The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to work from home and follow social distancing norms. It means that the office is no longer required, and meeting people can only happen through virtual platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Although in the yesteryears, a good online video editor was all you needed to make a more than acceptable video, there is no denying that conference room discussions have been replaced with video calls – a trend that is not going anywhere anytime soon.
With video calls being akin to conference meetings, you need to ensure you are not always on mute, and your video is not turned off. No matter how much you’d like to avoid the camera, switching off videos may be construed by many as rude and evasive. So how do you ensure you look professional on a video call?
In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to look better on video calls. Whether you are sharing your screen to show a video or a presentation, which you must have created with a free slideshow maker, these tips will ensure you don’t run away from the camera every time you meet your team.
1. Dress Like You Are in an Actual Meeting
To feel comfortable and look professional during a team meeting, try dressing as you would normally dress for an in-person meeting. It will help you get into the role and give a great first impression. Even though we might be socially distancing from one another, your appearance is still as important as what you say.
The rule of thumb: dress up, but never down.
2. Ensure Enough Lighting
To look like your natural self, there has to be exception lighting. However, it might be difficult to find it in the ‘meeting spot’ of your home. The quick fix: have two lamps placed on either side of your desk to ensure ample light falls on your face. This way, you will also prevent unnatural shadows.
3. Sit in a Quiet Place and Use Headphones
While you cannot control technical glitches during video calls, including the quality of video and audio, you should always take calls from a quiet corner of your house. And to avoid echo of the other person, always use headphones that not only help reduce the ambient noise but also ensures you hear things correctly.
Test your headphone mic so that you don’t have to speak into the computer and move a lot during video calls. Put yourself on mute if you aren’t speaking as a courtesy to others. However, promptly unmute yourself if you need to put across a point.
Muting yourself ensures that no outside noises make their way to the call and distract others while they speak.
4. Position of Your Camera
The position of your camera should always be at an eye-level or higher since it is critical to look directly into the camera and not anywhere else. Look at the camera to make virtual eye contact with your meeting attendees. If that’s a problem, then place some books or blocks beneath your laptop to make sure the camera is at eye level.
A word of caution: make sure your laptop is properly balanced so that it does not fall during the video call.
5. Test Before You Start
If you are unsure about the settings or external devices like earphones, always do a trial run with a family or a friend. Check the performance of your webcam, microphone, and headphones to ensure they work properly. Make all the adjustments during the test call so that everything goes smoothly when your meeting starts.
One of the biggest glitches during video calls is the internet. Ensure you have a good internet connection and ask your friends or family members not to download anything while you are on the call. Having a poor internet connection is not only distracting for others but also impacts your confidence and preparation.
6. Select a Neutral Background
Your background is as important as your looks during a video call. Make sure it doesn’t look distracting or unprofessional. You can choose a plain wall or anything which isn’t distracting.
More recently, Zoom has launched a feature that allows you to choose a virtual background during video calls. You can also use some free virtual background from Shutterstock for your next video call.
7. Mind Your Body Language
Even though your face is visible during the video call, you cannot ignore your body language. Don’t take calls from your bed or in a lying position. Sit straight in your chair and keep the movement to a minimum. When you are on camera, behave as you would normally if you were in person.
Moreover, pay attention to your expressions. Keep a soft smile on your face and move your hands and add gestures to emphasize your facial expressions.
8. Keep Distractions To Minimum
As with any regular meeting in a conference room, keep the distractions to a minimum. Close the door so that your family members, including your pets, don’t interrupt in between your calls. But in case they do, try to roll with it.
After all, we are living in an unusual time where the ideal home office is not possible. In such scenarios, a comic relief will surely bring a smile on your co-worker’s face. If there is an unavoidable distraction, then politely excuse yourself, mute, turn off the video and address the issue. Come back to the call as soon as possible.
There you have it, our top 8 tips to look your best on a video call. Video calls are the new normal as companies contemplate allowing their staff to work from home for the next couple of months. If you are not comfortable on camera, then practice as much as you can until you are confident about seeing yourself in it.
It may appear awkward to you first, but with a couple of sessions, you will see the hesitation disappear. What is your favorite video tip? Do you have any more tips and tricks that help people look good on video calls? We’d love to hear it from you in the comments section below.