Lights, Camera, Action: Projecting a professional presence on a video call

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“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my … Zoom call?!” – (With apologies to Norma Desmond)

Much of the business world has gone virtual since the emergence of the coronavirus, and more and more, work is being conducted via video – including client interactions, team meetings and even job interviews.

Below is a checklist of six key elements for presenting oneself professionally on a video call. These tips can help you project a professional image when meeting with clients and interviewing candidates via videoconference. These same tips will also help coach your candidates in preparation for video job interviews.

Location, location … background. Find a physical space that eliminates distractions – for you AND the other party – and keeps the interview focused. (The location you choose should also take into account all the considerations in this checklist.) If working from home, you don’t need an interior design straight out of Real Housewives; just find a room that provides an uncluttered background wall. Against a neutral-colored wall, a neatly organized bookshelf or a subdued print or wall hanging can be a simple accent piece. When in doubt, embrace the minimalist look!

Shed some light on the subject. Remember, you’re not creating a film noir, so eliminate lighting that casts unflattering shadows on your face. Overhead lights, for example, produce odd shading, and no one looks natural under fluorescents! A face-level light source is effective, such as a floor or desk lamp that can be moved and adjusted. Play with the lighting – ahead of time! – to make sure it warmly highlights your features without washing you out. And avoid positioning yourself in front of a bright light, such as an open window; backlighting, as this is called, darkens the side of you that the camera sees.

No noise is good noise. Ensure that the location for the video call minimizes external sounds, such as fans and heaters, music, children, pets, and cell phones. (There, we said it.) And while we can’t always control our children or pets – or when the next-door neighbor mows her lawn – consider the time of day when scheduling the video call. Also, test the microphone and speaker sound levels on your computer or tablet beforehand; these can be adjusted in the system settings…

Source: The Staffing Stream

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