With the lockdown of our country due to the Coronavirus pandemic, about a third of Americans are working from home. The technology that allows us to do this has been around for years, but it took COVID-19 to force us to make the move.
Enter virtual business meetings on Zoom. If you’ve done one already, you know the webcam on your computer can be unforgiving. But, did know there is a “Touch up my appearance” filter you can apply to your video to smooth out your skin tone and make you look a little less like you just got out of bed five minutes before the meeting started? (Touch Up My Appearance – Zoom Help Center – Zoom Support: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115002595343-Touch-Up-My-Appearancehttps://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115002595343-Touch-Up-My-Appearance)
Five Tips to Look Better in Zoom Meetings
1. Lighting. It’s best to start with lighting because that will dictate where you are sitting. Open your shades and let the natural light pour in, but don’t let all that light hit your back. Experts recommend having your largest light source either right in front of you or no more than 45 degrees away from directly in front of you. Your screen can also be a large source of light, so adjust your screen brightness, especially if you are taking a call without natural light.
2. Raise Your Camera. There is one acceptable camera angle and that’s head-on and at eye level. Your table is almost certainly going to be lower than your face, and that means people are going to get an unflattering look up at you. Use a set of books, a stool, or a higher table to make sure your camera is at the same level as your eyes. You don’t want people to feel like they are looking up or down at you.
3. Pick a dedicated area and set ground rules. Your home office should be in a quiet area to reduce distractions and ensure privacy. The last thing you want in a business meeting are family members, including pets, causing a distraction. Keep your personal life from spilling over into your business life (and vice versa) in order to maintain your focus and productivity.
4. Background. You want people to focus on your face, not on what’s behind you. Many people like to be photographed in front of a bookshelf, but experts say that items such as pictures, knick-knacks, plants, etc. placed on shelves can actually be a distraction. Blank walls or one with a single art piece is the best way to go.
5. What to Wear. When it comes to clothing, avoid patterns, stripes and plaids. Choose solid, bold colors. Simple jewelry is best. For women, avoid earrings that dangle or any accessory that makes noise when you move. For most conference calls, you can wear whatever you want from the waist down — unless you think you might need to stand up for some reason.