Around March of this year, we moved a lot of our activities online. We quickly got accustomed to using programs like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to conduct meetings and deliver presentations. It’s been 8 months, so it seems like a good time to revisit some of the tricks for looking like a pro on a video call or presentation. Use these 4 tips so that you maintain your credibility and image even through your laptop.
1. Pay attention to your background.
We pick up on clues about people from the backgrounds of their calls. In other words, your environment contributes to your fellow Zoom call attendees’ opinions about you. But you have the power to take control over what it is saying. The best option is to pick a spot in your house with an attractive background. Set up your desk or a portable table in front of something like bookshelves, a blank wall, or a piece of nice artwork.
If that’s not an option, you can consider using a virtual background. Use these 8 steps from Good Morning America to create a Zoom background. To make sure your virtual background looks the best, Zoom Supports says to use a solid color background for your video call and to “find a spot in your house with uniform light and color.” They also recommend that you avoid wearing clothing that matches your virtual background.
2. Balance your lighting.
Don’t just expect to jump on a Zoom call and be ready to go. You’ll want to adjust your lighting ahead of time. What you are aiming for is balanced light. Here’s an example from Zoom’s article on lighting concepts on that shows the difference between a poorly-lit call and one with more balanced light.
Here’s how to achieve balanced light in your room. First, pay attention to the light sources already in the room. If there is a window, you may be able to use natural light. But you’ll need to remember that you can’t control the natural light. For example, if you are using a window as your primary light source and a storm rolls in, you could be left in the dark.
So it’s a better bet to use other lighting sources. Light behind you (see the lamp in the picture above) won’t work well. You want to aim to have a soft light in front of you, but not directly shining on your face. Consider investing in a lamp with a swivel head that you can adjust. Or use what you have, but get creative. Play around with removing lamp shades or placing lamps on stacked books to create more attractive lighting.
3. Adjust your camera angle
There’s never a good reason to participate in a video call with only half of your face showing. Before you get on a call, pull up the camera on the device you’ll be using and adjust the camera angle. Tilt your screen backward and forward to create a pleasing angle. Then adjust the height of the camera. In most cases, it will be best to elevate the camera slightly above your eye level. This might mean that you need to prop your laptop or phone up. The method that works best for me is to use two large books to elevate my laptop and then to have a wireless keyboard and mouse that sits down lower. Here’s the link to the Logitech combo that I use and love. This allows me to type during the call without my hands being on camera.
4. Minimize disruptions
Finally, do whatever you can to prevent or minimize disruptions while you are on your video call. With many of us working from home or having kids who are going to school at home, that can be tough. But remember that this call will either build or detract from your credibility. Be strategic and intentional about creating a quiet time during your call. Lock up pets. Offer kids “screen time” that coincides with your call. Or place a sign on your office door that tells others a meeting is in progress. Often it just boils down to communication.
Looking like a pro on a video conference call just takes a few minutes of planning and prep. But it can help to foster a more professional setting in which to conduct your business and build your reputation.
We know you might be conducting your business presentations in new ways on new platforms, and we want to help. Contact us now for a free quote.