Video calling can be very intimidating. People are much more conscious of their appearance when they are looking in the mirror. Think about your daily routine, typically people check their appearance in the mirror periodically throughout the day when normal routines allow it, such as going to the bathroom or getting into the car. But with video calling being the centralized way of communication now, you are bombarded with the stimulus of looking at yourself in the “mirror” constantly, making you hyper-aware of your facial expressions and appearance. This can take away from your meetings or conferences. Here are some tips on how to look your best on zoom and shy away from the feeling that you are looking into a mirror, which can be over-stimulating.
Find a distraction-free zone
It is important that you are able to sit down and focus on video calls and conferences so that you are able to give your best presentation or focus on the information being given to you by others. This means finding a room or a part of your home where you can shut the door to distractions such as pets, kids, and any other things that would consume your attention. Make sure that everyone you live with knows you'll be on a call so that there is as little interruption as possible. This ensures that your mind can switch to focus mode and will allow much more productivity with the task you are working on.
Lighting lighting lighting!
Now that you have established your focus place, test out the lighting around the room to figure out where the best set up will be for your video calls. Natural light usually works best, however, you may have to play around with different lamps and parts of the room to figure out what gives the best artificial light if the conference or call falls in a time where natural light isn’t as prominent. Have fun with it and maybe figure out different places that work best for natural and artificial light!
You are the main focus!
Make sure that if you are getting on to a video call that you are the main focus. Your background should be clear and not distracting. You don’t have to go overboard on decorating or making the background pretty. Keep your work area clean and try to make the background as clear as possible so that people truly focus more on you. Zoom also has some backgrounds to choose from, just remember to think about the right place at the right time mentality. A professional call is not the time to use a funny or distracting Zoom background—because they do offer quite a few.
So where do I put the computer?
Imagine you are speaking at an in-person conference. Typically, the speaker is slightly above eye level, or in an auditorium with the attendees above eye level. Another possibility is everyone sitting in a room at eye level with a group speaking environment. So how can we replicate that feel over a Zoom call?
Prop your computer or web-camera up on some books so that your camera view is at or above eye level. This will make you look better than your computer looking up at you. Remember to still incorporate the elements from a distraction-free zone, lighting, and a clear background. You don’t have to have the computer or too high so that you can’t use it for what you need, but just make sure it is a few inches taller than a typical desk height. Also, make sure it is steady enough so that it isn’t shaky or unstable when you type or use the computer.
Give it a test run!
Zoom has a feature that lets you test your camera and microphone settings before joining the meeting. Take advantage of this and make sure that you have tied together all of the elements of making yourself appear the best you can. Make any last adjustments before getting on the call. Think of this opportunity as looking in the mirror one last time before leaving your house to go somewhere. But instead of leaving your house, you are joining a call or conference.
Out of sight out of mind!
Zoom also has another feature to hide your video from yourself so that others can see you but you won’t be holding on to focusing on your own picture. This way you can see more of how others are interacting with what you are saying or you can focus on the information being presented to you, depending on what your role in the meeting is. This is beneficial to you and should alleviate some of the stress that comes along with video calls.
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