Let’s face it, whether you’re a video call veteran or new to the technology, we all want to look good on video calls.
It can be tough to put your professional face forward when you’re zooming from your “stay at home work space,” also known as “chaos central.” But these tips will help you face your clients and colleagues on video calls with confidence and poise:
Set the Stage
If you’re doing lots of video calls, you’ll need a place to do them — preferably a place that doesn’t detract from your professional image.
My place is the “kitchen” table (it’s actually in my “living room,” and if you’re wondering why those words are in quotes, you’ve never lived in a New York City apartment!)
Fortunately, even in a crowded space, it doesn’t take much to get more “camera-ready,” as these pictures show:
- On the left, I’m in my usual work spot on a Saturday morning.
- But to lead a workshop called “Get Comfortable with Zoom” (on the right), I sat one-quarter of the way around the same table, took some pictures off the wall behind me, and brought in a floor lamp from the bedroom. (OK, I also put on lipstick. :-))
Simple tactics like removing background clutter and changing your light source can instantly elevate your virtual image, too.
How do you know what changes to make? Just get on a video call (alone, or with a friend), and try different ways of arranging the available furniture and light until you find something that works for you.
Dress in Simple, Solid Colors
Video cameras don’t easily “read” small prints, stripes, or patterns.
This means that your best choice is a solid color top — and your best solid (or mostly solid) color is a bright one that encourages people to look at you when you’re speaking.
And one more thing:
Even if you’re positive that you would never, ever, ever stand up during a video meeting… be sure to wear pants.
Look Good on Video Calls by Elevating Your Presence
You may have heard the old-school expression,
Beauty is as beauty does.
This means that, on video calls and IRL (in real life), your actions play a major role in determining how you look to other people.
You can easily look good on video calls — where so many people feel unsure of themselves — if you:
- Stay calm;
- Respond to other people’s comments (positively, when you can!);
- Smile at people and make eye contact by looking at your camera (that’s what will look like eye contact to them);
- Sit up straight and pay attention (people can tell if you’ve picked up your phone or are feeding your dog);
- Find small ways to be helpful (volunteer to keep time; help others stay on track; summarize what’s been decided, etc.); and most of all,
- Try to embody the patience and focus that we’re all learning how to deliver on video calls.
To Look Good on Video Calls, Learn What “Looking Good” Means to You
Rules for business interactions have relaxed a lot because we’re meeting online (and more, because we’re meeting from our homes).
But that doesn’t mean that anything goes. So think about what your colleagues are doing, and how to best adapt that “community standard” to your situation.
And most of all, understand your own personal standards for how you want to dress, present yourself, and act online.
Because ultimately, the person you want to look good to is yourself.