Having a stylish yet professional image during video calls has now become a necessity. Over the last six months, work relationships have mostly developed through platforms such as Zoom, Teams, and Skype, and being aware of the impression given on camera is vitally important. A strong self-image will increase confidence, and in turn, make online communication far more effective.
Set the Scene
As a starting point, it’s crucial to find a comfortable work station. This could be an entire room, the kitchen table, or just a bedroom corner. What matters is that it should be a calm place, with good Wi-Fi connection and if possible, natural lighting.
An environment based around these simple principles should help you to stay focused during even the longest of virtual business meetings.
Framing during video conferences is also worth thinking about seriously. Get it wrong, and you can offset your entire appearance, distracting the audience from what you have to say.
Always try to leave a few inches above your head and to include your torso/arms on camera – how can you show off your outfit otherwise!
Adjust the computer to eye level, placing it on a flat surface and supporting it with books if needed. Avoid holding it on your lap, otherwise teammates will enjoy a privileged view of your chin and everything beneath it.
Try to place your computer near a window, natural light is your friend, more so than any makeup secret. Make sure you have a neutral background behind you that doesn’t create too much distraction, like a clean wall or bookcase.
However, it is always good to add a personal touch reflecting your tastes and interests, so consider including in the frame a plant, a print on the wall or a decorative object.
Pin ups and violent film posters are probably worth avoiding on this one too.
Pick the right style
What we wear can really affect our credibility. At home, we rightly tend to be comfortable, but if we show ourselves in unprofessional clothing we may not be taken seriously. As clothing influences mood, picking the right outfit can boost energy levels.
That said, our advice is to wear something comfortable, and if you want you can get away with sweatpants for bottoms, but some effort is required for the top. Tracksuits and a shirt are the ultimate smart casual look after all.
If it is an important video call, perhaps you should think about a formal outfit. Button-ups work great, especially with some elegant details around the neck, like an interesting tie or a soft-fabric blouse knotted in a pussy bow.
Jackets and blazers are also approved, but only those with a more informal cut. Alternatively, a simple cardigan still makes you trendy and chic.
Whilst for those Monday mornings where you really don’t feel like getting dressed up or you may have overslept, opt for a simple monotone t-shirt (but make sure it’s clean and well ironed) and perhaps enrich it with a funky accessory.
You can throw on a pair of statement-making glasses, cool earrings, or even tie up your hair with a coloured scrunchie for a little bit of flair. If it really is the worst-case scenario, just put your hair in a ponytail and call it a day.
Regarding the choice of colours, they can be either neutral or lively, the important thing is not to ‘sink’ in the background but wear something that creates a contrast. Crazy patterns are not recommended, as they could distract other participants from what you are communicating.
Much of how you come across in a video call depends on attitude. Always try to ‘arrive’ on time or a few minutes early, especially if you are the host. Greet everyone as you enter the call and make the necessary introductions.
It is good to show yourself equipped with a notebook and pen and have ready any documents or slides that you may need to present.
Generally, the attention threshold during video calls is very low. To keep your audience engaged, focus on facial expressions and voice tone. Speak calmly but firmly, using body language to reinforce your words.
Certainly, a little make-up can help to define the gaze, but always remember that showing off energy and positivity will make you more memorable than any smart outfit or background.