Right about now, I think we’re all missing our friends, our colleagues, and that chat with the grocery checker or food server. Fortunately, online meeting platforms like Zoom let us join in social activities (yoga class, church group, family meetings, online games) beyond our immediate home groups. You may also be using Zoom in place of your work meetings—even job interviews are happening remotely.
When the cameras are rolling, it’s important to be a good Zoom citizen, especially if you are using Zoom for work. Here’s how. (If you’re not already using Zoom, it can look super intimidating! This easy-to-follow guide can help you get started joining friends or colleagues, or hosting your own meetup.)
How to Get Videoconferencing Right
What would you typically wear to the office? To an interview? The same rules apply on video, so dress the part; you don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed (even if you did). For a typical workday, dressy casual or casual chic is a great look to rock from your home office. For an interview, stick with proper interview attire. Just remember that busy or tight patterns may look garbled on camera, so make sure your shirt, blouse, or tie isn’t a visual distraction. And remember to dress the entire part; just because your colleagues can only see you from the waist up doesn’t mean you should rock your dinosaur pajama pants. A good rule of thumb: don’t wear anything on camera that you wouldn’t wear in public.
You may be more comfortable behind a table or desk, but what if you tried standing up? Standing during a meeting lets your body language flow more conversationally, as if you were giving a group presentation. You can look more natural than if you were hunched over a table. It also gets the blood flowing, especially for those early morning meetings! Just be sure your camera catches you at a flattering angle and isn’t pointed up your nose.
On video conference, your environment is front and center! Choose a quiet, well-lit room with lighting on the front of your face. It may be tough if you have kids or pets at home, but try to find a place with good acoustics, without loud background noises or eerie echoes. If you have a dedicated home office or a guest bedroom, that’s perfect! Needless to say, the bathroom is not a good choice.
Also be aware of what you are doing while on the call, because your actions may be distracting to others. Zoom’s default setting snaps the screen to the participant making the most noise. You don’t want this to show you preparing a sandwich, disagreeing with your spouse, or blowing your nose, so keep your audio muted unless you have something immediate to add. Also do your best to stay physically present (you don’t have to make noise for your actions to be distracting), or if you must multitask, turn off your webcam.
Your Focal Point
We’re all guilty of making weird gestures and facial expressions on video conference. It’s so easy to forget that other people can see you! Remember to keep your eyes focused on the camera and the speaker’s video feed—this is the equivalent of in-person eye contact, and you know how important that is. Not only will you appear fully engaged, but you’ll be able to better gauge their reactions and respond to the conversation. Resist that urge to watch yourself!
Everyone appreciates a good Zoom citizen, so do your best to roll with the cameras. It may help to remember that, in most cases, these people already know you; you are just maintaining your personal and professional relationships online while you can’t meet in person. So have fun and be yourself!
I’m Kay Hunter, Orange County image consultant for men and women over 40. I transform mature professionals, active adults, and seniors into more successful and confident versions of themselves. By expressing yourself through style and fashion, you’ll get that boost of confidence, visibility, and value you need to get to the next level. Enhance the joy of living—because great style is ageless!