often they are a family thoroughfare too. Also remember that if you are filming to sell something, your prospects will be judging you on the background… make it too humble and you don’t look successful… make it too flashy and you look like a jerk. Neat, yet warm with a bit of personality is the right mix. Some platforms allow you to set a virtual background – these can look ridiculously cheesy. Don’t be tempted to use Hogwart’s castle. Your branding or the city in which you are located are sensible choices if you must use a virtual background.
- Avoid distractions. This means that you need to find a quite spot away from interruptions, background noise etc. Turn off your phone. Close the window if there is noise outside. Make sure there isn’t something moving in the background (a fan blowing foliage or curtains etc).Unless you are in a childcare industry or similar, generally the littlies barging in doesn’t make you look great… mind you if it happens, I think it is nice to kindly give them instructions or pause the meeting while you walk them out, not just flick them away like this guy
- Lighting is everything! I haven’t nailed this yet as I am not a photographer/videographer BUT even if you haven’t yet invested in lighting, do test the light in your room. Bright light from behind places your face in shadow, harsh lights from above put shadow under your eyes and nose (eeeeek!) I have found that putting my large desktop monitor on a white screen (like an open Notepad or Word Doc at full screen) acts as a diffused light, brightening from the front and softening the imperfections. I then use my laptop for the actual video and to be honest I am still working out the best tech setup to make use of this in Zoom meetings. Natural lighting can work reasonably well, and sometimes outdoor settings work. If setting up outside though, do be aware of squawking birds like the cockatoos around my place that can sound amplified on video, and harsh midday sun that has the same effect as any overhead light, that is, shadows.
- Eating and drinking… this is not ideal but a little bit of hydration in a long meeting is absolutely fine. I recently participated in a meeting and realised that sipping a normal cup/mug/glass looks much better than tipping my usual Tupperware water bottle up in the air… somehow it just looked unprofessional. I think because we are visually so focused on the screen while in a webinar or video conference, eating is somehow more obvious than when we are out in the real-world meeting in a café for example. For that reason, keep eating to off video wherever possible, or keep it to small morsels. Some video platforms pick up noises more than others – crunchy food might sound louder on the other end than it does in a real-world situation. Eating is basically best left to informal video meetings with friends.
So, there you have it, my top 5 tips for presenting professionally on video conference. If you are concerned, do a test video meeting with a colleague or video yourself using Loom or similar.
If you need any help setting up virtual products such as course, classes etc, or monetizing your Zoom sessions, please contact Tanya on 0430 809 122.