Insights | By Howard Tiersky

How to Be Your Best on Zoom in Business? Think Like a Teenage Girl!

Elevate your Zoom presence instantly

Forced to work remotely because of coronavirus, we now spend our days video conferencing using Zoom and other platforms. 

But many people in business fail to make the most of it without knowing the key principles of looking good on a webcam.

In fact, they probably look terrible without even realizing it because they’re not paying attention. 

It’s one thing to prepare for face to face meetings at the office, but there is a different set of factors to consider when you’re participating in virtual meetings. 

This can impact not only your presentation, but also the professional relationships at work that you try so hard to nurture.

Who can you turn to for help? Teenage girls!

They have an amazing knack for working the camera. They know how to find the flattering angles and set up the perfect shot that leaves them looking great in their online videos.

If it seems like that entails taking a thousand selfies to learn, don’t worry. 

You can feign that level of mastery in no time by following this simple checklist for creating post-worthy videos.

LIGHT

Find a brightly lit room and make sure your face is lit evenly. See how well-lit our photo of the teenage girls are?

The goal is to remove the harsh shadows on your face. 

A Ring Light can be super beneficial and very inexpensive. 

Or you can just sit facing a window. 

The light outside will give you a beautiful natural glow. 

Of course, the light through a window will vary a lot during the day—sometimes it’s too bright, sometimes it’s dark—so you may need to adjust.

BACKGROUND

Take a fresh look at the room, check what’s in frame while you’re recording, and determine what to fix. 

Keep the background uncluttered, which may mean moving to another room or moving your camera/laptop, so you are shooting a different angle with a different background (look at that neat background that our teenage girls chose for their photo).

Oftentimes we stop noticing the clutter in our house—wires, piles of laundry, and toys scattered around.

We just stop seeing them, but the person on the other end DOES see them.

ATTIRE

Dress with the right level of professionalism and formality for your industry and the meeting you are attending. 

How would you dress if it were in person? 

Similarly, make sure your hair and makeup are delivering the impact you wish. In our sample photo, the girls look like they’ve taken care of their personal appearance to look good. 

Remember, participants may see your face and hair even closer than if you were in person, so bear that in mind.

CAMERA LEVEL

The most flattering camera position should generally be at eye level or slightly higher. It’s the exact angle that our teenage girls used in taking the photo we have above.

The downward angle prevents a double chin from showing and makes you look less intense. 

And despite the term “LAPtop,” if you video conference with a laptop on your lap, you are almost certainly giving people a view up your nose. 

Nobody wants to see that stuff.

EYE CONTACT

Any meeting can feel disjointed when we don’t make eye contact. 

But because you can’t really do that online, you can simulate it by looking directly at the camera.

By looking into the webcam, you’ll appear focused and attentive to everything that’s being shared.

Remember that when you look into the eyes of the video image of the person you are talking to, that is NOT the same as looking at the camera.

You may be looking at the image of their eyes, but they may not perceive that you are looking directly at them. 

KNOW where the camera is, and try to position videos of people you are talking to NEAR the camera so you will naturally be inclined to look in that direction (for example, placing the gallery video panel at the TOP of your screen rather than the bottom). 

The bottom line is to look directly at the camera rather than the person when you want to make an impactful point. 

This can take some practice, but you will get the hang of it. Take it from our teenage girls--they’re all looking straight at the camera as they took their photo.

ENERGY

Show some enthusiasm. When you do, just like our teenage girls in the photo, you’re telling your colleagues that you’re happy to be there talking with them.

But if you’re sluggish, you’ll look bored and indifferent. 

People get worn out from so many Zoom calls, and the type of energy you put on during meetings directly impacts your colleagues' impression of you. 

Be aware that when your camera is on, everybody in the meeting can see your body language.

POSTURE/MOVEMENTS

Sit up straight. 

Uncross your arms. 

Keep your movements relaxed. 

Smile. 

If you catch yourself fidgeting, take a deep breath and steady yourself.

In the case of our teenage girls, they are exuding energy and enthusiasm.

In addition, get a good headset, preferably one with noise-canceling technology, so your colleagues will be able to hear you more clearly. 

Teenage girls have high standards when it comes to their headphones. I know because I have two teenage girls and I see the credit card statements! 

They know that how they sound is just as important as how they look.

A few additional tips: choose a quiet environment that’s free of distractions, and plug-in your computer for better connection. 

Dropouts in audio or video as well as background noises like dogs barking or sirens muddy the perception you are trying to create.

Remember, whenever you’re on Zoom, you’re going to send a lot of nonverbal cues that will impact the way you present your ideas.

Everything that’s visible and audible on your video, including your lighting, background, and vocal tone, will affect your overall impression and determine whether you’ll succeed in making people interested in what you have to say or whether you will be perceived as someone who is not to be taken too seriously.

Click the link below to access my Amazon best-selling book, Impactful Online Meetings, to learn how to drive participation and better results from your online meetings.

https://www.impactfulonlinemeetings.com/book

Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM`s
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.
Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM's
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.