Over the course of the past year, we’ve all had to learn how to live with endless video calls, whether it has been the important job interview, the birthday celebration with friends and family, or the weekly office catch-up. As a result, we have all had to deal with the fact that we can see exactly how we look to the other people on the call, and we would be lying if we said that a year spent in lockdown had left us looking and feeling our best.
Presenting the best version of ourselves can have a huge impact on our self-confidence and mood. While there’s nothing wrong with doing the occasional call in your dressing gown, clutching a mug of coffee and embracing your inner “indoor person”, here are a few tips to make sure that you’re looking your best, no matter how big or small the meeting might be.
Think About Your Light Sources
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to know that lighting can make a huge difference to how you look on camera. When we all started working from home, most of us just set up our laptop wherever there was space and carried on as best we could. Maybe it was the kitchen table, maybe it was the living room couch. Maybe, and we’re hoping that most of you would have got out of this habit by now, you were working from bed. Well, now that most have us have seen the worst possible reflection of ourselves when our camera turns on in the morning meeting, it’s time to think about changing it up.
Experiment with different light sources to see if you can step out of the gloom. No one is saying that you should invest in a spotlight (although we would certainly suggest that a good desk light is always a good idea to look after those eyes), but if you know that you’re going to have a big video call, find a place where there is enough light to show your face without you having to squint. Giving yourself a workspace with enough natural light isn’t just about making you look good on the call, however. Light has been shown to have a huge impact on our mental health, and if you’re curled up in a ball on the couch with the curtains drawn and your laptop on your knees, it’s not going to do great things for your mood.
Think About What’s Around You
This is an obvious one, but it can be easy to forget when you’re caught up in the stress of planning for that big important call. You’ve got all your notes, you’ve got your glass of water, but what you have forgotten is that there’s a pile of dirty laundry waiting to go in the machine sitting the chair behind you. Maybe you’ve gone to the spare room for some peace and quiet for the work call and forgotten that there’s a poster on the wall that you’d rather not have to explain.
It’s an easy enough fix to make sure that what everyone else can see on the call around you reflects the kind of person that you are, but it is something that requires a little bit of forethought and planning. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, make sure that you don’t have a Zoom background pre-loaded before you start the call. You don’t want to have to be explaining that if you don’t have to…
Treat Yourself To A Brighter Look
We will admit that certain regular elements of the beauty routine have fallen by the wayside during the pandemic. However, if you want to present the best version of yourself to, say, a prospective employer, then a bit of pampering can help give you the confidence boost you need to make that strong first impression.
Treating yourself to a trip to the hair stylist or trying a bold new color is always a strong option, although it’s worth noting that, for a job interview at least, you may want to steer clear of taking any big swings that might not work out. Styling your hair is always important, but don’t overlook your smile. Of course, we all do the pre-call check to see if there’s anything embarrassing caught between our teeth, but we can all feel a little unhappy about our teeth and it can be just the kind of thought to prompt an attack of nerves and self-doubt just when you don’t need it.
If you’re feeling self-conscious about your teeth, then you might want to consider using braces to straighten them and make them look neater and give you the perfect smile. There are many different types of braces out there; so you don’t have to fear children’s braces with the rubber bands anymore! Check all the different options available, so that you can find the one that suits your needs and makes you look professional for your next Zoom conference.
Don’t Be Afraid To Dress Up
When you’re doing the same zoom calls week in, week out, of course you’re going to end up in your comfy clothes most of the time. We’re talking about the pajamas, the jogging gear, the hoodie that is at least one size too big but keeps you warm no matter what the temperature, and those big bear paw slippers. However, there is no denying the boost you can get from looking sharp and knowing that you’re looking sharp.
Next time you have a regular call, shake off the big jumper and go formal or stylish. Open that wardrobe and find the outfit that you would wear to really impress and find a pair of shoes to match. Even if it’s just for an hour or two, a change in routine can make a big impact on your mental health and shake you out of the lockdown fog. We all need to keep finding ways to keep things fresh and stay positive, and looking your best will help you rise above.
Remember The Angle
So, you’ve got the right outfit on, you’ve taken care of your appearance, and you’ve got some lovely natural light streaming through the window. But have you checked the angle of your camera? If you want to make a great first impression, you are going to want to make sure that you avoid joining the call with the camera looking straight up your nose. Similarly, an angle looking down on you will give a bad impression, making it look like you’re lounging around not doing anything particularly important. Eye level is always the goal, so make sure you’ve got enough elevation under your computer to bring it to the right point.
Remember To Be Confident
If you want to look good on an important work call, one of the most important things to remember is to relax and be confident. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what you’ve done to your hair if you don’t feel calm and at ease when you’re fielding questions and talking about yourself. So, remember to take a deep breath, center yourself, maybe practice a few mindfulness exercises, and relax. You’ve got this.