Months into working from home, most people are familiar with joining video meetings and are starting to forget to double-check their background. Reassess your video set-up to ensure you are putting forth the right image.
Choose a neutral background.
Experts say you should opt for something somewhat plain for professional purposes. If you have an office with a desk that sits across from a neutral wall, you’re a step ahead. If not, choose an area that’s free of clutter and keeps the focus on you.
Check the lighting.
Tempted to take a video meeting outside or next to a bright window? Make sure to do a test run ahead of time to ensure you aren’t washed out by bold natural lighting. Similarly, if your home office space is too dark, you will appear in shadows. Place a lamp behind your camera or invest in an inexpensive ring light to ensure a good picture.
If you’re unable to position your camera to have a neutral background, use the blurred background feature to help the viewer focus more on you and less on the background. Don’t forget to lock the door if you’re working in an office, or alert family members that you’re hopping on a call so they don’t walk in the background.
Use virtual backgrounds – but choose wisely.
There are thousands of free backgrounds available online, but you need to consider what tone the background will set. Are you going to appear fun and lighthearted, serious or realistic? Consider a neutral look of a library, bookcase or office environment for work or professional calls. For more casual virtual “happy hour,” you can work in vacation destinations, sports or pop culture references. Zoom offers some good options with its “Virtual Background” feature, or you can upload your own background.
Along with preparing the best background for your next video meeting, don’t forget to spend a couple minutes to prep your supplies! Grabbing previous notes, a pen and printing out information on high-quality paper you might need to look at for the meeting will help eliminate distractions and present a professional and prepared appearance.
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