The world has jumped on the online meeting bandwagon. Accelerated by Covid-19, conference calls are now a regular part of business. Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft, Skype are software leaders in this video conferencing world.

While people are now much more familiar with online meetings, people are often not presenting themselves well on camera.

So, what mistakes can you easily avoid making? Here are 6 tips for better online meetings –  to help you act and look and present more professionally.

1. Before the online meeting

First up. Don’t presume it’s going to work smoothly. What system are you using? Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat? Do you have the correct meeting link? Software/App on your computer or phone downloaded? 

Bandwidth – check. (Check your speed on a site such as https://www.speedtest.net/) Is your screen going to freeze? The audio goes crackly. Do a test call with someone else. Check internet speed.

If sharing a computer, check the computer isn’t double-booked for a meeting. Audio settings may also need to be checked. Are the correct input and outputs set?

Pre Meeting Appearance Check

Do you have appropriate clothing on? By this, I mean, appropriate to the meeting, such as even though you are at home, what are the expectations of what you should be wearing. Even if it is just from the waist-line up. Also, make sure it is not too revealing of body parts that could embarrass you and the associates. Finally, are your clothes colourings going across on the video?

You also want to be checking your face in the mirror, so that’s all good. No bits of lunch between your teeth. To make sure everything is looking suitable. I often put the camera just on before the meeting, to check that the image others are getting of me is working for me. 

What angle do you have your screen at? If too low, put something under it. We don’t want people to be looking up your nose. Aim for the camera to be just above your eye line. This is also a more flattering camera angle for your face.

2. How to look better on a Zoom Camera Meeting

Look down the camera, not just off to the side.

You would want to make yourself look presentable in your zoom calls and not appear with your bed hair. Take the time to brush your hair or just tie it into a ponytail. It does make a difference! Don’t have the time to untangle your hair? Pull all the hair together and make a messy or clean bun! Both look great with all kinds of outfits.

Another basic thing that most people tend to forget before appearing for zoom calls is to apply lip balm. You surely don’t want to end up with bruised, dry, and bloody lips during a professional meeting right? So take 2 seconds and apply that lemon flavoured lip balm of yours that’s been lying in your drawer ever since you bought it!

It’s perfectly alright and in fact, makes you more human if you are facing issues with dark eye bags. You’re working amidst a pandemic and it’s okay to get those due to lack of sleep. However, what you can do to make it better is use a little bit of concealer underneath those pretty eyes. It can make you look alive and it might even be able to boost up your confidence. If you still feel dead with the concealer on, coat a single layer of mascara on your lashes and you’re good to go!

You can also do the same for hiding skin blemishes that you’re not comfortable with showing. Use foundations or concealers. Tinted moisturizers can also do the trick if you’re not into concealers or foundations.

One more tip to take into account is making sure you have clean glasses on before starting the meeting. It’s not okay to have on greasy-looking glasses during a meeting. Not only will cleaning the glasses make you look good but it will also help you to see clearly. 

It honestly doesn’t take a lot to be ‘Zoom call ready.’ Use the tips given above and maybe put on a little lipstick when you’re tired of your everyday look? It’ll surely do the trick! Apart from setting up your physical appearance, you should also think about your nerves when you’re “on”.

computer on desk, post it notes
Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

 You should especially try to avoid nervous movements, as these will make you look unsettled. Take a few deep breaths and give yourself a pat on the back saying ‘you’ve got this!’ The rest will fall into place effortlessly. Meditating also helps if you want to try it out!

 Lastly, always try to look ‘down the camera’. Use your phone’s camera to make sure you’re sitting or faced to your favoured angle. So, when the call begins, do not let your eyes wander off to the sides because it’ll make you look like you’re not paying attention. Instead, look straight down the camera. It will also make you look calm and confident like you know what you’re doing.

How to light a conference call

Lighting makes a huge difference. For a start, bad lighting can add years to your perceived age! In regards to lighting, I’m not talking about lighting for a professional setup, such as if you are a YouTuber. The simple adjustment of light can make a big difference. Such as try to use natural light if possible.

 Or a simple desk lamp to add definition and clarity to you and your environment. If you plan to use natural light, think about the time of the day, where the sun will be. Adjustments to your broadcast setup may need to help make you “Pop” on camera. Some people simply have the room that they are broadcasting in too dark. Fix it.

3. The Background

The background of a meeting is a biggie topic. This can make national or international news when it goes wrong.

Your background should be tidy. It should be at least partly associated with your professional role. A bookcase is a classic look for coming across smart!

The “blur the background is a popular choice”, which I like to use, but it’s not full-proof. It limits what can be seen if you try to show something to others in your meeting. I also recently saw a blurred background, with a lot of background light, which made the person look like a ghost.

4. The unplanned support cast

Tell others in your property you are going online – where and what time. Close the door of the room you are in if possible.

You could even put a sign-up. If a window is in-frame, try to avoid “random” people potentially coming into shot.  

5. The length of the meeting

Time seems to be intensified online. So if you’re a talkative yapper in a normal meeting, you’ll become annoying and faster online. People talking over each other is a problem, as it’s harder to judge when others are starting or stopping to talk. So be aware of this. If it’s not crucial to talk – I usually find it’s best not to. Others appreciate that!

Depending on the meeting, you can go a long way politely nodding, and not saying much at all, if your input is not crucially required. Have your mic on silent, and just listen to others. It must be remembered that mics can be extremely sensitive to sound.

How loud are you? Not just for people in the meeting. Other people in your dwelling. You may want to dial it back a bit on the column for the others you are sharing your home with.

 Recording the meeting

This is you want to record a meeting, let all participants know this is happening. This reduces the chance of someone “Saying something they shouldn’t”. 

6. Others, in other rooms

Often people forget that they have others living in the house with them while being on Zoom calls. The result of this is usually people who are in the zoom call with you being able to hear what’s going around in your house. So, if you have a lot going on around you during the meeting, mute the microphone so that the noise doesn’t pass through. That way you can unmute it whenever you need to speak up.

After the meeting

Is my camera off? Have I left the meeting? Double-check. Several systems going could turn off the wrong one.

Summing Up

To sum it up, the key to acing your appearance and overall performance in a Zoom call is to be confident. Use the tips given above and do whatever you need to do to bring on that confident look and you’re good to go!

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