As the world adapts to the new normal of doing business via video conference, there are some basic ground rules for conducting a professional Zoom meeting (or whatever chat service you're using).
Mute yourself. And if you can, mute everyone else. I cannot tell you the number of times the speaker screen switches to the guy flipping papers or worse, eating chips. Muting yourself allows the meeting to be heard easily by all involved, not to mention it stops the embarrassment of having your coworkers hear your spouse yell that they need toilet paper from the bathroom.
Choose your background wisely. A favorite pastime of the internet has been finding the interesting items seen in the background of Zoom calls. Set up in a clean area. Don’t set up with an open window in the background.
Check your lighting. It's awkward carrying on a conversation with someone sitting in a dim room. This is a business call, not a ransom request.
Lock up your children and pets. Ok, maybe not children, but definitely pets. Children screaming and dogs barking are tough to compete with.
Beware the camera angles. Too high, you show more cleavage than expected. Too low, up your nose.
Wear pants. Even if it's just black yoga pants. It never fails that when you think your bottom half is not going to be seen, you spill coffee and have to jump up in the middle of the meeting showing all your coworkers your Pink booty shorts.
Don't use the camera as a mirror. We can all see you fix your hair and stare at yourself.
Look into the camera when speaking. When you look at the others on the screen it appears that you are looking down.
Don't lean into the camera. Nobody wants to see the pores on your face. Sit as you would if you were meeting in person.
What to Wear to a Zoom Meeting:
In my side hustle as an author and speaker, I wear the same basic outfit for each speaking gig. When my gigs went virtual, I quickly realized that those suits did not look good on a video call, so I switched to the basic headshot rules.
Don't wear patterns. Think of what you would wear for an on-camera interview. Patterns will "buzz" on the screen.
Do wear heavier-than-normal makeup. This allows your facial features to be seen and not blend into the background. This is especially true if you are a speaker for an event. It also stops coworkers from asking if you're sick.
Now that I have taken the fun out of video calls by saying you should wear pants and makeup, happy Zooming!
Gina Radke has been navigating the business world for over twenty years as a successful business owner, entrepreneur, investor and economic influencer. Owner and CEO of an aerospace manufacturing company, Galley Support Innovations, Radke uses her international business experience to serve as an international trade advisor to the U.S Congress. Radke is a speaker and coach who has mentored entrepreneurs from across the globe and is well known for her involvement in community service and empowering others with economic opportunities. Her book "More Than: How to Be Bold and Balanced in Life and Business" is available now.