The 7 steps to Look Even More Professional Online – By Roz Morris, Managing Director, TV News London Ltd
It all started after our first UK lockdown in March. No more face to face meetings for anyone. No more running face to face media training and presentation training courses for me. Suddenly, like many of us, I was working on Zoom or Teams, or other video conferencing platforms.
It was a culture shock which brought new and unexpected challenges for maintaining professional standards at meetings when working from home. We all, as one commentator memorably observed, began seeing an awful lot of other people’s bookcases, kitchens and even bedrooms.
Too many people are badly lit
I was struck by the fact that I had never seen so many badly lit people. This occurred both at online meetings and on TV, where spokespeople were talking to us from their own homes instead of studios.
Many people were looking in the wrong direction, some were out of focus, some were too small, some too large on screen and even more were looking a bit scruffy.
And then it hit me. Too many people are thinking that an online business meeting is like a phone call. But it isn’t. It’s an onscreen performance that requires the skills of a broadcaster.
You are the producer and the director
I realised that we are all broadcasters now. But that’s not all. WFH means we have to be the producer and director as well as the presenter.
So, as a media and presentation trainer and a former BBC and ITV broadcaster, I started offering clients my expert advice on how to look better online.
Here are the 7 steps to success online :
- Background and shot composition – check your background. Is it very ‘busy’? Will your audience spend more time looking at what’s behind you than listening to what you say?
- Lighting- Have you got light on your face? Don’t sit by a window, sit in front of it facing the window. Never have a window behind you. This will make you look odd. Be prepared to put a lamp behind your computer screen pointing towards you or put table lamps on either side of your screen.
- Framing – Use the Rule of Thirds – sit in the middle of your screen and with your head towards the top middle square.
- Sound- Consider investing in a good quality microphone.
- Eyeline – Try to keep your eyes on the camera, not on what else and who else is on your screen.
- Appearance – Wear smart causal or smart clothes with no fussy patterns or tweeds. Block colours are best. Always comb your hair (Yes this means you Boris)
- Avoid Interruptions – Make sure you have a quiet place where no dogs, cats, parrots, children can interrupt. If not using your phone for your meeting/interview, put it in Airplane Mode.
To sum up; It really pays off if you always look professional on screen. Then you’ll know that you’re doing your best and people aren’t silently marking you down as unprofessional and untidy or continually asking themselves why you’re sitting in the dark.
Want to improve how you look online? For more info on how to book your individual advice session with Roz email her at firstname.lastname@example.org One hour and two hour slots are available.