It’s important to dress well for any job, remote ones included. Looking good in a virtual meeting can impress clients and boost your career.
“How do I look better on Zoom?” is a common question many professionals wonder, and luckily, you don’t always have to redo your virtual setup or spend much money. There are lots of ways to look good on Zoom or on any virtual meeting.
Here’s your simple guide on how to look polished in your virtual meetings or interviews.
Tips and Tricks to Look Good on a Virtual Meeting
1. Dress the part
Unless you work in a more conservative industry like law, you can often count on “business-casual” to fit in with most work environments. If your workplace leans more informal, you should check out a few meetings before selecting a uniform.
Do top leaders as well as other employees wear shirts or hoodies for most Zoom meetings?
Then the casual styles may be okay for you to try too, but remember that you should usually err on the side of being overdressed rather than underdressed. (And it’s perfectly fine to ask your manager about dress codes, too!)
As you consider your outfit, remember to think about colors. Some experts recommend neutral colors like navy and tan for work meetings, but you’ll want to wear a color that stands out against your background either way. (If you’re wearing a white shirt against a white wall, you may end up resembling a floating head on camera.)
Looking good in virtual meetings comes down to more than clothing choice, of course. Remember to comb your hair, iron or press your outfit, and do whatever else makes you feel presentable and work-ready.
Remember: You might be sitting at your computer for a while, so you want to be comfortable too. There’s no requirement to wear makeup or dress in some expensive suit, but if you enjoy wearing it and it makes you feel good, go ahead. (But you’ll want to avoid high-voltage nighttime looks for your weekly check-in with a manager.).
2. Clean up your surroundings
Mess isn’t professional. If you have any clutter visible in your camera frame, devote some time to cleaning before your meetings.
Even if you aren’t a litterbug, you may want to assess the overall tidiness and visual appeal of your surroundings. A busy background—overstuffed bookshelves, large collections of knick-knacks—may distract meeting participants from focusing on you.
It’s usually best to keep your surroundings relatively minimalist, and if you’re in your bedroom for a virtual meeting, you may not want colleagues seeing personal items.
3. Get your Zoom settings on point
Midway through a Zoom meeting is not the time to announce microphone trouble. Before you join a work meeting, check all your technical settings are as you like them: connectivity, microphone, chat, volume, and camera.
Even better, you can try testing your settings with a friend or colleague. One of you will send the other an invite to a test meeting, and then you can see what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t forget that Zoom and other virtual-meeting tools offer plenty of features to further improve the experience.
If you want to keep certain parts of your remote workspace private, for example, you may want to blur your background (or select a new one entirely). Don’t forget that you can also adjust your lighting (Both on Zoom and in the space you’re having your meeting)—it’s often one of the most important components of how you appear on camera.
4. Adjust and set up your surrounding light.
Speaking of lighting, this is key because it makes you look more professional and better rested. No one wants to talk to a face that’s obscured by shadows.
Aside from software settings, you can also employ some other tricks for better light.
Don’t forget about the freebie: natural light. Try opening your shades or blinds on windows, but remember to keep the light in front of your face and not behind you. (Otherwise, you’re back in the shadows.)
Test some lighting equipment for your desk too. The Strategist, New York magazine’s shopping vertical, recommends the Dracast Halo Plus Series LED100 Bi-Color Foldable Ring Light & Mini Stand Kit. That kit sells for $69, but if you’re on a tighter budget, you can look to Amazon for various lighting options.
5. Find the right camera alignment
Nothing says amateur more than the person who is looking down (or at another screen) during a virtual meeting.
Make sure your computer is at eye level for meetings—and preferably all the time because an eye-level screen is more ergonomic. You can buy all kinds of laptop stands to help, but you can also just use a pile of books (though you will still probably need a separate keyboard and mouse).
CNET advises looking right into the camera when you’re speaking because you’ll seem less distracted that way.
Even if you need to refer to a deck or other content on your screen while talking, it’s best to try to give the same eye contact in a virtual meeting that you would at an in-person one when possible.
6. Master your mannerisms
Yawning? Fidgeting? You’re probably not going to leave your coworkers with the best impression. Remember: Working remotely is still working, and you can benefit from practicing a few meeting skills.
Many of these are similar to what you’d do in person; for example, the Enterprisers Project recommends using your hands and smiling a lot.
Camera meetings can feel stale and monotonous, but visible gestures and facial expressions are useful ways to convey emotions and show you’re really listening.
The Enterprisers Project also advises sitting back so that everyone can see your physical gestures, as well as mimicking other participants’ body language as a way to build trust.
7. Get a good night’s sleep
According to statistics, not getting enough sleep may cause problems with learning, reacting, and focusing, making it difficult to make decisions, control your emotions, solve problems, or cope with change.
Now that shouldn’t be too surprising, as I think we generally all know how valuable getting sleep is, yet we often don’t think about the impact it has on our appearance too.
Sometimes the simplest thing you can do to look good on Zoom is to just get a good night’s sleep! Seriously, start going to bed earlier or get into a soothing nighttime routine to help be more relaxed.
I noticed if I don’t get decent sleep, my eyes are more puffy and bloodshot, my energy is low, and I genuinely have an emotionless face — which I’m sure can be a bit off-putting during any virtual meetings.
Getting good sleep can be easier said than done, especially if you have sleep disorders that keep you tossing and turning. But do your best to address any sleep issues or seek medical help for better mental and physical health.
At the end of the day, most of what you’ll do to look good for a virtual meeting is similar to what you’d do for an in-person one.
You want to look professional, appear polished, and keep others interested in your ideas. By using basic etiquette (as well as keeping your lighting nice), you’ll make others feel comfortable and help keep everyone’s meeting more engaging.
Want to get more efficient with your meetings? Check out these Zoom hacks and tricks.