It was already a trend long before COVID-19 changed the world – meetings and interviews from home using your laptop.
Of course, there are far more important global issues right now than how to look your best in a meeting. But that being said, we’ve received a lot of interest from existing and new clients about this very topic. It’s about more than just feeling self-conscious about how you look, it’s about feeling confident, projecting the best you, and being able to convey a message to people without them being distracted by something.
So with that in mind, here are our 10 tips:
1. Be on time. This is no different from any other meeting. The person or people you’re meeting with have put this time aside to meet with you so be on time at least. Even better, be a minute or two early, but not more than three minutes early as some online programs will send an email to other attendees that you’re “waiting” for them which could create a false sense of urgency. If you aren’t familiar with the technology being used, give yourself a half-hour before the meeting to make yourself familiar (see tip 5).
2. Look the part. Whatever your role, be sure you’re dressed appropriately at least from the waist up. In general, you won’t need to worry about the waist-down (but you never know). Select your clothes with your background in mind – you don’t want to blend in our stand out inappropriately.
3. Choose your background. Just like your wardrobe, people are making judgments about you based on your background. If you are trying to project professionalism a bookshelf, television or office setting is appropriate. Don’t select areas with windows in the background or the glare will cause an issue.
4. Control your background. Remember this? ‘Nuff said. 🙂
5. Know your technology. Five-minute delays (or longer) because someone can’t figure out the technology are no longer cute and adorable for remote meetings. They’re annoying. If you’re an attendee just be sure your computer works with the technology being used and that your audio works. Hosting? Do a dry-run including testing your internet connection and audio. If you’re playing videos with sound, be sure people can hear them properly; most online programs have a setting for this that is defaulted to silent.
6. Lighting. You may not need to adjust but then again you may.
7. Position laptop to eye level or very slightly higher. Pet peeve. It’s not the normal positioning for your laptop.
Most of us look down at the screen as we work so when we connect remotely we’re looking down. First, that’s bad ergonomics. Second, think about this for a moment. Imagine speaking in-person with someone who is two feet taller than you. It’s not comfortable. Also positioning your laptop higher makes you look better and eliminates any hint of a double chin or shadows under your eyes.
8. Look at the camera lens – not the screen. Pet peeve #2. So that person you’re speaking with who is two feet taller than you is also looking about a foot below your eyes. Hey, eyes up here buddy. If in the course of your meeting you’re going through data on a screen that’s understandable but in those moments when you’re supposed to be talking with someone, look at the camera.
9. Attitude. Keep your eyes steadier than normal, don’t let them wander. We still treat computer interviews and meetings as phone conversations and tend to look all around the room. That doesn’t work well in a video discussion. Pay attention to me. And have a good look at your resting face… do you have resting b-face?
10. Turn off Outlook. If you’re sharing your screen this is a must. Even if you aren’t sharing your screen turn outlook off and remove anything that might distract you.
Before COVID-19 changed the World, just over 5% of Canadians worked from home. That will continue to increase as technology improves. Like anything else, video calls require a bit of practice.