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How to look more Credible and Trustworthy on Zoom

This week a major retailer reported increased sales of tops -- but not bottoms. Can you guess why?

It's because many of us are now showing up to work...or to socialize...on video platforms like Zoom, where we’re only going to be seen from the waist up!

Still, how you show up on screen matters just as much as how you show up in real life.

If you’ve watched my Ted Talk, you know that your image impacts how others perceive you and the kinds of opportunities you attract. This is true whether you meet in-person or on-screen.

If your associates, clients and prospective clients are looking at a shadowy face, double chin, distracting and/or messy background or bleak uniform...will that help you build trust and confidence? No.

That’s why today I’m giving you a Top 4 Checklist for making sure your on-screen presence is going to serve your goals.

If you want to position yourself as a trustworthy team member ...and as a leader, each of these tips are relevant for you.

1. Position the camera at face height or slightly higher.

Unless you want others to focus on your neck, a flattering position is the most important!The most common mistake is having the camera positioned too low, requiring you to look down into the camera. Viewers see a double chin, even if you don’t have one. To correct this, put your laptop, phone or ipad on a stand to raise it (get creative if needed)...or connect a separate webcam on a stand that can be positioned higher.

2. Make sure there is good lighting on your face.

Not above, behind or to the side - but directly shining onto your face. Many people have a window or light behind them or to one side, causing their face to be fully or partially in shadow. Shaded faces do not appear as trustworthy or easy to focus on.

Position yourself to face a window, and/or put a light behind the camera you are facing (the one in your laptop, device, etc). Self-standing ring lights like this are an affordable option.

3. Present a polished image from the chest up.

Wear shirts with collars (men & women), or add accessories around the face for more authority and presence. A scarf, larger earrings or a statement necklace for example:

  • Style your hair, put on makeup
  • Avoid wearing lots of black, skin tone color tops, or very busy patterns. Wear more color and choose those that flatter you - especially if you want to stand out in a group.

4. Consider what's behind you in the screen view.

  • Clutter, mess and odd or distracting visuals will not serve the good impression you want to make. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure it’s a nicer backdrop.
  • Clear away clutter from behind you, or shift your set up to a place where the background is a non cluttered area of the room.
  • Add a screen, or a simple non-distracting artwork on the wall behind you. You could even periodically change this up to show variety if that’s fun for you.
  • If you enjoy interior design, this is a fun opportunity to design your “set” and show up in style.

Try out the tips I’ve shared and let me know how it goes. Not only does it shape how others perceive you, but it builds more self-confidence inside you as well!

Just know that you don’t have to go it alone. I’m here to help you assess and implement these steps (especially #3 and #4), and I've set aside time in my calendar for 30 minute online consultations in the coming weeks.

We can meet on Zoom video where you’ll get gentle and constructive input, plus specific guidance for how to improve your on-screen presentation. We can even spend some time shopping online for tops that will flatter you. You'll find more details right here.

Friend, I’m thinking of you during these challenging times and sending you encouragement that you are strong, creative and resilient. I hope these tips empower you to show up well during this season!

2 thoughts on “How to look more Credible and Trustworthy on Zoom”

  1. Elisabeth Seaman

    Erin, Thanks for these timely tips. I find them very helpful as I prepare for an important meeting at which I’ll be the host. Especially useful is the tip about lighting, as I’d found this to be a challenge. My laptop is atop a couple of thick books on my living room table and I’ve placed a floor lamp behind the opposite side of the table, so it will light my face. I’ll try this out tonight at a meeting I am not hosting. Windows facing me are fine in the daytime, but not at night!

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