Presenting yourself in the best light: How to properly set up for a video meeting

Presenting yourself in the best light: How to properly set up for a video meeting

Yoav Hornung is an award-winning young filmmaker and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Veed.me, a video production marketplace.


We all know that there’s nothing like a face-to-face meeting.

Actually, at Veed.me, when we say “face-to-face,” we actually refer to meeting in person while in reality, we find ourselves holding more and more video calls.

From what I’ve researched, I found out that most people don’t really think about the video part of their call. And that’s a shame.

Remember this rule of thumb: when you have a webcam meeting — you’re shooting a video. So set it up like one. Here are a few easy ways to make you look better on camera.

Get the light right

A few scenarios to discuss here:

Day time with window

If you’re sitting in a room with a big window, you should face the window, you will get a beautiful natural light and the least unnecessary shadows in your face.

If you’ll try to put the camera to face the beautiful view from your office, the other side won’t be able to see you, but a face-shaped silhouette. Unflattering, and vaguely ominous!

No window/Nighttime

This will lead to “Overhead lighting” which is the most common lighting in most rooms — the light source is above you so it makes unwanted shadows under your eyes, nose and mouth.

The best way to remedy this is to use other sources of light. Find a standing light or table lamp and put one or two behind the camera. If you have an extra light, use it as a backlight behind you to create a clear visual focal point.

Notice the background

You’re technically hosting someone at your office, room or living room, so make sure it’s not a mess while at the same time, try to avoid a boring white wall.

Make the space representative  of your and/or your company —  an organized office can give off a professional vibe just as much as a cool painting in the background or even your company’s beautiful logo to add personality.

Camera angle

Just like in any video, the place you put the camera has a huge effect on how you look.

It’s most likely that your camera is the one attached to your laptop. If this is the case, make sure it’s at the right height. Ideally, the camera will be around eye level as that is the most natural angle to talk to someone. You can always put your laptop (or phone) on something that will make it higher.

Before the meeting, go to Hangout/Skype or any other program that turns on the camera, make sure that everything’s in place and test the call.

Avoid distractions

First thing to do before jumping on that call: Put your phone  on silent!

Let the people around you know that you’re in a meeting so they won’t disturb the meeting or randomly walk into the frame. Same goes for pets by the way… unless the person you’re talking to is an animal lover and you think that having your cat or dog crying for food or attention will impress him.

Close your Facebook and any other distracting tabs that are irrelevant to the meeting. There’s nothing more annoying than someone who types and reads while you speak — they can see you, after all.

Be 100 percent devoted to the meeting. Come prepared with the materials to discuss and make the call as efficient as possible.

It’s your time to shine

By now you should already understand that it’s a meeting just like any other one  and it’s important to look presentable!

Woke up in the middle of the night to take this call from the other side of the world? Wash your face, shave if needed and put the shirt that looks nice on you . Avoid stripes and squares which usually create video noise. A solid-colored top that contrasts well against the background color can help you stand out rather than blend in.

Make sure your chair is stable and not shaking/moving or squeaking. People notice.

Look them in the eyes

Since we want to see who we talk to while we speak, we normally look at the screen and not at the camera.

BUT — if the person you’re talking to is having a monologue, or if he’s the one talking the most at a certain moment — look at the camera. The other side will feel that you’re looking straight at him and you’ll see what a great effect it has since it will feel to him as you’re very engaged.

Obviously, sometimes it’s not possible to make it perfect, but it’s important to keep these in mind when you schedule a meeting and while you’re having it.

Do you have other tips to make a video call go smoothly? Share them in the comments below!

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