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How to look good on Zoom or any video conferencing: complete guide

how to look good on zoom (1)

Outlines how to look good on Zoom or any video conferencing, with tips for position, lighting, grooming and wardrobe.

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Being able to work from home is a blessing for many. Using the new channels is also a challenge, especially for women. We’ll show you how to look good on Zoom or any video conferencing tool.

There are crises in life that have a lasting impact on people and society. One change that in all probability cannot be reversed is the technical change that the Corona crisis brings with it. Anyone who has the opportunity to work in the home office and use virtual channels to communicate and exchange ideas. In order for you to look good on Zoom or any other video conferencing tool and to win the meeting over, a few rules should be observed.

As soon as a video conference is running, you have to be aware that the other person can see you. Anyone who picks their nose or is still looking for the right location for the camera gets minus points.

The biggest mistake you can make: underestimating the video conference. Our counterpart can draw many conclusions from what we show of ourselves. After all, we allow a glimpse into our private life that would not be possible under other circumstances. That’s why it is important to know how to look good on Zoom, as the factors we outline have an impact on opinion-forming and decision-making.

How to look good on Zoom: the top factors

Image composition

It is best to choose a position where you sit upright with a table in front of you. In this way you have an upright posture and the camera is in a stable position.

The distance between the head and the upper edge of the picture that can be seen on the monitor is called headroom. Cut-off heads are to be avoided. On the other hand, if the distance is not large enough, the face fills the picture. Eye movements and micro-facial expressions can now be seen in detail. That seems very strange to people on the other screen.

Between the head and the upper edge of the picture there should be about a hand’s breadth, you should be able to see the shoulders from the upper body, up to the armpits or a little more.

If you position your laptop too low, you will look down from above. From a psychological point of view, this has a negative effect as we rise above the other participants in the conference. The colleague should also be spared looking into the nostrils. Positioning the camera or computer too high is the other extreme, which is also not recommended.

The effect is pleasant when the camera lens is at the same level as the eyes, then we are also at eye level with the other participants.

How to look good on Zoom: Background

Your goal is to get people to focus on you, not the background – at least that is how it should be. It seems generally beneficial to sit in front of a bookshelf, but if there is too much on the shelf, it is distracting.  A plain, simple background like a white wall or a wall with at most one accent (maybe a picture) is better. A brick wall, for example, would be boring and therefore not a distraction.

Lighting

Finally, the illumination of the room must be checked. Since shadows look unfavorable, light from the front is best. Basically, natural light is preferable to artificial light. So if you have the opportunity to sit in front of a window, you should use it.

The right dosage must be found for artificial light. If there is too little light, the face is not sufficiently illuminated; too much light takes away all contours, which also looks unnatural.

If you cannot avoid using artificial light, the right lamp is crucial. Do without cool, white light. This quickly makes your complexion look pale and sallow. Warm lamps that produce a reddish light are better. 

Most people do not handle the light properly in video conferences. Many have shadow faces that are half dark due to a one-sided incidence of light. A permanent light directly on the face ensures uniform illumination. 

Light from the side or worse, from behind (backlight) are taboo. Avoid sitting with your back to the window. The camera adjusts to the bright light and makes you appear silhouetted – a black spot against a light background. Turn around, the light falls better that way. 

Soft focus

The soft focus function helps you to hide imperfections on your face. However, not all video chats and cameras have this function. Instead, slide your finger across the lens of your webcam once. The natural fat film of the skin creates a layer that acts like a natural soft focus.

Microphone and Volume

Test the microphone. Don’t be so far away that the microphone can’t understand you. Also, be sure to move the kids and other distractions that might be disturbing your meeting to the next room, if possible. What many don’t do is mute the mic when they’re not speaking. Anyone could then hear you hammering on the keyboard – or worse.

Audio is really that important. An external microphone is therefore a good investment. There are really decent affrodable USB devices with a 3.5mm jack plug for the microphone input on your computer, which is attached to your lapel, for example. If you use zoom, you can select your lavalier microphone instead of the microphone in the webcam as the source for the sound in the audio settings.

Camera

And while we’re at it, many built-in webcams not only deliver unsatisfactory sound quality, but also really bad resolutions in terms of the picture. It is therefore advisable to additionally invest in image quality and to use a separate webcam

Virtual interaction

If you want to build a relationship with your counterpart, you can only do so if you look directly into the camera. It is of course impossible to notice the reaction of the other participants. You can practice switching between looking into the lens and looking at the monitor. It is important to combine both and not just look at the monitor.

How to look good on Zoom: Wardrobe

It may be tempting not to have to take the dress code so tightly – but home office shouldn’t mean working in pajamas or sweatpants. Especially not when a video conference is due. Even if the other person doesn’t want to see the sweatpants because they are outside the frame, we change our body language in feel-good clothes – and this change is noticed.

Comb your hair, shave or put on makeup, and think carefully about what you will wear. It’s not just about the occasion and your style, but about colors and patterns. Small checks or other small patterns are really annoying – they create a moiré effect . Inconspicuous and monochrome make you look good. But stay away from shiny, garish white or jet black shirts. On the screen it appears like an indefinable mass.

Grooming

When it comes to grooming (or make-up for women), the main thing to ensure during video conferences is that the face is not shiny. All shiny areas distract from the eyes and disrupt the interaction. Even if the other person is distracted for just a moment (because they may think for a moment that you are sweating and consider whether they may also sweat), that is enough and you have lost their attention. What you say fizzles out.

Powder or powder paper, which acts like a blotting paper for damp areas on the face, helps against shiny areas.

Precisely because the face is at the center of a video conference, everything should be perfect here. It is important to know that the camera swallows make-up. If you use make-up rather subtly, it could be that you look “without make-up” on the monitor. A little more make-up can be applied for meetings by camera.

Practice video conferencing

Anyone who has never participated in a video conference but still wants to cut a good figure here should practice beforehand. You can either test your effect in front of the camera together with your best friend, whom you invite to a test run. Or you can record a small video that you can then watch and evaluate.

Also, pay attention to your body language. It makes a big difference whether you sit upright or let your shoulders collapse. A secret tip: a winning smile.

Those who prepare the video conference well do not have to worry about how they look in front of the camera and can concentrate fully on the content. It may feel strange at first, but you are certainly not alone with your concerns – and practice makes perfect, as we know.