Hunched over a laptop, checking yourself out within that tiny Zoom window and adjusting the webcam has become almost second nature in our pandemic-induced WFH lives today. From well-prepped job interviews, serious board meetings to virtual office parties, video meetings have become the new normal and look like they are here to stay. While professionals across the world have been embracing the work-from-home culture in their own ways, there’s perhaps one common factor zooming across everyone’s minds while they’re typing away at their keyboards sending out invites for the next meeting – how to look the best on Zoom calls?
Here are a few tips on how to crack that good look even on the low-resolution video camera of your laptop.
Let there be light
Set your laptop up in front of a window or any other source of light, preferably natural. Avoid direct sources of harsh light pointing right at your face which can make it very uncomfortable for people on the other end of the meeting. Also, do not sit with your back against the source of light. This can create a silhouette that might be very unflattering and unprofessional during a virtual office meeting.
In case you’re stuck working out of a place that doesn’t have a soft source of natural light, set up a table lamp behind your laptop, pointing towards you and that should solve it.
“Look in my eyes” says the camera
Your laptop’s webcam should always be at your eye level or slightly higher, and not under the face to avoid the impression of a double chin. Neither do you want the camera looking up your nostrils (hairy or not)! If your table isn’t at an appropriate height, stack a couple of books to give a bit of a platform to the laptop.
Another important thing to note is your distance from your camera. Sitting too close to it might end up distorting your facial features.
A clutter-free mind as well as background
Keep your workspace and the area around it clean and clutter-free. While not everyone may have the luxury of a quiet, designated workspace at home, you can still choose to sit in a tidy space against a distraction-free background. It may be a solid wall or your balcony; what matters is how neat and organised the space is. A clean background also helps create a good, professional impression of you among colleagues.
Alternatively, you can set up a custom background on Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, whatever your organisation prefers to use for video meets.
Dress the part (at least what’s on-screen!)
It’s okay to not wear a suit while working from home but you shouldn’t look like you’ve literally risen from bed to be on that call. Loud, graphic t-shirts are a no-no, so are casual Hawaiian print shirts. Even if you’re wearing lounge pants, it doesn’t hurt to put on a crisp, clean shirt before you sit on the video call. Not only does it make you look a lot more presentable but also gives the impression of knowing and meaning your business.
Time for self-care on that Google Calendar
Impromptu meetings are rare; even then you’d probably have a couple of minutes on your hand. Make sure your face looks clean and moisturized. Dry, flaky skin is a big no. If you have a beard, use a beard oil or crème to ensure that it looks well-groomed and is trimmed. Never sit for a meeting with dishevelled hair. If your hair is unruly, take some hair wax or setting clay to tame it and style as you’d like.
Looking your best on Zoom calls is no herculean task when you follow these basics. At the end of the day, what you bring to the table is always more important than what gets hidden behind it!