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The last couple of months have been a little chaotic in terms of working from home and figuring out where and how you’ll work creating last-minute office set-ups and trying to get entire companies set up on virtual meeting software in a matter of days.
But now that we’re in it, it’s time to reevaluate and see how we might be better able to set ourselves up to look more professional and have an overall better home office experience.
The first thing first is your lighting. It’s important to make sure you are well lit so people can clearly see your face. One of the easiest traps to fall into is being backlit. This is when the light from behind you is so bright that it ends up making you look like a dark blob. The best lighting is also natural lighting so the easiest fix to get that glow is to turn your desk so it’s facing a window. That will light your face and also provide that natural light. If you’re not able to be near a window or the window doesn’t produce enough light, you can always get a lamp. Don’t point the lamp directly at your face as it could give you a spotlight effect, but do point it slightly up over your head.
There are also tons of different lightbulbs you can buy to try and mimic natural light. It’s best to stay away from super yellow lights and you also don’t want something too harsh so try and find a shade right in the middle.
Next up is your background. Try and sit in front of something that isn’t too distracting…or too boring. No one wants to see your dirty kitchen or you sitting on your bed and blank walls give off a prison vibe both of which are not very professional. Try to find a backdrop that is minimally decorated. A good tip is to find a black wall, bring in one or two prints to hang and a nice green plant and you have the perfect setting for your video.
The last thing is the camera. For most, just your standard laptop camera is fine. Our tip is in how you position it. The best angle would be slightly above eye level and at a slight angle pointed down. You should also be far enough away that you could high five your screen. Now sometimes this means your keyboard is further away and you might have trouble taking notes or going on and off mute. If this is the case you have a few options.
The first would be to get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. This gives you the option to have your laptop further away and still be able to have a mouse to go on and off mute and a keyboard to take notes.
The other option would be to set up a webcam in your office. You can keep your webcam in the same place and just turn it on whenever your meeting starts. Webcams also tend to be better quality than laptop computers so if you are frequently on video or meet with clients via video, it might be good to invest in an external camera.
All of these tips should take you less than 5 minutes but they really make a world of difference. Just like you wouldn’t show up to work wearing sweatpants, you don’t want to show up to a video looking unprofessional either. Take the time to try different spots around your home to try and find the best setting and then everything else will fall into place from there.