When it comes to virtual meetings, video calls and remote communication, it’s imperative to look as good on camera as you do off camera. This is especially important in this age of telecommuting.
No matter if you’re virtually meeting with a client, colleagues or your boss, your on-camera presentation will either make or break your call. You have to put thought into what you’re wearing on camera, the lighting and even where you place the camera. It’s easy to forget a lot of these things, but they’re crucial to a successful remote meeting.
So what do you need to consider exactly? Let’s talk about it:
Lighting for Video Calls
Lighting might be the single most important thing to consider when getting ready for a video call or virtual meeting.
When it comes to video calls, avoid any kind of overhead lighting. Placing your light source directly above you will cast many unflattering shadows on your face, especially around your eyes. Unfortunately, most people have overhead lights as the default lighting in their homes.
If you want to look good for a remote meeting, we recommend using three soft light sources. Ideally, you’ll place two soft lights behind your webcam to the left and right. Together, they’ll fill all the hard shadows on your face. Place the third soft light behind you to act as rim light. This light will help separate you from the background.
As a quick tip, video cameras are known for highlighting oily areas and blemishes. Everything is heightened because the light is reflecting off these areas. You can use a setting powder or oil blotting sheets to prevent any shines.
Depending on how you position the camera, you can either make others one the call feel comfortable speaking with you or intimidated and distracted. You should raise your camera lens to either to eye level tor a little higher than eye level.
Typically, camera angles that are higher are much more flattering. When you position your camera lower than eye level, it can make you look intimidating. In cinema, lower angles are used to signal superiority and power — things you want to avoid conveying in a business meeting.
Also, no one wants to be looking up your nose through the entire meeting. Awkward.
An eye-level angle is a neutral perspective, so it neither communicates superiority or inferiority. This is the closest you will get to real life.
You can also opt to slightly raise the camera above eye-level. Above eye-level angles can help communicate vulnerability, making it easier to speak freely.
For more information about camera angles, read our complete guide.
Audio is just as important as video when it comes to making a good impression. Before you enter a call, figure out what microphone you’re going to use and test it. Your coworkers might be okay with a few technical issues, but it won’t go down too well if you have to reschedule because your mic isn’t working.
Most laptops and earphones have built-in mics, so if you’re meeting occasionally, then they should suffice. However, if you’re consistently in virtual meetings, we recommend getting a comfortable headset or even a dedicated USB microphone and a good pair of headphones. These options will give you a good balance between comfort and audio quality.
How you dress
You may be at home, but you still need to dress as you normally would for a meeting — and yes, that includes pants. While your upper half might be the only part in frame, you never know when you might have to stand up. Plus, you’ll feel more confident and professional when properly dressed.
That said, there are a few clothing pieces you should avoid wearing in front of a camera. Avoid wearing white, bright red and all-black outfits. If you’re wearing a white top, it will glow and be very distracting. Wearing an all-black outfit will erase all the definition in your figure and will make you look shapeless. Bright reds can bleed on camera, creating a hazy halo.
We recommend sticking to classic, solid colors like teal, cobalt and purple. Avoid patterns that might take focus away from your face. Also, if a pattern is too tight, it can cause a moiré effect, which looks like a very distracting buzz.
It’s not just you that need to look good on camera. The setting behind you needs to look professional as well. For a good rule of thumb when setting up your meeting space, if you wouldn’t want it in your face-to-face meeting, it shouldn’t be in your virtual meeting. Remove anything distracting and unprofessional.
Also, be sure to let everyone around you know you’re on a video call. You could put a sign up on your door notifying everyone not to disturb you.
Come prepared to talk and discuss like you normally would in a face-to-face meeting. Some believe simply because the meeting is virtual, it’s less formal. This is a mistake. Video conference calls are closer to face-to-face meetings than you might think.
Come prepared with all your talking points written down ready for you to go over. Also, be comfortable talking in front of a camera. This just comes with practice, but even professionals can get anxiety talking into the lens. Try to relax and focus on the meeting.
Remote meetings allow professionals to meet anywhere at any time. However, if you’re not prepared for the virtual meeting, it could hurt clients’ impressions of you. It could even be detrimental in a virtual job interview. Implement everything we discussed today and you will be light-years ahead of so many others.