Essential Tips to Looking Your Best in Video Conference Calls

Whether you’re new to remote work, preparing for a Zoom interview or joining your crush for an online happy hour, it can be nerve-wracking to make sure you’re putting your best (virtual) foot forward for a video chat. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a full-on glam squad to help you shine bright through the computer screen.

Here are essential tips to looking your best in video conference calls.

#1. Think about the occasion and dress for it like you would any other time.

What’s the occasion you’ll be logging in for? If it’s a casual get together with your besties, you might not feel it’s necessary to wear your fanciest dress. If you’re preparing for a video interview, you’d probably want to dress to impress as though you’re going into HQ to meet the team. You don’t really need to do too much different from how you’d normally get ready, but here are a few easy tips to adapt your look for the screen:

  • In general, stick to trendy tops in solid colors so that they don’t take away from your face. Prints don’t come across as clearly through a video chat as they would in person.
  • Accessorize in a way that you feel comfortable, but be mindful of jewelry that clinks and clanks, as that could be very distracting on the audio.
  • For makeup, you can be more liberal when you cover up blemishes with concealer or mattify your T-zone with some powder. You can be more dramatic with your brows, cheeks and lips since they can be more muted on screen.

Some video chat applications offer a “blur” effect that you can turn on to help even skin tone and smooth imperfections with the click of a button. If this makes you feel your best, then use it for a confidence boost!

#2. Dress from top to bottom and don’t forget the bottoms.

If you’re only visible from the waist up, many people might think that it’s okay to plan their outfits for just the parts that will be seen through the screen. The truth is, however, that you never know when you might need to stand up or get out of your chair for some unexpected reason. You want your entire look to match the nature of the video conference you’re participating in, to save yourself (and others!) from potential embarrassment.

  • Style bright, beautiful trendy tops with a pair of stretchy black pants for comfort that still looks polished.
  • You don’t necessarily need to wear heels, but a stylish pair of mules or even sturdy house shoes from a boutique clothing store can help you feel more put together, even if your feet won’t be seen during the call.

#3. Be mindful of your lighting situation and use multiple light sources if possible.

Dim, overhead light (which is common in many households) can cast a shadow over your face, giving you ominous dark circles underneath your eyes. While it isn’t necessarily important if you’re chatting with friends or tuning in for a quick conference with coworkers, putting a lamp on either side of your computer screen will help brighten up your face and eyes for something important like a big job interview or presentation.

#4. Keep the camera at eye-level to keep the interactions feeling natural and balanced.

Just like you would normally both be sitting or standing during a conversation, you want to generally be at the same level as others on your video call. Be mindful of where the webcam is, and angle your computer screen accordingly.

If your camera is too high and angled downwards, you’ll appear small and your viewers will have to look down at you. If the camera is too low and angled upwards, you will offer a bit of an unpleasant view up your nose! If you have to, consider propping yourself up by stacking books on your desk or pillows on your chair to ensure your screen is eye level.

#5. Test your audio and video before you start your conference call. 

When you’re dealing with virtual meetings, finicky technology can sometimes get in the way of a smooth conversation. Just as you’d leave yourself a little extra time to drive to an onsite interview, be sure to test out your audio and video in advance so that you have as few hiccups as possible. Check your system settings and call a trusted friend first! This way, you’ll be able to get right to business as soon as you log in.

#6. Keep the clutter out of view from the camera and limit external distractions.

Video conferences can feel a bit more personal than an in-person meeting because you’re kind of inviting your guests into your home when you typically wouldn’t. To avoid (quite literally) airing your dirty laundry during your video call, set up your computer screen so that you have a solid or minimal backdrop behind you, such as a blank wall. If you aren’t able to change your setup, consider adding an understated virtual background right through your video conferencing app.

It’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate distractions when you’re taking a video conference call from home, but you can certainly try! If you have children or attention-loving pets, see if someone else in the home might be able to look after them while you shut the door for your meeting. Shut the windows if you live on a busy street, turn off the TV/radio and close out of any browser tabs that you won’t need for your meeting.

#7. Act natural, be confident and treat it as you would an in-person get-together.

No matter what type of engagement you’re participating in through your video conference call, it’s helpful to think of it just like you would any in-person occasion. Make eye contact with those you’re speaking to. Smile and laugh when you feel happy. Furrow your brows if you disagree. Use your active listening skills. If you’re interviewing, practice your responses in advance. Only reference or take notes if you feel you need to and use a notepad instead of typing to avoid distracting others with the clinking of keyboard keys. Overall, it’s most important to act natural and behave however you feel most confident. It really makes a difference!

#8. Minimize Distractions

Minimizing distractions during video calls is crucial to maintain a productive and professional atmosphere. To achieve this, it’s essential to create a quiet and dedicated workspace, inform those around you about your call schedule, and close unnecessary apps and tabs on your computer.

Activating “Do Not Disturb” mode and muting notifications on your devices can help prevent interruptions from emails and social media alerts. A clean and organized workspace can also aid in concentration.

Using headphones or a headset will not only improve audio quality but also block out external noise, making it easier to focus. Additionally, remember to keep pets at bay and avoid eating or drinking during the call to eliminate audio and visual distractions.

From adding an extra swipe of lipstick to choosing the perfect video background, it only takes a few quick fixes to help make sure you’re feeling confident and looking your best in video conference calls.