Practice those video calls so you look professional!

Do you have time for a Zoom call?

I have been doing a lot of video calls and meetings over the last 3 weeks and I hadn’t done many before. If you are also new to this  way of connecting via video I encourage you to make sure you are looking your best, especially when it is business related! You wouldn’t walk into a business networking event half ready, late, and without your business cards right? So just take a few easy steps to look great for your next video meeting or call. You will want to make sure the location, device, lighting, and you, are all ready to go!

 Set up test calls with people you trust so you can practice.

You don’t need to be looking for the mute button when it matters! Being comfortable with all the settings of the platform you are using including logging in so you are on time to your call, and testing video and audio on a new device, will ensure you don’t look unprofessional. Yes, everyone is learning but carve out some time to learn it and be ready. Ask a friend to do a video call with you and set up the meeting just like it was the real deal. You may need to set up an account on line or find a computer or device that you can use. There are a few other things you want to consider so you can look your best!

1) Look for good lighting.

Lighting doesn’t need to be perfect or movie quality, but just a few adjustments will make sure you don’t look like a dark silhouette or your head is exploding with light. While doing a test zoom call move around a little while looking at your image and find a spot where the light is good and not distracting. If you are on a desktop near a window you may be able to slightly turn the camera, shift the desk angle, or move something that makes the video look better. Try not to have actual sunlight on yourself because it will be too bright. Try closing and opening shades and then see how it looks! If darkness is your issue bring a lamp into the room or even two and even pull off the lamp shades so you can get more light on your face. Overhead light can be unflattering and you may want to turn it off. Just give it a test and see what looks the best!

2) Sit like you would if you were with someone.

Position should be straight on like you are sitting and talking with someone in person. If you aren’t sure where the camera is on your computer or device it is essential to do a test session so you can know and be ready to connect with your audience or client. The camera and screen you are using should be near each other so it is like talking face to face and you feel like you are connecting. Make sure you fill the screen like a head shot photo and there isn’t more of the room showing than you, but also make sure it’s not too close up and just your face! When using a cell phone it’s easy to get too comfortable and go sit in a cozy chair with your phone in your lap but sitting at a table or desk with your phone on a stand or propped will keep things looking more solid. Sit up straight with good posture and even lean in a little like you would when listening to someone!

3) Be aware of your surroundings in your home.

Make sure there isn’t anything unpleasant or inappropriate in the background where you are. A basket of dirty clothes, something personal written on a card, or anything that you wouldn’t want others to see should be moved or put away. You really need to test it to see what is actually showing at the angle you will be at. If you can carve out a little spot of your own that is ready in a minute for a video call and you won’t be interrupted that is ideal. You can even personalize it for you or your business.

4) Be Present.

Give the dog a treat, tell your spouse and kids how long you won’t be available, and make sure you have everything you need for the call or meeting. If you can get through a 60 minute meeting at the office without getting up then do what you need to give someone your undivided attention on your video call. Have a thermos with some hot coffee and use the bathroom ahead of time. This is your time to show how well you can stay polished during a challenging situation. Don’t text or check your emails if you wouldn’t do that in a person to person meeting. Have documents or notes pulled up and ready so there isn’t awkward moments of waiting for you to speak. You got this!

5) Don’t be that person!

Lastly, we have all seen the video clip on social media where the person accidentally goes to use the bathroom in front of everyone on her video business call. So embarrassing! When using a cell phone you may not see yourself on your screen but unless you have the video off they can see you. The way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you is to know your settings on your device, be present when it’s time, and practice! Keep connecting friends!