By David Rowe
Let’s face it – Zoom is just a way of life at this point. But the good news is, this aspect of life can be interesting and even rewarding just by putting in a little effort! For all of the students, teachers, bosses, remote workers, interviewees and everyone in-between – this short guide on creating a home studio for your video calls is guaranteed to impress where it counts.
If you believe that digital meetings leave no space for improvement, think again. Before diving into our 5-step guide for improving your space, you must reframe your opinions on video calls. As an extension of your education and/or professional world, these places deserve the treatment that you would normally assign to your office workspace. With that being said, let’s begin!
Step 1: Clean it up!
This one might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised. With over six months of Zoom-ing already behind us, many of us have gotten used to the mess that riddles our video call space. Take an hour (or a day!) to really clean up the room to the best of your abilities. As with any workspace, having a clean environment will help you focus, meaning you’ll be able to listen to your professors, work with others, and in general, get the job done!
Cleaning goes beyond throwing away trash, vacuuming, and dusting. You’ll also want to remove any non-work-or-school-related distractions, like magazines, books, devices, or knick-knacks that pull you away from your meetings.
Once you’ve completed your cleaning, stay vigilant! Designate space for each distraction to ensure you never end up with the same pileup. Following through is just as important as the initial cleaning.
Step 2: Establish Your Background
With a clean workspace, you can begin thinking about your background. Zoom backgrounds are extremely important, as they are often the only insight others in a meeting will receive about your standards and workspace. Having a decent background is good, but having an impressive background is better.
Choosing a background will vary depending on what you use Zoom and other video calling platforms for. If you work with your colleagues on Zoom and want to present a more fun side of yourself, it might be nice to hang some pictures showing loved ones and/or memorable events in your life. If you’re on Zoom for an interview, consider a mostly blank wall with one or two appropriate photos hanging behind you. Additionally, consider windows that do not conflict with your light source – providing a sense of openness can be essential in establishing a more comfortable feeling for others in your meeting. Nobody likes to feel claustrophobic!
Step 3: Work on Your Lighting
The concept of good lighting might be associated with expensive equipment for professional studios, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, all you need to do is direct a decent desk lamp from the right angle, and you’re good to go!
Lighting improves your video presence in a huge way. We often don’t realize it, but our facial movements can go undetected by others in a video call if we don’t have the proper lighting. A lack of lighting also results in lower quality in general, which can put off future employers, bosses and many others.
Having good lighting signifies that you care about how you look online. Just by pointing a light the right way, others will know that you take your education and/or profession seriously, resulting in higher opinions of you in general. Don’t skip out on the lighting – it might just be the determining factor for superiors, hiring managers and any other people you need to impress!
Step 4: Appropriate Attire
You are what you wear! As with many other tips, this one depends on what your video call is for. Of course, you should treat most calls as if they were in-person. For interviews, dress to impress with a suit, professional dress or other appropriate outfits. For work, maintain the same attire you normally would at the office, unless your supervisor states otherwise. This will reflect your seriousness in approaching your job, even with the new environment we all find ourselves in.
Step 5: Grooming
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most important yet often forgotten tips of all – groom yourself! No matter which gender you identify as, there are always ways we can improve our appearance on Zoom. Whether it’s shaving, styling your hair or otherwise – take the time to look good with your new lighting. It will make a difference!
Having a nice, clean workspace with a clean background is huge – so are the clothes you wear, the grooming you do and your lighting. Be sure to follow all of these steps, and you’re destined to impress on the small screen!
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