You know how to look professional at a business meeting but only lately video conferences have become a habitude for many of us. We prepared a short guide for you to rock that next business meeting you have on Zoom or Skype!
Being in front of a camera was something really serious, once. Hairdressing and a careful choice of look were a must, with the “service jacket” always on hand to rescue those who were short of it, just seconds before the light went on. Today, casual videoconferences has become the norm, and anything can happen – even anchors showing up live for “Good Morning America” in underpants, relying on a close-up framing.
Simply the risks of the job? Not really. Working from home and videoconferences are now popular as ever, and there’s no more need to be an anchor to be facing such issues. Even a smartphone’s camera is enough to lead strangers into our private space, unveiling traits of our personality and way of living that we would rather preserve. As informal as the web might be, it’s better to keep in mind a few rules concerning the personal care and the surrounding atmosphere, even more so if you don’t know your fellow interlocutors’ approach.
Even the most remarkable personalities of our times have opened a glimpse over their private dimension: who didn’t spend a minute to watch inside the bookshelves of politicians, teachers, philosophers? In such a unique circumstance, even the noise from the children doesn’t come as a bother, but rather a fun interlude. But when we get to participate in a webinar whose speaker talks in front of his kitchen’s fridge, we suddenly realize that pushing too far is hardly a good idea.
The more our “workstation” differs from the classic and cold office environment, the more it tells about us. It is like augmented communication, be it positively or negatively. Here are some things to review before turning on the camera.
The look counts
Curate your look like you should go to the office – even if you are at home. Also when the boss calls at 9, it’s better not to show off your pyjamas, nor wear the same clothes for days in a row (even if that happens, sometimes, at home): original and informal are ok, shabby is not.
Watch out for what your body indicates: moving your focus to something else is disrespectful to those who are speaking. Try to avoid sloppy positions or bored expressions – those will affect other people’s attitudes, even if they are involuntary. Drinking is ok, chewing is not.
Personality is great…
Look around you: displaying to live in a messy environment won’t play in your favour, not should you exceed in the opposite direction. Spontaneity often pays off. On the desk, leave everything you need or that you love to keep at a glance: even our things tell a story about us.
…but do not exaggerate
Behind your back, try to avoid puzzling or distracting images or notes with personal information. That's not the place for the posters of your favorite actor or soccer team or the list of your contacts' mobile numbers. In a video call, it’s good to show your passions, rather than your idolatries.
To make a long story short: keep focused. When starting the call, make sure the brain is already on. And keep it like that, even after the call is done.