How to look professional during video calls

Whether you’re using Zoom Meetings or another program, these tips will help you look and feel ready for business.

Joining on a video call is not as simple as it seems when you’re working from home. You’re in a space that’s not usually set up for work, and you are probably not dressed for the office.

Whether you’re using Zoom Meetings or another program, these tips will help you look and feel ready for business.

The space

Make your set up look professional by putting your computer or laptop on a steady surface, desk or the table. Try to have it at eye-level and a distance away from your face. Never put your laptop on your lap—the angles and closeness to your face will look informal.

If you don’t have a study area with neutral background, you can still create a professional-looking set up. Even if you’re working from the kitchen table, you can mask the background that your colleagues don’t need to see.

Stephen Fenech, Australian tech expert, recommends jazzing up your meetings with free background images from Getty, Canva or Star Wars.

“Each of the images are designed to make you seem like you’re in a different place or just provide a more pleasing scene,” said Stephen.

Using these services, you can set your background as a café, the Pyramids of Giza, or even outer space. To find out how, visit Stephen’s instructions on Techguide.

Self-styling

While no one expects you to wear a suit, changing clothes is a good idea. Doing so shows that take work seriously and gets you in the right mindset.

Athina, freelance stylist, recommends aiming for a casual Friday-look.

“You wouldn’t wear paint-smattered sweatpants and an old t-shirt to a meeting in the office, so why would you do that when it’s located somewhere else? You’re technically still at work, so dress accordingly,” said Athina.

For the top, wear a shirt, blouse or dress with a collar or round neck. Colours and prints work well, especially if the lighting is low in the room. To brighten up your face, add a scarf or earrings.

Although you can only be seen from the chest upwards, beware that you may have to get up during the call to grab something. If comfortable, wear jeans or a pencil skirt. Or, if you’re going to be sitting for a long time, go pants or A-line skirt. Tracksuits and leggings are fine too—but only if they are in good nick and fit well.

Athina also has some great advice for managers and leaders.

“Maintain an air of seniority and lead by example by wearing a dressier shirt or blouse. This will also set a subtle message to other staff members to follow suit if they can see that you are making an effort and it’s business as usual.”

The microphone and headset

Avoid featuring in video-conferencing bingo by ensuring your microphone and headset are working in advance of the meeting.

Monica, a freelancer from Perth, says that you “shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good headset and microphone.

“Get a noise cancelling headset with a decent microphone. That means you can hear what’s going on and the people you are chatting to can hear you.”

And finally, lighting

Another star of video-conference bingo, is low level light so that you appear as a dark shadow against a light background in your online meeting. Ensure that you have light falling on your face. You can achieve this with natural light from a window that is at the front or side of you. Or you can use a desk lamp that shines down on you (not up, or you will look spooky).

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