2020 has been the year of the virtual meeting. Many people have transitioned to working from home due to the pandemic and are using video conferencing and virtual offices to stay in touch with coworkers and clients.
Zoom saw an increase this year from 10 million daily users last December to 300 million+ daily meeting attendees in mid-2020.Platforms like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex have seen similar surges.
When you’re participating in virtual office meetings, often those video calls may be the only professional “face-to-face” interaction you have and it’s important to look the part. Showing up in sweatpants and a t-shirt and having a dog running around in the background doesn’t quite exude professionalism.
With a majority of companies saying they’ll have more permanent remote workers post-pandemic, it’s important to make an effort to maintain the same decorum and presentation that you do when in a physical office.
The same is true of companies run entirely virtually that use a virtual address. How that virtual team present themselves when on video calls with clients can make all the difference in whether they get a sale or not.
Here are some tips on how to present yourself professionally during a virtual office meeting.
Looking Your Best While at Virtual Office Meetings
Dress the Part
Just because you may be meeting from a home virtual office, doesn’t mean your work clothes should stay in the closet. It makes a big difference in the impression you give, whether you show up in a well-worn t-shirt or a pressed linen shirt.
If you’re having a video meeting for work, make sure you dress the part, at least for any part of you that is visible on camera.
Create a Neutral and Pleasant Background
If you want to present a professional image, then you don’t want the kitchen counter with a jar of peanut butter sitting on it and half the refrigerator showing in the background.
Choose a neutral background that is not too busy but has some pleasant scenery behind you. A plant or picture is nice, or you can use the ever-popular bookshelf in the background.
The goal is to have a background that looks like an office even if you may be meeting from your living room.
Have Good Lighting
Another essential ingredient to looking professional when having virtual office meetings is to have good lighting. You don’t want to look like you’re sitting in an underground cavern.
Light should be in front of you, so it lights your face. Use a soft directional light if possible. Natural light is always the best to prevent harsh shadows, as long as it’s lighting your face and not behind you.
Create a Quiet Space
You want to have a quiet space to meet without the distraction of people walking by or pets/children making noise. You can immediately go from looking very professional to just the opposite when you have an interruption.
A good example is a BBC News interview that was going well, until the commentator’s child burst into the room. While it made a great viral video moment, but it was rather embarrassing for the person that was on live TV from his home when it happened.
If you have a household that doesn’t exactly lend itself to “quiet space,” you can always use virtual office services and rent an office by the hour. This gives you an affordable way to take important virtual meetings in a professional space that’s quiet and distraction free. You’ve also already got the office-like background covered!
Adjust Your Camera to Eye-Level
Something else that can make virtual meetings seem “off” and unprofessional looking is if you have a strange camera angle from a laptop. You don’t want to look like you’re towering down on everyone else in a weird upshot.
If you’re using a laptop, you should raise it so that the camera is eye-level. Sit far enough away so that the top of your shoulders can be seen along with the top of your head.
Use Good Headset/Earbuds
Poor sound quality is another distraction when you’re meeting virtually. It’s important use a good quality headset or earbuds that have a mic, so your voice comes through loud and clear.
This can also help to reduce any background noise because many quality headsets will have background noise-cancelling technology. Many people prefer earbuds like Apple’s EarPods because they’re sleek and don’t require the person to wear something on top of their head.
Test Your Video Look
Once you have your lighting, background, and positioning ready to go, test how you look on video camera with a friend. This allows you to tweak anything, like moving a visible trash can out of the picture.
If you can, do virtual office meetings in the same place every time. That way, you’ll only have to set everything up once.
Need a Quiet Place for an Important Video Meeting?
Virtual office services aren’t just for in-person meetings. They also give you a great distraction-free place you can rent by the hour or day for important video calls.
Contact Tysons Office Suites the next time you have a need for a quiet, professional space. Call 703-288-4001 or request a quote online.