How To: Video Conference like a pro
Author: Samantha Lund | Posted In: Live | May 2020
Welcome to the new normal: Crawling out of bed with ten minutes to brush your hair and hop on your first video conference of the day. Did you change your top? Of course. Are you still wearing pajama pants? Nobody will ever know.
Working from home comes with its fair share of challenges like separating work from relaxation and maintaining sanity while trying to focus with kids playing in the background. One of the newer work-life stressors is having to show off your house to all of your coworkers.
Before logging in to your next video conference call, use these three tips to look your best and ensure professionalism, even if you are wearing slippers.
The most important aspect to looking good on camera is lighting. Sitting with a bright sunny window behind you might seem like a great idea, but that light will cause the camera to underexpose, casting shadows and on your face and turning you into the grim reaper.
Bright, overhead lighting can cast shadows downward in unflattering ways as well. To combat both of these possibilities, we suggest a soft light in front of you. This can happen naturally with a window at the right time, or a lamp on your desk behind your computer. Of course, if you’re transitioning into a full-time work-from-home lifestyle, there are lights that specialize in making you look your best, click here for some suggestions.
This goes without saying, but a clean and tidy background is the only option for a professional conference call.
If your coffee table is your work space, we suggest you move to a dining table or counter top for your conference calls so it appears as if you’re at a desk rather than slumped on the couch.
If your workspace is in your bedroom, we suggest you move to a common room that guests would normally see when visiting.
If your apartment is tiny and you have no space to move around, position yourself in front of a clean wall.
Of course, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have the option to replace your background with a custom screen – but don’t be fooled, we all know it’s fake and we want to know what you’re hiding.
Camera Angle and Positioning
Depending on your setup, this could be a tricky one to master. Just like the camera angle can make or break a good selfie, it can make or break a good video chat. Avoid having your camera on your lap, and avoid sitting back on the couch with it far away, leaving a lot of room around your head.
The easiest way to ensure a good camera angle is to put it on a table in front of you, about arms length away and keep the camera at eye level. Most laptops sit lower, stacking books or a box under your computer will give you the angle you’re looking for.