Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company, a small organization, or for yourself, it’s now more important than ever to create a visually pleasing on-line presence. Maintain respect from others as you welcome more people than ever before into your home by upleveling your presentation.
Whether you use Zoom, Webex, TEAM or Skype, we’re all speaking on-line with clients and colleagues, attending networking events, and are even socializing with friends on Saturday night. Video conferencing is our new life-line.
As a personal branding image consultant, I find it funny on Zoom calls that everybody’s little square appears so different. Sometimes you’re looking up at the person and most of what you see is chin, nose and ceiling. Sometimes they are so backlit that the person you’re speaking with is completely in silhouette. Yes, these are the extremes, but I see this all the time.
My gift of helping people look and feel fabulous in person has pivoted and I am now on a mission to help up-level your on-line image so that you can look great and feel confident online with the surroundings you have.
5 Step Process to Up-Level Your Screen presence.
1. Set Optimal Camera Angle
Look straight into the camera. This is one of the first things people notice when looking at you in your little box. You want them to look at you straight in the eye. While sitting up straight, adjust your camera so that it is level with your eyes or slightly above. Give the impression that you are speaking directly to the other person, as if you’re sitting across the table from them, (not looking downward with the “droopy eye” look). This feels more intimate and comfortable, Nobody wants to see your ceiling. Angle the camera downward.
2. Improve Lighting
This is the first thing you notice. Don’t’ sit with your back to the window. Ideally, face a window for as much natural light as possible. If not, compensate with lights positioned in front of you at 10:00 and 2:00. Balance out the lighting on both sides of your face. You might feel the need to add or purchase additional lighting. Remember to light up the rest of the room so that it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting in a cave.
3. Create A Professional Background
The most important thing about backgrounds is that you create a pleasing, non-distracting background. You’re inviting people into your home. Clean up your mess, stand up all books on your bookshelf, bring in some plants and flowers to create a pleasing background. You are the focus of the call. If you were meeting someone in person, you would choose a location that looks nice and is conducive to conversation without unwanted distractions.
4. Select Complimentary Clothing Colors
Stand out and be noticed! Ideally you want to wear a solid color that is not the same as the background behind you. Stay away from white, black and busy prints. The camera is highly sensitive to light and dark. White and very light colors come to the foreground of the camera and dominate in a glaring way, especially with the blue light coming off the screen, while black and very dark colors recede into the background. You are the focus in the “box”, Don’t fade into the background.
5. (optional) Consider Stage Make-Up Techniques
For those of you who wear make-up, I suggest wearing darker blush and lipstick than your usual day-time make-up. The light from the camera washes you out giving you a flat look. Create a 3-dimensional look by applying contour or blush under your cheekbones and putting on a darker reddish/pinkish color on your lips. Do not use lip gloss or make-up with iridescence. It will appear white.
It’s our new normal. We’re all spending more time on-line than ever before and it’s as important as ever that you look your best and feel confident in whatever space you’re in.