During MCO, many of us have had to quickly adjust to many things, like working from home. And one of the things that come with working from home are the numerous con-calls via Zoom. Whether it is with a client, colleague or boss, Zoom video calls have become quite the everyday thing for work.
It is still really important to look the part during these video calls, even if you’re not physically present. After all, you wouldn’t go into a physical meeting looking like you just woke up right? Which is why even if you’re on your bed taking the Zoom call, it shouldn’t seem like you just rolled out of bed.
Back at work and think that’s the end of your Zoom days? Probably not – with social distancing very much in place, looks like a lot of meetings will still take place virtually. So the faster you ace these tips on how to look professional during your Zoom calls, the better it will be for you.
#1 Test your internet connection
You know what’s annoying – buffering during Zoom calls. Imagine if you’re having a meeting with your boss and because your internet sucks, you only hear 50% of what he actually said! Before you go on any con-call, log in at least five minutes beforehand to make sure everything is set up properly. Validate the link and test to see that your camera, microphone and WiFi are in good working condition. Make sure to sit in a part of your house where the WiFi connection is the strongest to avoid lagging.
#2 Undivided attention, all the time!
Zoom call and an email comes in? First reaction is to read that email, right? It may be unintentional but the other participants can tell that you’re not paying attention to the call, even if you are sitting right in front of them. Even a little bit of distraction can be annoying, especially to the host. Do this prior to all video calls – put your email notifications on silent and turn your phone to silent and faced down (because we all know you’ll be tempted to read notifications!).
Here’s another thing you may not realise you’re doing: Checking yourself out. For a lot of people, it may be awkward seeing themselves on the laptop screen. And it’s pretty common to get hung up on how they look onscreen. You know what – the other participants can tell that you’re looking directly at yourself, especially if you’re trying to fix yourself while on the video call. Instead, minimise yourself on your computer and look at the middle of the screen so that you are looking at everyone online.
#3 It is a real meeting, virtual or not
Video calls are real meetings too – just that it has a different sort of “meeting room”. The best way to act as if you would in an in-person meeting. If you take notes during regular meetings, you should continue to do so during your Zoom call. Find it awkward to speak during these virtual meetings? It really shouldn’t be any different from an in-person meeting so if you’re the type to use your hands a lot, go ahead.
This comes as a no-brainer but even if you are taking the con-call in your kitchen, it’s not an excuse to dress down. You need to still look presentable so brush your hair, put on some makeup for the ladies, dress appropriately (not just waist up but the entire outfit – you don’t want to be caught standing up only to see that you’ve worn a pair of shorts with your work shirt!).
#4 Background rules
You can’t stop your neighbour’s dogs from barking loudly in the middle of a conference call. But you can control these other things:
- Tell your housemates or family members that you are going into an important con-call soon and would appreciate if it they could stay out and not interrupt you. Last thing you want is for your mum to open your door midst meeting asking you to eat lunch!
- Have a neutral background. Find a blank wall or window and sit in front of it. You don’t want your con-call background to be your messy room table or the TV.
- Be on time! This goes without saying – if you’re the host of the meeting, set up five minutes ahead of the meeting. If you’re attending the con call, sit in front of your device five minutes before it starts. You don’t want to be the late comer, virtual meeting or not!
Photo by visuals on Unsplash