How to Not Embarrass Yourself on Zoom Calls
Whether we like it or not, quarantine has forced many of us to enter the world of video. We are using new conferencing software like FaceTime, GoToMeeting, and Zoom, and often we have NO clue what we are doing. When chatting with co-workers, bosses, and managers, one thing is for sure… you definitely want to look your best!
I’m going to give you 10 tips to help you look amazing on these video conference calls …and share the world’s most embarrassing Zoom story! This is your example of what NOT to do.
#1 | Good Lighting
Good lighting is a MUST. And, the great news is… you don’t need professional lighting and a fancy set up to do it. The best lighting often comes from simply sitting in front of a window. Natural lighting should light your whole face and background beautifully.
The best way to test your lighting is to move your phone, device or computer screen around your room. Check out different areas to see which light looks best on-screen before you start the call. You’ll see very quickly where the great lighting is.
Kaitlyn, our new Creative Director, showed up to a Zoom meeting recently and it looked like she was a floating head. Her hair and clothes were black and so was the background. It was hilarious, but definitely not a good look.
#2 | Consider Your Background
Pay attention to what’s going to be behind you in the background. People notice this stuff. You want a nice, clean and organized background. You don’t want piles of laundry or garbage lying around. So, before you start your call, tidy up. I usually set-up the video preview first and see what’s happening in my background. If I notice anything sloppy or unusual, I move it before the call starts.
If you aren’t happy with your background, there’s even the option to use virtual backgrounds! A bit cheesy, but it works!
#3 | MY MOST CRUCIAL ZOOM TIP TO AVOID EMBARRASSMENT – DO NOT DISTURB!!
Okay, are you ready for the world’s most embarrassing Zoom story? Cause I’m pretty sure no one can top this one:
Tell EVERYONE in your house what your video call schedule is. And, take it one step further and put up a Do Not Disturb sign on your door! You don’t want people barging in on you during a Zoom conference or worse… waltzing into your background completely NAKED. Yes, THAT happened. My husband, Chris, came out of the shower completely naked and in plain view of my caller. I was mortified, and shared the snafu with my husband later on, who simply shrugged and said, “Lucky girl.”
#4 | Pay Attention
You might not think people can tell whether your full attention is on the video call, but they can! So, pay attention and follow along. Not only does it help you keep up with the conversation, it helps you look more engaged and interested. Don’t look away, constantly check your phone, or open up new browser windows on your computer.
The same goes for your facial expressions. Look like you want to be there. Look interested and engaged and it will show in your behaviour. I often try to keep a subtle smile, so I don’t look angry.
Treat this like a real meeting and remember to show respect.
#5 | Good Posture
Another thing to consider is your posture and how you are actually sitting in your chair. You should sit up, with your shoulders back, and your head up with an engaged facial expression. Good posture shows you are paying attention and taking it seriously. It makes you look alert, energetic, and ready to get involved.
Don’t twirl around in your swivel chair, slouch so slow people can only see the top of your head or have your hand on your forehead sending the signal that you’d rather be just about anywhere else.
#6 | What to Wear
It’s important to look professional and make a great impression. What you wear is a key part of that. I recommend you wear a solid colored blouse or jacket (no prints which can conflict with the camera). I would wear colors like red, bright blue, yellow, something that pops. If you want to wear sweatpants (or no pants) on the bottom, that’s up to you! 😉
If you need to get up for any reason (go to the bathroom, grab something) you should turn off your camera and microphone. Don’t forget that one!
My video call uniform is a simple white camisole and a bright blazer.
#7 | Wear Jewelry
Wear jewelry that is impactful, but not distracting. A nice necklace or earrings is great! Jewelry gives the impression that you are dressing for success and taking this seriously. It shows that you have made an effort and are treating this call like a real business meeting (which it is!)
Avoid wearing large jewelry that will clank together like bangles or large, blinding metallic earrings. These have the potential to be distracting.
#8 | Do Your Hair
You really want to make an effort with your hair as well. Making an effort is the common theme with each aspect on this list. You want to show up as you would to an actual meeting. So that means no post-workout hair, no messy top knot, nothing that shows you didn’t try.
I would definitely brush your hair and manage any flyaways before your video call. It doesn’t have to be over the top.
#9| Do Your Makeup
Even minimal makeup says… I made an effort. Remember, our goal is to present ourselves like we would in a real business meeting.
I put a nice layer of foundation on because I often get red. My foundation neutralizes the redness in my skin. I also wear a pretty lipstick, and a cheek highlighter. I don’t overdo it, but a little goes a long way in these situations.
#10 | Technical Tips
As far as Zoom itself, there are a few features that make professional life on Zoom so much easier.
In “Video Settings”, there is a setting to touch up your face and skin. It’s a button that says, “Touch Up Appearance”. It actually does make a noticeable difference, and you should try it to see if you like the look.
Also, in the same “Video Settings”, click “Enable HD”. This improves the quality of your video and will definitely brighten your whole appearance and make your entire output better. A higher quality image will brighten everyone’s impression of your appearance on screen.
You should also consider your video angle. Do NOT shoot up at your face. The most flattering angle is shooting slightly down. The camera should be just above eye level.
Thanks for reading my simple tips for looking and acting more professional on video conference calls. The goal is to replicate a real meeting. That means not only focusing on looking your best, your, but also being mindful of your behavior. Show up like the boss you are; looking great, energetic and engaged.
Video conferencing is no different from face-to-face encounters. Simply act as you would in a real meeting, and you will be taken you more seriously, and treated with more respect. And, lastly, don’t forget to learn from my mistakes. Nudity on your video calls is definitely frowned upon. 😉
If you want style inspiration, you might want to order or download my Style Made Simple guide here. If you use this link to sign up for my email list, you will get 40% off the guide! Let me know if you have any questions!