5 Practices to Look Your Best on Your Next Video Conference
Updated: Jun 3
Are you really living in this modern world if you haven’t heard of ‘Zoom’?
The shift to work from home has introduced us to a new era where video conferencing has taken over face-to-face conversations, whether we are ready for it or not.
Nowadays, first impressions must be done on camera, — as if in-office meetings were not difficult enough! In navigating this new world, it’s now time to bring out the big guns and add a new skill to your repertoire: your digital alter ego. Who is your digital alter ego? Your digital alter ego is a modern new professional who is always presentable and prepared, especially for video meetings. Here are 5 best practices that can help you to make the best first impression at your next video conference.
1. Be Prepared
Having a video meeting is no different than being in the office, and just like an in-office meeting, it is important to be prepared and professional.
Commit to the time. Practice beforehand and prepare what you are going to say or present. Test your video and audio at least ten minutes before the meeting begins, and have all the required materials ready. Send the meeting invitation at least 30 minutes before the meeting begins, if you are the host. Always aim to begin the meeting promptly.
2. Let There be Light!
Good lighting is especially important for a video meeting. Having the wrong lighting can make it difficult for your audience to focus on what you’re saying and make it difficult for them to see your facial expressions. As a rule of thumb, have video meetings in well-lit areas and have your light positioned in front of you. (Never behind!) Natural lighting is the best and can give your face a good illumination that accentuates your features. Aim to sit in front of an open window or the part of the room which is the brightest. If natural lighting isn’t an option, fear not, a ring light can also do it nicely, albeit for a price. Strive to avoid overhead lights, and definitely avoid having the lighting from behind you, which will cast you as a harrowing silhouette.
3. Stage Your Background
What does your background say about you? Everything. It is better to have a plain, solid coloured background than one that is cluttered and distracting. Have your meeting in a neutral space, ideally an office or a common area such as a living room. Avoid backgrounds that look intimate such as a bedroom or bathroom. Ensure that your background is clean, neat, and not distracting. Flashy decor, trinkets, and stacked bookshelves are great for a friendly meet and greet, but too distracting for a professional meeting. In the meeting, there should be one focus, on what you are saying.
4. Place Your Camera at Eye Level
When on camera, do your best to simulate an eye-to-eye connection with your audience. Having the camera under the face, lower than eye level will give an unflattering up-the-nose look to anyone.
Getting the best angle can be done by placing the camera at eye level and always looking into the camera when speaking. A neat trick to raise your laptop to eye level is by stacking books underneath until it reaches the desired height.
Pro tip: Do not come too close to the camera, as it will distort your features. You want the camera to capture the triangle of your forehead to the left and right shoulder and your upper chest(if possible).
5. Have Good On Screen Etiquette
On-screen etiquette? Never heard of it. When in the comfort of your home, it’s sometimes easy to forget the dos and don’ts of conducting a professional meeting. A video meeting is no different than a meeting in the office, and it is still important for you to look and act the part. Here are some quick reminders:
Sit straight and have good posture
Look directly into the camera(to the person) when speaking
Mute whenever not speaking
Wear appropriate, professional clothing
Eat or drink while on camera
Take other calls during the meeting
Drift off or multitask while someone is speaking
Meet Your New Digital Alter Ego
Congrats! You have now developed your new tech-savvy digital alter ego ready to take on this new on-screen world. For an easy reminder for your next video conference, download our infographic on the 10 Best Tips and Practices for Video Meetings. What’s your Favourite Video Conferencing Tool? Let us know in the comments below
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