GearUp TV’s Liz Moscrop talks about Showing up for your Zoom/Teams/Hangouts/Skype meeting professionally
After 15 months of virtual events and meetings, it’s time to refresh your style if you haven’t done so already. This means lighting, outfits, sound and background. And ensure your power source is consistent. I just got off a Teams call with a well-known industry member, and my laptop died, because I hadn’t plugged it in.! Same thing goes for a hard wired connection if you can possibly have that – stops wifi instability in its tracks.
You’ll know now whether kids or pets are welcome on certain calls, however there are other subtle things you can do to elevate your Zoom presence.
As people emerge back into real life workplaces, anything less than professional – ie clean hair, appropriate shaving and the right smart casual attire will send subtle signals that you mean business should you continue working from home.
Ideally put your camera on, unless you have real bandwidth issues or are ill. For colleagues, assess the overall dress code and follow it. For customers, wear the attire you’d wear in a face-to-face meeting. As ever, it’s better to overdress than underdress, and we all know that only needs to be from the waist upwards in most cases.
Colour wise – deep flattering shades or even white work, without a lot of wild patterns, a mixture of colours, or stripes that can be noisy on camera. Shy away from showing too much skin in a work environment, or anything too transparent or translucent. If you are next to a bright light source sparkly, jangly jewellery can be both visually uncomfortable as well as noisy.
Hair and makeup – treat them as usual office style. Matte powder may help reduce skin shine on camera, for both men and women. Webcams can be harsh, so anything you can do to make you look less washed out (including the Zoom beauty settings) on a computer screen will help. Have a play beforehand.
Clean up background clutter and position your laptop camera accordingly. Avoid showing washing piled up behind you or your lunch utensils heaped in the background. This can really alter the tone of the meeting. If you’re in a sales conversation – set the tone.
Camera – laptop cameras are fine. If you want something swankier, the usual suspects Amazon etc will provide plenty of good choices. If you must block out your home environment, some webcam apps, like XSplit or VCam, let you blur the background via image and edge detection. Zoom gives you a green screen backdrop to insert a photo as a virtual background.
Natural light is great, but it can be hard to set up and control, plus it tends to lighten the background. Try to sit facing the window or light source so your face is well lit and clearly visible. Or you can use lamps – ideally, you should set up two lights on either side of your monitor, right above your eye line and about 3 feet apart. Positioning the camera just above your eye line so it looks down at you. If you want a dozen extra chins and to accentuate your nostril hair, film from below. Then look directly into the camera because that is eye contact for the person you’re speaking to. Glasses can create unpleasant reflections from the glass, so if you have an option to wear contact lenses, that would be better.
Lastly the best beauty tip we always give is to remember to smile – that forgives a thousand technical faults!