We’ve all been doing it—via Zoom or WebEx or whatever platform you choose. We are meeting and greeting via videoconference, often from home. By now we should have the basics down, right?

Well, just in case, here’s what Activ suggests to put your best face forward.

Minimize distractions

Like all speaking opportunities, you want attention on your face so your audience can hear your message and connect with you.

  1. Minimize distractions in the background. Draw the shades on windows that allow too much light or glare, creating a silhouette of your image. Remove plants or lamps or anything that the camera sees as growing out of your head. Simplify the background as much as possible so the group focuses on you.
  1. Adjust your camera angle and lighting. You may need to elevate your laptop on some books or tilt the camera to look more squarely on your face—not your neck, not the top of your head. Move a lamp in front of you or face an open window to ensure your face is lit, not in shadow.
  2. Center your face on the screen. Your face, your shoulders and perhaps the top of your chest should be in view and fill the screen.
  3. Look into the camera when you’re speaking to give the appearance of eye contact with the group.
  4. Use background “screens” with caution. Many such images detract from the presence of the person on screen. If you move in your chair or wave your arms, you may create a odd “fuzzy effect” that draws attention away from you. A scenic beach or a busy promotional ad behind you may sound like good visuals, but if they draw attention away from you and what you have to say, steer clear.
  5. Keep it quiet around you. Let others in the household or office know when you plan to be videoconferencing and ask for some privacy.
  6. Silence your cell phone. Enough said.

Master the technology

  1. Keep yourself on mute when you are not speaking. Then, remember to unmute yourself when you have something to say and mute yourself again.
  2. Have your camera “on” so the group can see that you are present.
  3. Turn off the camera any time you need to turn your attention away from the meeting and especially if you need to get up and walk away for a moment or shuffle papers, etc.

Seize the spotlight

If you’re in the spotlight via videoconference – giving a presentation, leading a meeting, doing a job interview or a media interview – some special considerations are in order.

  1. Always have your message honed, your key talking points rehearsed. Having a “cheat sheet” handy is fine for reference as long as you don’t read it.
  2. Dress the part. Professional dress takes many forms – your appearance needs to be appropriate.
  3. Avoid wearing white and busy prints. White can create glare on camera, and busy prints may detract from your face and speech. Solid colors are best.
  4. Minimize jewelry and accessories that can draw attention away from you.