Appearances matter, because, unfortunately, that’s how people make judgments about others.
Maybe before you started working from home, you would watch those perfectly coiffed and dressed hosts and news anchors on TV and feel jealous of their glamorous look and lifestyle. But now that you have to participate in video calls, you realize how much work those pros have to put in to just to be “camera-ready” — and you’re not even getting the salary that a Stephen Colbert or an Anderson Cooper does!
However, this is your new reality. You are your own “brand”—and you want to rock that brand. So, if you’re doing regular video conferences, do a little work on what other people are going to see of you and your surroundings. Appearances matter, because unfortunately that’s how people make many of their judgments about others.
We're all learning what it takes to pull off the perfect virtual meeting. Sometimes the little things make a big difference.
Begin by considering using a separate webcam on a tripod and put tape over the one on your monitor if you don’t want it accidentally turning on. It’s easier to work with and will stay stable during your Zooms.
Think about your lighting, so you don’t resemble that old hero, The Shadow.
Frame the shot so your entire head is in the frame and not just its top, so you don’t look like an extra from The Blair Witch Project. Eye level is also best for your webcam — go low and people end up looking up your nostrils, which they most likely would rather not do.
When we’re not meeting people in person, we have to work a little harder to make connections, so don’t be afraid to showcase positive aspects of your personality. These personal touches can stimulate conversation outside the bounds of work and create stronger virtual connections, as well as serve as an expression of who you are.
If you play guitar, or if you’re like me and you have five guitars and hope they will magically learn to play themselves, go ahead and hang them on the wall. Children’s art, your art, a surfboard, a photo of a place you really love…think about what represents your lifestyle and your interests — you can visually express this as part of your online persona.
If your background is a mess, get one of those old slide projection screens, then let your kids paint it and put it behind you.
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Near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a reporter for Good Morning America popped up from his home to introduce a story. He looked good, this reporter did, wearing a splendid coat and tie. Unfortunately, the way his webcam was angled, you could also plainly see he was wearing shorts!
For virtual workers, especially if you’re in sales or in another job where you deal directly with customers, you want to look and sound like a pro.
The good news is once you have your video set-up in place, you don’t really have to do much else except attend to your own personal appearance. And that doesn’t have to be a huge deal either — you just have to make sure there’s no spinach in your teeth, no mustard stains on your shirt or top, and your hair doesn’t look like it just survived a tornado. That’s why having a mirror near your video set-up is an essential — so you can take a good hard look at yourself before anyone else does!
For virtual workers, especially if you’re in sales or in another job where you deal directly with customers, you want to look and sound like a pro. Always strive to create the best possible first impression. And ALWAYS be camera-ready from head to foot. Think about how embarrassed you might be if some kind of household emergency causes you to rush off in the middle of your video conference and everyone sees you runaway in your Joe Boxers—you know, the ones with the hearts… If you’re caught in sweatpants, that’s a much better scenario!
Virtual meetings come with a lot of new opportunities and challenges. Whether you're new to remote work and online calls, or you've been doing them for years and need some new tricks, we got you covered. Our virtual solutions can help your team communicate and preform their best.
If you're ready to start building your virtual meeting strategy, check out The Complete Guide to Virtual Meetings.