Embarrassed During Online Meetings from Home? Here’s How to Look Professional on Video

Embarrassed During Online Meetings from Home? Here's How to Look Professional on Video

Joining a video conference call when you’re at the office is one thing, doing it from home can be a completely different experience!

Many people in Wisconsin and the rest of the country are unexpectedly working from home for several weeks due to COVID-19.

With that transition to remote work has also come the need to use video conferencing more than ever to stay connected. While cloud and smart home technologies have made that type of remote connection easy, it can’t control what people see on the other side of the video camera.

Downloads of video conference software Zoom jumped to nearly 27 million in March, compared to 2.1 million in January.

Have you been embarrassed about the unprofessional look of your video calls while working from home? Check out the following tips for crafting a professional looking video presence while telecommuting.

Look “Office Ready” from Home for Your Business Video Calls

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to ensure you have a professional presence during your online meetings. You just need to be aware of a few basics.

Before we get into the tips, one somewhat obvious recommendation is to set up a dedicated area for your workspace and/or video calls. This way you can control the backdrop and it’s consistent for every meeting.

Position Yourself at Eye Level

Strange camera angles or sitting too close or too far from the camera are factors that can make a video call look less than professional.

You want to position the camera at eye level. If you’re using a laptop, that might mean putting it up on some books. If you’re using a large monitor, like an iMac with the video camera at top, you may need a higher chair.

Position yourself at a comfortable distance so you’re not too close. You don’t want just your face showing in camera. Sit far enough away so your shoulders are also showing, and don’t cut off the top of your head in the view.

Light Yourself from the Front

One of the biggest mistakes people make with lighting during a video call is sitting in front of a window or light source. That light at their back can make their picture look darker than it should.

You want the light source to be in front of you, which will light your face. Soft, directional lighting helps reduce hard shadows. The best lighting is natural light, if possible. You’ll often see natural light noted in photography recommendations.

Have a Wall or Solid Object Behind You

You don’t want to sit in a place where there is another room behind you. This can be distracting and make it much harder to keep a professional, non-messy look. There’s also a bigger chance of a pet or family member walking behind you.

Sit in front of a solid object, like a bookcase, or wall. This will make for a much less distracting background and one you can control.

Keep Backdrops Uncluttered

The benefit of doing your video calls from the same place every time is that you can set the backdrop just right. You want it to be uncluttered. So, if you have a table behind you, it should have just one or two items on it, not a ton of knick-knacks.

Be careful about using a plain white wall in the background, it can look a little too boring. A wall with a picture or two works well. You can also add a plant for a nice touch of warmth, which helps if the wall is a light color.

Use Neutral Backgrounds

The background one of the most important parts of looking professional for an online video meeting. Beside being uncluttered, you also want to keep it neutral without any jarring colors or patterns that could clash with what you’re wearing.

You should be the focal point of your online meeting, not your wallpaper.

Dress for the Call

While that t-shirt might be fine while you’re working at home, it’s not going to put you in professional light on a video call. Your goal is to not have someone immediately know you’re working from home because of your appearance.

Take a few extra minutes to put on the type of shirt you would normally wear at the office. That one small effort can make a big difference in how people perceive you on the call.

Use a Headset or Ear Buds

Sound quality can be poor if you’re using your computer’s mic and speakers on a video call. It is also less than secure if you’re discussing sensitive business topics.

Use a headset or earbuds for better sound quality, more privacy, and to reduce background noise.

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