In this new era of working from home while attending virtual meetings, people are not sure how best to present themselves when on camera. Here are some guidelines everyone can follow during their next virtual meeting.
One of the most important things you can do is to stage your area. Soft natural light in front of your face is best. Avoid overhead, side, or back lighting when possible as it leaves shadows which can make you appear tired or hard to see. Contrasting backgrounds help you stand out so be sure to sit in front of a bookshelf or wall hanging with varying colors. You can use virtual backgrounds to hide messy rooms or to disguise your location. But be aware, many times, the background can engulf you and cause you to vanish from view. Cameras should be at eye level or slightly above for the best angle when presenting. This eliminates double chins and unflattering angles. Use an external mic rather than a built-in mic for better audio. External headsets are best when background noise is a concern. Also, hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door to reduce interruptions.
While you are presenting, sit up straight and look directly into the camera vs looking at other participants on the screen. Sit close enough to the camera to take up about half the space on the screen so you appear more engaged in the meeting. Avoid jingly jewelry and try not to fidget or touch your face often. Place your notes in a split screen or at same level as the camera so you are not looking down at them while presenting. Test audio/video before the actual presentation to ensure your equipment is functioning properly. If you must step away from the presentation, do not stand up and walk away with the camera on. Turn off the video and mute the mic so you do not unintentionally interrupt others presenting.
And remember, video conferencing is still interacting in person, so you should always strive to look your best.