As you may have noticed in the Era of Covid-19, we have all become TV stars, appearing regularly on computer screens as zooming panelists. But some of us make a better appearance – and impression – than others.
The simple truth is, when you participate in a Zoom you are in the spotlight. And acting au natural really doesn’t cut it. You need to dress the part, make sure your setting shows you off to best advantage including the lighting – and, even though you’re alone in your bedroom, speak as if you’re before an audience. Because you are!
One of the special opportunities that Words & Beyond offers our clients is the opportunity to appear on our radio/video program, “How to Succeed During a Pandemic.” The point of the show is to help small business owners raise awareness of their business on video and through a weekly podcast on 216thenet.com. To help clients – and other guests – make the most of their interviews, we’ve created a to sheet to help them prepare before the show.
Here are some tips on how to look your best on Zoom
Dress the Part
First understand that even if you’re zooming with a dozen or more other people, all eyes are on you. If your hair is uncombed and your clothes are wrinkled, you'll project a less than professional image during the zoom and after. So, dressing for success applies to zooming every bit as much as it does when you’re meeting someone in person.
Set the Stage
With so many of us working at home our living quarters have had to double as work spaces. If meetings are held on Zoom, they must also function as mini sound stages. Fortunately, there are several ways to prepare a background that is attractive and appropriate for business meetings.
The simplest and most obvious one is to use one of the faux backgrounds Zoom provides for you. As long as you don’t move around too much, they work fine. You can also create your own two-dimensional background.
But if you would like to show off part of your workspace, make sure to set up an orderly, clean, well-lit area that allows you to keep the camera (in your computer, Ipad or your phone) high enough for the opening to be at eye level.
If it's too low or too high we may see more or less of you than we should. Experiment before your Zoom begins by turning on the camera of your device and checking how you look so you can adjust the angle of the shot.
Light the Set
Too much light can make you look washed out and not enough could add years to your appearance. Experiment a day before the interview so you know what will work and what won’t. Natural light from a window in front of your face can be wonderful – unless it’s too bright. Again – experiment with blinds up and down and lamps on and off. (Tip: I routinely zoom sitting in front of a bank of windows with blinds slanted to control the light AND a desk lamp focused on my face. I also have lamps on in the background. Experiment a bit and I’m sure you’ll find the best lighting for you.)
Mute Yourself While Munching
Many Zooms take place in the morning since, traditionally, networking meetings often were for breakfast or lunch. But if you’re zooming, try to eat before or after the meeting. If you must eat during the meeting, mute yourself and choose something that’s simple and easy to swallow.
Don’t Read on Camera
Truly, I think this is the worst sin. I know our impulse is to write down everything we want to say and then read it word for word. But when you do, it sounds like an informercial and is a terrific turn-off. Instead, jot down one-or two-word talking points and rehearse your presentation (preferably with a timer) so you know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. The ideal would be to have the talking points written out and propped up on a stand or even on the wall behind the camera. Not quite a teleprompter, but the same idea. That way you can read them while looking into the camera.
Smile and the world smiles with you
Think of Zooming as a business meeting with people you already know and like, even if you’ve never met them before. In any social situation, people tend to reflect the attitude of the people they’re talking to. If someone is rude or uptight, it can be catching.
So, relax and enjoy the moment as much as you can. If someone asks you a question about your company or industry and you don’t know the answer tell them you’ll do some research on the subject and get back to them. THEN DO IT! It’s an ideal way to demonstrate your willingness to help others and make an immediate connection that can turn into business.
If someone invites you to network with another group, accept the invitation. They are obviously interested in getting to know you better and that’s the whole idea of networking. If you’re meeting with a client, the more enthusiastic and pleased by the occasion you are, the more they’ll enjoy the experience as well and want to repeat it.
Try to save the Chat Notes
The biggest disadvantage of a Zoom meeting is that you don’t get to collect business cards and contact information to refer to after the meeting. But if everyone puts their information in the Chat tab you can save that and print it out for future reference.
Follow through to strengthen the relationship
If the Zoom is a client meeting or one where you’ve made a particularly useful networking connection, follow up with an email saying how much you enjoyed the meeting and give some details about why it was important to you. You might even try to set up another meeting or send a link to an article or website pertinent to your discussion.
Hope you find these suggestions helpful and that your Zooming is easy, productive and fun!
PS: If you'd like to talk about being on our show, reach more than 5,000 listeners and having a 30 minute video of you talking about your business for FREE, please visit our contact page and let us know.