Zoom has become part of our daily lives. It’s time efficient, easier to schedule, eliminates travel and is a great platform for keeping in touch while social distancing.
However, it comes with one major challenge – how to look your best when on screen.
Have you ever gazed at the small screen during a chat and thought “yikes”. Well before your self-esteem is left in tatters please check out my 5 top tips on how to look better on Zoom.
It really is possible to avoid looking like a ‘ghoul lurking in the shadows’ without needing a whole production crew, makeup artist and CGI expert.
Prepare for the Meeting?
Before your meeting it’s important that you take some time to consider my five key points:
- What are you going to wear?
- Think about your background?
- What is your light source?
- Where’s your microphone located?
- Do you know where to look?
Consider these 5 points in advance of any meeting and you will feel assured about how you look and have more self-confidence about how you appear to others when on ZOOM.
1. What are you going to wear?
It’s not a vanity thing – it’s a sensible thing. We are often judged by the clothes we wear so it’s important you get this right.
Your clothes should be something you feel comfortable with and confident wearing. An outfit should reflect your personality, but keep in mind it should also be appropriate. So maybe don’t wear your bathrobe to the Monday meeting….unless you’re that type of office.
Choose colours that will contrast against your background. This ensures you don’t blend into it. Avoid extremes of colour such as ‘all white’ as this will affect your camera’s settings, resulting in poor picture quality…and finally a golden rule…hold back on the stripes.
2. Think about your background?
Backgrounds are a major part of the picture you present to others. To look your best, your background needs to look its best as well.
Keep things simple by avoiding fascinating clutter. Lights, lamps and windows in the background are the most common problems because when picked up by your camera’s sensors the result is often a great looking background – but a face hidden in the shadows.
Easy solutions… simply turn things off or move them out of the way. Think about shutting the blinds on windows. What you have to say is important and attention should always focus on you. A poor background can be a real distraction for anyone watching you…but just a few minutes of thought and a quick tidy up will pay off bigtime and keep you looking great.
3. What is your light source?
All cameras need light for them to work effectively. So you will need to have some kind of light on your face in order to be seen at your best.
You can make use of light from a window, a desk top lamp or a ceiling light in your room…lots of options. However… if the light on your face is too bright your face will disappear through overexposure… if it’s too low then it will be assigned to the shadows and your face should always have more light than your background.
The answer…try out as many variables as you can.
Switch things on and off, close or open curtains, point lamps at walls for a reflective light and just keep going until you find the lighting combination that works best for you.
Finally be aware that significant lighting changes may occur if you decide to alter your position during a ZOOM.
4. Where is your microphone located?
Sound and Vision go together so having made the effort to look good – it’s now time to consider how you are going to be heard.
The first step is to know where your microphone is and then talk in its direction. Most audio devices are described as being omnidirectional which really helps things, especially if you are someone who likes to turn their head a lot during a Zoom session.
It’s important to note that the closer you are to your microphone the louder you will sound…the further away, the quieter. You can avoid sudden changes in volume levels by trying to keep your mouth a constant distance from your microphone.
5. Do you know where to look?
You must learn to look at the camera when you’re talking or listening to others, and you must learn to listen without looking at the person speaking. This is probably the most difficult point to master on your road to looking better on ZOOM and while all five points matter this is the most significant.
As with any video conferencing software, in Zoom, your camera is the eye of your audience. One of our most intuitive responses when talking to others is to look them in the eye. In Zoom you look into your camera.
This will feel unnatural in the beginning. Through practice, you will master this skill and make your ZOOM communication better and stronger. Participants will feel that you are looking directly at them and as a result this will enhance their experience of you because in their mind…you’re making that critical eye contact.
So there you have it…my 5 key points. It took me several ZOOM meetings, before I felt comfortable with all 5 of these points. So please remember – if you get them right on your first attempt, you will be doing much better than I did.
If you’d like to get any more advice or simply want to check out what we do here at LA Media, why not get in touch via our website at lamedia.co.uk or give us a call on +44 (0)131 622 0220.