Over the last year, more people than ever before began adjusting to the work-from-home lifestyle. This meant daily Zoom and other video calls as a substitute for in-person, face-to-face interaction. As a result, many of us got a firsthand glimpse into our coworkers’ living spaces and decor choices, whether we wanted to or not. Their dog, their bookshelf, the mess behind them, or a staticky Zoom video background all threatened to become the main focus of calls instead of the topic at hand. Most people haven’t considered how to look good on Zoom calls—but they should!

How To Look Good On Zoom—And Why It Matters

So why does it matter to look good on Zoom?

Among friends and family, it probably doesn’t matter as you aren’t in a business interaction. But in an important meeting or sales call, it’s crucial to appear professional, prepared, and like you value your colleague’s or prospect’s time. Glitchy Zoom backgrounds can seem less than thoughtful, almost as if you aren’t prepared for the meeting or forgot about it–not the message you want to send to new leads, business partners, or your boss.

At best, bad Zoom backgrounds are distracting and counterproductive to your goals for the meeting. At worst, they don’t allow you to be taken seriously. To help people focus on you and your value instead of what’s behind you, consider the following tips for how to look better on Zoom calls and hopefully, improve your future meetings:

  1. See what others are seeing. First, you need to understand what you currently look like on your Zoom calls; it’s important to know what others see. Launch Zoom, make the screen as big as possible, and observe what your webcam captures. Stand in front of it so you can see everything in the picture as if you were in a meeting. Can you see the couch clutter or the unorganized bookshelf behind you? Remove anything from the background that could serve as a potential distraction.
  2. Avoid greenscreen or animated video backgrounds. Even Hollywood-level greenscreen isn’t totally convincing, so avoid trying to “greenscreen” yourself into looking professional on Zoom. These backgrounds don’t help you put your best foot forward. Have you ever seen someone start to disappear into their Zoom background or watched as someone’s glasses take on the background image? Very distracting.
  3. Try to simulate a normal face-to-face conversation. The key to looking great on Zoom calls? Attempt to have a normal, face-to-face conversation, as much as is possible over video. Although it’s clearly not a true face-to-face conversation, try to minimize significant markers that emphasize you’re on a video call. Place your camera right at eye level since most people are at eye-level in a conference room. Forgo headphones during because you wouldn’t wear them in person, and make sure to sit in a clean and quiet area so you can focus on your conversation and meeting goals.
  4. Consider lighting and desk positioning. Sometimes, the best tips for how to improve Zoom video quality are similar to advice a photographer would dictate at a photoshoot. For example, lighting is very important. Is your desk facing a door or a window? This may create a distracting glare or wash you out, especially if you wear glasses. A good rule of thumb is to aim light down at yourself, not directly on you or your camera.
  5. Use a professional backdrop. If you don’t have a convenient location to work in your home with minimal background distractions, a professional backdrop can eliminate the need for you to hide items. It also demonstrates that you’ve put some thought into your appearance on video calls, which helps you seem credible and thorough. These backdrops are especially convenient for when you’re taking calls on the go, like in a hotel room (yes, they’re portable). This is one of the easiest ways to figure out how to look better on Zoom.
  6. Resist “Resting Zoom Face.” A new phenomenon is rising that many are calling “Resting Zoom Face”—basically, people unintentionally relax their faces into a slight scowl, look disinterested, or seem unfriendly when they aren’t speaking during video calls.This is especially common in calls of three or more people because you naturally engage less when the focus isn’t just on you. But rest assured, people are looking at you; think about how you observe your own coworkers on a call. The best way to combat “Resting Zoom Face” is to smile slightly and keep your eyes focused so you appear pleasant and engaged, even when you’re not talking.
  7. Dress and groom appropriately. What would you wear to an in-person meeting? Is it the outfit you would wear to that same meeting if it were happening over Zoom? Maybe not, but you still want to send the message that your colleague’s or prospect’s time is valuable and that you’re prepared for the meeting. The way you appear on video calls matters just as much as your presence in-person, and the advantage in business will always go to those who present themselves powerfully. With this in mind, it might be time to break the blazer back out for your video calls.

Anyvoo is on a mission to help you look better on Zoom.

It’s worth mentioning that not every single Zoom call requires this level of effort, but these tips will help you build credibility and professionalism when you need to appear more polished. Whether your goals are growing your business, converting new leads, branching out on your own as a consultant, or just wowing your boss into giving you that promotion, putting your best foot forward on Zoom or other video calls will only give you more of an advantage.

With Anyvoo backdrops, you can always be ready for the next Zoom call. They are lightweight, easy to assemble, and low-maintenance, so you can travel with them or just pull them out at your home office right before a call. Each backdrop can be custom-printed with whatever Zoom background you prefer and also includes a quick setup stand, a frame, and a high-quality fabric sleeve. Don’t wait, get ahead with an Anyvoo backdrop today!