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Many of us are now using Skype, Zoom or other video conferencing solutions to interact with the clients, colleagues and even potential employers. It wasn't that long ago we were helping thousands of Australian's suit up and look great for in-person meetings, interviews, events and special occasions.
Now we are helping our customers present their very best for remote video meetings & events with just the right outfit and a little bit of know-how from our 40+ years experience.
Here are our top 9 tips on how to make a positive impression during a video conference call:
1) Your focused attention.
Knowing where to look is number 1. It is always recommended that you look directly at your camera so as to give the other/others participating in the video call the impression you are focused and have maintained eye contact. Of course, reverting your attention back to the screen when others are speaking should be a given.
2) Dress Professionally.
Your appearance speaks volumes about you and certainly about the initial first impression you’ll be leaving those participating in the video call. People want to know they are dealing with professionals and they also want to know that you can be taken seriously. So, pyjamas should never be an option - even if out of view. Men should consider either wearing a suit, or at least a shirt and tie, and women should dress professionally in a nice blouse or dress. If you dress as if you were going into the company office or an important meeting you will
3) Dressing for the Camera.
If you have used apps like Zoom, Skype or the various other video tools out there, you will be well aware that the audio & video quality isn't always optimal. For this reason, it's always best to keep in mind your appearance doesn’t detract from the interview. Best to avoid complicated & distracting fabrics such as bold pinstripe suits etc as these tend to look somewhat strange for others when you move around. Neutral colours and blues seem to be much easier on the eye as opposed to stark whites, dark blacks, and various other bolder colours. Best to do a couple of trial runs to experiment prior to going live.
4) Use Headphones.
We’ve all be on the receiving end of a call where we have had to listen to everything we’ve said echoed back to us. It is a frustrating experience, to say the least. If your setup is equipped with a higher than normal “quality” microphone, this should do an adequate job of preventing this. However, the easiest way to prevent the dreaded “echo” debacle is by utilizing a pair of headphones.
5) Use a microphone.
What is the number 1 reason why people stop watching a video on Facebook or Youtube? Here is a hint - It isn't the quality or content of the video. Poor sound quality is the most offputting thing about online videos and the number 1 reason people will stop watching.
If you want to be able to speak with confidence and influence your audience make sure that your device has a great internal microphone or just buy a USB microphone. They are cheaper than you think and well worth the cost if you are involved in regular online meetings.
6) Be ever mindful of background noises.
Pick a quiet space where you won't be disturbed. Having an echo is one thing however the last thing you’ll need is for your video meeting to be interrupted by a barking dog or the sound of children playing in the background. Street noise should also be a consideration as that too could potentially be a distraction you may not be anticipating.
7) Lighting, particularly improper rear lighting.
It's important you can be seen clearly by those you’re speaking with, so make sure you don’t sit with your back to a strong light source. Your webcam will often adjust to the ambient light of the room leaving you looking much like a covert silhouette. Best to turn towards the light source if possible so both your face and background are equally well lit.
8) Your environment
Where you choose to conduct your video calls can often say as much about you as how you dress. Think about what can be seen in the background and try to find a spot that is free from distractions. After all, the focus should be one you rather than your choice of home decor.
9) Familiarise yourself with the technology in advance
If you have an upcoming video call make sure you get to know the software first. At the very least you should know how to mute yourself, activate the camera, present your screen and use the chat. When participating in a video meeting there is nothing worse than waiting for someone to learn how to use the software while on the call. You don't want the other participants remembering you for that reason rather than your good qualities.
At the end of the day, you could treat your Skype/Zoom video meetings like you would any face-to-face meeting, and just use your best judgment in the moment. Dress in the most appropriate way the best suits the type of meeting and company, and consider seeking out a second opinion on your overall appearance before you go live.