Video conferencing has never been as popular as it is today in the world of business. With working remotely on the rise, employers are often setting up video calls and conference calls with their employees.
Video interviews are also on the rise, and as a result, looking good on a video call has never been more important. It may seem like a fairly novel concept to many but there are a few things you can do to make yourself look more professional in a video call.
The first thing to keep in mind when looking to improve how you look and come across in a video call is your camera quality. If video calls are (or will be) a regular occurrence or it is a particularly important call, make sure to have a reasonable level of camera quality with the one you're using.
In today's world, that isn't too difficult to achieve. The vast majority of smartphones have an excellent camera, as do most tablet devices and laptops. If your device does have a poor quality camera, consider investing in a webcam.
Improving your camera quality to have a crisp, high definition picture will make you appear more professional and ensure that you look your best to whoever you are talking to. Just be sure to keep your laptop at eye level in front of you. That way, you'll look directly at the lens on the front of your laptop.
Good Quality Lighting
The best camera in the world cannot make up for poor lighting. Be sure you are well lit, preferably with natural lighting. Sitting in a dark room will take away from a high-quality camera and will make you look less professional.
Consider where and what your light source is and test this out on video before beginning your call. Ideally, you do not want your lighting coming at you from an awkward angle, partially lighting your face and keeping the rest in the dark. If you can situate yourself near a window to help with this.
By clearly presenting your face with natural light you will appear more presentable and organized.
Background and Setting
Another thing to keep in mind is where you are situated during a call. You could have everything set up perfectly, with good lighting and camera quality but that is no good if you're filming with a messy room in the background. Make sure to keep anything unprofessional out of frame. You do not want cuddly toys, half-finished lunch, or gaming memorabilia in the back of your shot.
Alongside this, you want to make sure you are video calling in an empty, or at least silent room. Background noise is distracting and unprofessional and should be avoided as much as possible. Politely ask anyone around to stay out of the room - the last thing you need is a random person walking behind you making noise and interrupting.
Before starting any video conferencing session, be sure to be prepared. You want to know exactly who you are going to be speaking to and preferably what about. Be sure you are able to answer questions and have anything you need at your disposal. Being organized will help you look your best and will impress whoever you're speaking to, especially if you are trying to make a solid first impression.
You will look better if you are prepared and ready. If you need to get up to get things during the call, be sure it is quick and that no one walks into the room. Ideally, you will want to avoid this by being prepared and having everything you may need ready and by your side before you begin your call.
The next tip is focusing on what you do during the call. When we speak to someone in-person, you make eye contact with them. That isn't possible over a video call, but there are still steps you can take towards making your video call more like a real-world interaction.
Make sure to keep focused on your device when someone is talking or when you are talking. Looking around the room has the same effect as it would face-to-face - it makes you look like you are not paying attention or are not interested.
When you are speaking, consider looking at the camera from time to time to create the illusion of eye contact. Position the camera at eye level to allow people on the other end to look at you from a natural angle. This will make the video call closer to a real-world conversation and make you look better in the process.
Treat it Like a Face-to-Face Encounter
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is to treat this as if it were a regular face-to-face encounter. Act as you would in a normal situation and you will make a good impression.
Dress appropriately, act professionally, and speak as if you were in the same room as the people you are speaking to. Your goal is to make the interaction as natural as possible and keep the focus on the content of the call rather than anything else.
Looking good on a video call is all about getting the basics right and making the whole experience as normal as possible. Treat the call as if it were a normal conversation. Remember to consider your surroundings as an extension of yourself and think about how that can reflect on you.
Keep things consistent and professional and you'll look great to your employer, colleagues, or interviewer.