If you are working from home amidst the coronavirus crisis, you must have to attend video conferences and meetings. It is always advisable you still look professional and put together in front of the webcam. This involves the lighting, your clothing, your space as well as your surrounding noises.
Here are some steps to conquer videoconferencing:
Dress to impress
Before you come on camera, you need to dress as you would in a regular office meeting. Although you’re working from home, the conversations and subjects you’ll deal with will still pertain to your job. The environment of an office has just shifted to the online platform, so everything, including the dress code, should remain the same other than your physical presence.
Of course, this depends on your work as well. If your office allows for more casual attire, go ahead. For the sake of comfort, you can even forego the pants if the camera only captures you from the waist-up. Be careful not to stand and reveal some untoward body parts!
Be careful not to look like you just got out of bed even though you did. Wash your face, brush your hair, bring some color to your skin, and look presentable. Also, if you haven’t seen the sun in a few days, you still need to be perky and alert so that you can pay attention to the conference. If fatigue or lethargy shows on your face, it doesn’t sit well with co-workers or bosses during an official conversation.
Something that helps with this is running a screen-test before the actual conference to see how your face looks. You can adjust your hair and your make-up according to how the camera captures you.
Be in control of your environment
Make sure the space you’re located looks professional but personal. If you’re sitting on a desk with the rest of the room behind you, make sure there is no clutter or a mess anywhere visible. Having a blank wall is often advised, but it gets boring. Of course, you can’t conduct video conferences in spaces like your kitchen or your bathroom.
Avoid spaces where people will pass by and be visible in the frame. Ask your family or whoever you’re living with to avoid that room altogether during your conference. Avoid too much noise or chatter, so stay away from noisy roads or appliances that are loud. Again, ask your company to avoid using speakers or TV.
You may be in the best clothing in a completely silent room with the best background one could imagine. Everything falls flat if you’re a dark blob on the screen because of bad lighting. The best light is natural lighting, which is not directly hitting your face. If it is falling directly, it tends to get too harsh on the screen, and you may be temporarily blinded as well. Sit where there is general natural lighting across the room or behind light curtains. You can use artificial light too.
Run a screen-test to check if it’s too harsh or blue or not enough. Pro tip: put a monitor behind the device you’re using for the conference. Open a blank white screen (like an MS-Word doc) and increase brightness. The bright white light falls on your face and acts as a pretty good light source.