Nine Ways to Look and Sound Better on Videoconferences

Remember face to face meetings? Yeah, we do, too. But now that they’re all happening on Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting, Webex, Skype, Hangouts and other online apps, it’s time to up your game. Which is why we’ve put together these tips to help you look and sound better on videoconferences.

Raise Your Camera. Generally speaking, you should be close enough to your webcam to be heard, but not so close that you look distorted. Set the camera angle so that you’re looking up slightly. In most cases, that draws attention to the eyes, minimizes the appearance of double chins and keeps people from staring up your nose. You can get a dedicated stand for your phone, laptop or tablet – or you can just stack a few books underneath it.

Upgrade your tech. If you deliver lots of presentations and don’t want to replace your older phone or laptop, you may want to get a higher-end webcam and mic. They’ll filter out noise (both video and audio) and make you look and sound better.

Cast yourself in a better light. “Shady” isn’t an adjective that you want attached to your appearance. When half your face is in shadow, people have to work harder to see you. So, make sure that there is light pointing toward your face (no backlighting).

Look at the camera. In real life, you want to look people in the eyes when you’re talking to them. If you try to look directly at anyone else’s eyes in a video conference, it will seem like you are focused elsewhere. Look directly at the camera when you’re talking, or when you want to appear attentive so that your gaze appears to be aimed directly at the other people on your call.

Simplify your surroundings. Too much clutter will detract from your appearance. People might pay more attention to the crumpled paper and junk mail around you than to the meeting. The good news is that you don’t have to redecorate – just get your stuff out of camera range. Alternatively, you can use an appropriate virtual background (see the “Relish Your Brand” tip below).

Minimize ambient sound. It goes without saying if you’re not talking, your device should be on mute. Beyond that, nobody can keep their dog from barking when the mail truck arrives. But you can set yourself up in a small room and close the door if your house tends to be on the noisier side. Likewise, make sure to silence anything electronic that can make noise (i.e., a smart speaker or phone ringer).

Look like the pro you are. Dress for a video call the way you’d dress for an in-person meeting. Sure, certain groups are likely to be more casual – and you wouldn’t want to look overly formal. But you don’t want to show up in pajamas or workout clothes either. We’ve heard that some people come to video conferences well-dressed only from the waist up. But what if you suddenly have to get up? Don’t take chances.

Get a preview. Log onto the videoconferencing system – but don’t click “join the call” – about five to fifteen minutes before the meeting time. Check your camera position, lighting, look and virtual background (if you’re using one). Make sure you know where the “share your screen” and mute buttons are. That way, when you do join the call, you won’t give yourself or anyone else any surprises.

Relish your brand! We’ve said it many times before – your brand is more than just your logo and tagline. It’s everything that contributes to the visceral, emotional feeling people have about your business at every point of contact. That means that the look and feel of everyone representing your company should also reflect your brand. One easy way to do that on a videoconference is with a set of backgrounds that reinforce your brand. That way, everyone from your team can have their own virtual environment – but together, they communicate a unified look and feel.

Especially since video meetings are probably here to stay, now is a great time to make a few small changes and raise your presence to a higher level.