One moment we were having lunch buffets with a group of 10 other colleagues, next thing you know, we are conducting virtual meetings on a screen in our living room.
Living with COVID-19 has changed our lifestyles tremendously, one of which is the way we work and conduct meetings.
Working from home became something by default since 2020 when the pandemic worsened.
There were no advanced warnings that we will be stuck at home for staggering periods, no manuals of what a virtual meeting is. To many, Zoom and Google Meet is a foreign word.
Fast forward nearly two years later, virtual meetings and remote hiring have become a norm in many organizations. One common question still lies in many of us – how can I look good in front of the camera?
You know that you must continue looking presentable and maintain your professionalism. It will be too weird to appear in your PJs and coffee mug in hand with a messy bun held by a chopstick.
Here are 10 tips to help you look good in virtual meetings without feeling any less stifled!
Create a space
Keeping in mind that virtual meetings are now part of our lives, consider a space in your home designated only for work. This segregation is also helpful in framing our approach to work and maintaining adequate professionalism.
If you live in a small apartment and space is not to your advantage, allocate an area that is quiet and has sufficient light.
Avoid windows in the background
Backgrounds are important in virtual meetings.
Steer away from windows that are directly behind you as the light from the back will cast a shadow instead of lighting your face. Instead, opt for a space where the windows are in front or next to your working desk for optimum lighting. Do not cast doubt on your identity!
Alternatively, you can use roller blinds to block out the direct sunlight from blinding you during your virtual meetings.
Whether you prefer the motorized blinds or manual ones, Ecohaus has them in different types of fabrics for different usage, and they are waterproof thus easy to maintain. If you need to customize your blinds especially for apartments with oddly angled walls, their friendly staff will be able to give you a quotation for that too. And most importantly they are cost-effective!
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Use a neutral background
A blank wall painted in a neutral color is the best background to have!
Please do not misconstrue that the interior design of your home needs to change drastically.
It would be ideal to consider having a clean wall as your background.
If there is a constraint, consider using a Zoom background that is neutral and not distracting to others.
Furniture is important
Imagine if the meeting goes on for 2 hours, but you only have a stool to sit on. Not only will you have difficulties focusing, but you also will not be as productive.
Invest in appropriate furniture and ergonomic chairs that keep you comfortable while working. With a comfy chair, you wouldn’t need to worry about those last-minute virtual meetings, and you might want to show it off during your meeting. *wink*.
Use your laptop and not your phone
Although using your mobile phone for virtual meetings might be more convenient, it may not be the way to go to impress your boss.
There are limited display options on the mobile app, for example, Zoom Mobile can only display four faces while on the laptop, you can see your entire department in that one meeting. The video resolution also differs greatly on mobile and the laptop. With a bigger screen, you can navigate the options easily, conduct your presentations and look at the charts and graphs more clearly.
Test your audio and visual before entering a meeting
It is good to develop a habit of testing the audio and visual before entering a virtual meeting. This ensures that you do not make an undesired loud entrance. Create a habit of performing the following checks:
- Ensure your webcam is at eye level, and not your nostrils, nor your chin.
- Ensure to mute your microphone and turn off the webcam. You may choose these as default settings. Upon the formal commencement of the meeting, turn on your webcam as a courtesy or let it remain switched off if there is no requirement for it.
Adjusting your camera before a meeting ensures that you do not fumble as you turn on your webcam.
Dress like how you would dress for work
Rocking up to a virtual meeting in T-shirts may be appropriate for some company cultures, but not so for others.
Dress like how you would dress to work even when working from home.
It is essential to maintain your professionalism despite working in an environment that is generally comforting and relaxed.
Your face is the center of attention
Likewise, as our faces are the main thing that the webcam picks up, it would be good to don light makeup for meetings at home. Consider applying tinted moisturizer to even out your skin tone and applying some lip balm before a virtual meeting.
Use Zoom’s ‘Touch up my appearance’ feature
Zoom has got you covered! Quite literally as this function is like a beauty filter where it can help smoothen out your skin tone.
Go to Video Settings and click on “touch up my appearance”. If you have used a beauty filter app before, it is similar!
Keep good connection and use accessories when needed
Having a good home Wi-Fi connection sometimes can make or break a meeting. It can be embarrassing and annoying to have a choppy internet connection where your video feed ends up distorted and disruptive to the meeting.
If you are constantly engaged in virtual meetings, it may be good to consider investing in a microphone and clear headphones for audio clarity. This makes you look extra professional without having to stop the meeting and say “sorry, please repeat, I did not catch that.”
Another tip to look good in virtual meetings is to look at the camera and not the picture when you are talking. It might seem awkward and uncomfortable at first, but looking at the camera creates better eye contact. Just like talking to the other party face to face.
With these 10 simple tips in mind, now you can attend and host virtual meetings like a pro and work optimally and efficiently.