What do you want your Zoom presence to say about you?
The pandemic has turned virtual meetings into the new normal. Our new priority is to deliver an exceptional virtual experience. The more polished, credible and trustworthy you appear on video conference calls, the more positive your Zoom engagements will be.
The age-old adage of “first impressions matter” is ever present in this new virtual world. Fifty-five percent of first impressions are related to how you look — your appearance, posture, expressions and reactions. It takes less than a second for a person to decide whether to trust you.
Visual and audio distractions can put a dent in your credibility and trustworthiness, leading to less engagement and a less successful call.
Embrace a mindset to intentionally create, as close as possible, the feeling that you and your client are seated across the table from each other instead of staring at each other on a computer screen.
Here are five Zoom makeover strategies for effective and successful sales meetings.
Camera angle and trust go hand-in-hand. Research shows speakers are rated as most trustworthy when viewers see the subject at eye level. Seeing your client’s face and upper torso helps you read their non-verbal cues, gauge their reactions, interest, level of credibility and vice versa.
- Frame yourself so your eyes are in the top one-third of the Zoom window
- Look directly into the camera
- Leave a little bit of space above your head (also known as headroom)
- The bottom of the video window should be just below armpit level
Lighting is a critical element of trustworthiness. Good lighting illuminates your eyes and face evenly, making it easier to engage with you.
What to do —
- Sit facing a window, if possible
- Purchase a light such as an LED video light or ring light with adjustment controls
- If you wear glasses or facing a window isn’t an option, position two lights slightly higher than your head angled downward—one on each side of your face at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions
- If you don’t wear glasses, it’s OK to have the light source directly in front of you
SUPER TIP: Place fuchsia and bright yellow Post-its over portions of your lights to create a more natural skin tone. This works for all skin types.
How crisp and clear you sound to others, without unwanted background noise, is as important as how you look.
What to do —
- An external microphone such as a clip-on lavalier or earbuds will improve the sound and reduce background noise
- Check your video conferencing platform for the “noise suppression” option, and use the “suppress background” feature to remove distracting background noises
What appears in the background of your Zoom window says a lot about you. Most spaces can look professional, even a repurposed storage room or closet. A cryptocurrency trader I advised had been working in his non-descript dark basement. By purchasing elegant furniture, wall art, a blooming orchid and studio lights, we transformed the space into the look of a sophisticated high-end office.
- Keep background bookshelves organized with books in a vertical position, limit knickknacks
- Remove glass- framed photographs and certificates to reduce glare and reflection
- Add style with an abstract piece of art placed off-center
- Add a plant
- The “blur” feature in Zoom’s virtual backgrounds tab is a good option if you don’t have a professional background
- Limit use of virtual backgrounds as they can distract and convey the wrong message
Best Clothing for Zoom
Another way to present your best self is through what you wear. Have others focus on you and what you say rather than on what you’re wearing.
- Wear solid colors
- Avoid black because it makes it difficult to read your body language, and white will make you look washed out
- Avoid wearing large patterns such as plaids, stripes, or busy patterns
- Wear lipstick to emphasize your lips, but avoid shiny lip gloss and frosted eye shadow, as it comes off looking white in the camera, unless you have extremely dark skin
Accelerate success each time you jump on a Zoom call. By intentionally taking control of how you show up online, you give yourself, your team, your customers and everyone you communicate with the best possible opportunity for more successful online engagements, creating a win-win on both sides of the screen.