Now that the country is working from home and people have familiarised themselves with Skype or Zoom, Caroline Keogh of Boys + Girls offers some tips for looking good in those dreaded video conferences.
Ok, we’ve moved on from the Panic phase. We’re in Adapt mode. We’re all now Working From Home. WFH is the most used three letter acronym to date in 2020. Fact*.
The acclimatisation has been a barrel of laughs & learning.
‘Video conferencing’ you say? ‘Remote access to the server’ is it? When you say “meet” you don’t mean actually meet, right?
Accompanying this has been a plethora of articles on how to set up for this new normal and keep teams engaged and the work flowing. And now we’re all doing it. New habits can be formed in 18 days. We’re nearly there.
But just as we’re feeling a bit calmer and settling into it, there’s been another development – for lots of us that has been the latest revelation of what we look like on that important video meeting. Bit of a shock for some.
Do I really look like that? Wasn’t aware I had two chins. I wonder what my old flowery wallpaper says about me? Surely my unbrushed hair is taking away from the fact that I’m a smart professional and what I’m saying is pretty important? Hmmm. I really need this person to take me seriously, we worry.
Given our expertise at Boys + Girls in creating Brand Entertainment, and our network of film directors, photographers, lighting technicians and set designers, at Boys + Girls (www.boysandgirls.ie) we thought we’d share (in this time of not sharing) some tips for putting your best professional-looking virtual foot forward.
As, all joking aside, the show must go on. Businesses need to survive and thrive, and nobody is achieving that in their PJs.
Antti Viitala, in the world’s top 200 photographers, prefers natural light and light that is soft. He advises placing yourself next to a window with natural light coming in, but crucially not hitting your face directly. A final point on lighting – backlit is not good. You will be nothing but a strange shadowy shape.
Let’s start with the basics, the camera should be angled above your face, not underneath. Camera underneath = more chins.
A key framing recommendation from Antti was also not to crop the image very tight, allowing your hand gestures and body language to be seen.
Ciara O’Donovan is an Art Director & Stylist who is already scene setting for virtual gatherings. Her advice is to go for a minimal approach; set up your ‘desk’ in front of a plain background (a white wall for example, which Antti also suggests); no family photos; and include some neat lists or a calendar on the wall behind you.
Ciara is also a fan of books (stacks of them or on shelves, but they must be neat!), plants, and of course a clean home (no piles of washing visible please).
If this all sounds like too much effort, just use Zoom and one their handy changeable backgrounds. Zero effort required.
#What to wear:
You wouldn’t wear a gym top to a client’s office, don’t start now. Enough said.
Finally, do a preview before that important meeting, you’ll likely spot one thing in the shot that you’d rather not be seen by colleagues & clients (for me this week that was a lovely clothes horse).
*It’s not a fact. Or maybe it is. It’s certainly how I currently feel.
Caroline Keogh is a relationship management director board member with Boys + Girls