Now that, for the foreseeable future, due to Covid19, Virtual Meetings are the new normal, it’s easy to slide into a super casual, work from home vibe and not worry about it. The fact is that visual impressions still matter, and sprucing up a little can actually help you be more productive. As an image consultant and business wardrobe stylist, I help my clients look their best for a variety of occasions. Virtual Meetings should be no exception. So, here are four tips to look your best, during all your Virtual Meetings in the coming weeks.
Have the Right Lighting
Have the right lighting. If you’ve been in a lot of Zoom meetings recently I’m sure you’ve noticed that some participants have better lighting than others. It may be the light in place where they’re located, or they may know about the Ring light. A Ring light offers clear illumination with no dark shadows. It’s a flattering look and your facial features, especially eyes, will appear more clearly. For me, it works well if I’m photographing color swatches for a client. (Click here for Ring Light on Amazon) All in all, it’s a good tool to have!
Dress and Grooming
Put some thought into your grooming. Things can be casual without looking like you just got out of bed. By grooming I mean hair in place, slight touch of makeup, collared shirt or sweater. Solid, deeper colors show up better on the small screen than lighter, or more intricate patterns. Black, most blues, brown and dark grey are good choices. For something brighter you can also try golden yellow, teal blue, burgundy or deep red.
If you need or want to be more formal, try wearing a contrasting jacket, sweater, scarf or vest. Contrast between a jacket or sweater will show up nicely, for example a navy v-neck sweater and white blouse. Wearing a softly draped scarf around your neck adds interest. And while jewelry is a nice touch it’s not essential, although I’ve found that pearl stud earrings work very well.
If you are conducting a virtual job interview you need to put more thought into your appearance. Consider a jacket over a blouse or collared shirt. A solid jacket is a better choice than patterned, as a pattern on a screen can show up as muddled. Wearing a tie is optional, it depends on the position you’re going for. At the very least wear a shirt with a structured collar that will stay in place.
Finally, have the right background. You may not have a dedicated space from which to conduct virtual meetings but consider how your background looks in the screen. A messy console table, piles of laundry or your lunch dishes will not give the impression you’re looking for. If you need to adjust the background in a hurry, you can use a virtual background. On Zoom this is easily done through settings/virtual background. You can also add your own image, (maybe an idealized version of your actual space) and other technologies offer similar choices.
Think about how you would look in a headshot, and that’s the impression your virtual meeting partner will be seeing. Take a look at my blog post on media dressing. A virtual meeting is another chance to show your professionalism and integrity, even though it’s only on the screen.