With the recent shift to more digital meetings and on-camera appearances, it's easy to think that not being in meetings physically gives you permission to let a few things slide. It's never been less true! It's incredibly important to maintain professionalism while working remotely. Here are a six quick tips to help you look good and professional during work conference calls.
Tip 1: Wear Pants
Seriously… wear pants. You never know when you may need to shift or move (especially if you're a parent and your children are home). Aside from preventing an embarrassing show it also makes you look more professional and intentional. Wearing pants shows that you are taking your job seriously and not letting yourself be too comfortable.
Tip 2: Make Sure Your Background is Clean
Working remotely when it isn't something you normally do can be challenging – especially when it comes to having a reserved, quiet and clean work space. However, if you want to look good on a professional conference call you will want to have a clutter-free, preferably people-free background. This ensures that those on the call will be paying attention to YOU rather than anything that may be going on in the background.
Tip 3: Look at the camera
Working from home you may have multiple monitors. Make sure that your active camera is on the main monitor that you most naturally look at. Nothing screams 'unprofessional' like showing your profile during the entire conference call; you don't hold a conversation with someone while looking away from them the entire time when you are in person, so don't do it when you're on camera. If your built-in camera doesn't lend itself to the best positioning you can easily invest in a clip-on webcam that won't cost too much, but will elevate your professionalism immensely.
Tip 4: Don't Snack
If you want to look good during a conference call try to keep the snacks at a minimum – especially if it's a professional call. Feel free to break out snacks when you're chatting with friends or are having semi-informal calls with colleagues, but if you want to appear professional leave the snacks out of the call entirely. Trust us on this one… chewing on camera looks much more up-close-and-personal than it does in real life.
Tip 5: Maintain Personal Grooming
Working remotely doesn't mean you give up your personal grooming habits entirely. For men, making sure your hair – including facial hair – is brushed and clean, goes a long way. The same applies to ladies with the addition of any makeup you may normally wear. Scaling back isn't a bad thing, but make sure you're still maintaining a professional appearance when on camera. This also echoes Tip #1 – you'll feel and look much more intentional if you make sure your appearance is work-ready. A brilliant way to upgrade your appearance to take on a more academic aesthetic is through the use of eye glasses, and there are hundreds of styles for you to choose between. A pair of sleek and sophisticated specs can give off a really professional and intelligent vibe, whilst also helping to keep symptoms such as headaches from screen time at bay. You don’t need to spend as much time getting ready for your zoom call as you might to actually attend a shift, but just be mindful that you can be seen and heard throughout the meeting.
Tip 6: Focus on Lighting
One of the last things that you can do to instantly appear more professional is to ensure you have a good lighting setup for your calls. The best thing you can do is put a light behind your computer so that it shines more on your face. Putting a light behind your head will cast your face in shadow and compromise the quality of the video for the call.
If you can, find a window that’s streaming with natural light and sit as close as possible. Utilizing natural rather than artificial light is going to be far easier on your eyes, reducing the likelihood of any strain or discomfort. Natural light can also aid in producing a bright, clear image for your coworkers to see, so you can be sure that you get noticed amongst a sea of other staff members. Sitting in a pitch-black room with just the laptop screen light to provide a dull glow will give off the impression that you simply aren’t taking your zoom call seriously, so it’s important that you don’t make such a mistake when attending virtual meetings.