Understanding how to dress for a Zoom meeting has become increasingly important over the past 2 months. Mainly because this has become our main form of socialising and connecting with other people. Whether it is a family quiz night, an online networking meeting, a virtual training session or a client consultation, Zoom or one of its alternatives, has rapidly become our new best friend!
In “normal” times, when we get dressed, we look at the proportions of the whole body and how they balance one another. However, when our visual impression is restricted to a small box on screen, it is harder to make an impact.
Zoom has now become another way of presenting ourselves, but it can be fraught with pitfalls. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the common mistakes that people make, both for yourself and to share with your clients.
How to Dress for a Zoom Meeting in Seven Simple Steps
What you wear around your face is key, as the focus during these calls will be on your top half. Therefore, colour is vital and wearing flattering colours important for you to look healthy on screen. This is your cue to offer a Colour Analysis session – especially if you can do this virtually!
If you are in a team meeting or a group networking session, then wear a strong or bright colour from your palette. This is to help you stand out from the crowd.
2 Jewellery and Scarves
Wear some! A fabulous necklace can draw attention to your face and fill a neckline. However, avoid anything too big, bright or shiny as it might look strange or out of proportion in a tiny screen. Conversely if the beads are too small they could pixelate on camera.
Earrings can bring a focus to your face. This is especially important if you have short hair. However, avoid big, excessively dangly earrings as they will become a distraction. I would also avoid lots of bracelets as these can be noisy if you move your hands around when you are talking.
A scarf is a great way of bringing colour &/or pattern into your on screen outfit. Again, avoid a shiny fabric or anything too bulky.
Wear some! When on screen you will need to apply more than in an everyday situation. So as a bare minimum, ensure that you are wearing some powder, especially if you have oily skin. Then add some blusher and lipstick for colour and definition. Personally, I would wear full make-up if I know it is an important call.
If you wear glasses make sure that they sit on your face correctly. Avoid having reading glasses perched on the end of your nose. You may need them when reading or writing something on your desk. But when you look up, the viewers won’t actually be able to see your eyes. And please make sure the lenses are clean!!
Be aware of any reflections in your glasses, especially important if you are using a ring light (see below). Non-reflective lenses are well worth the investment, as they cut out most of any glare.
As you move more and more into online services, have you considered offering eyewear consultations to your clients? Wendy Buchanan, who is known as THE Eyewear Image Expert has now developed her “Be Spectacular” training programme to be taught and delivered online.
She is running a virtual styling workshop on Tuesday 26th May to explain more about how this service works.
This is such an important factor in how you are seen by others. The ideal lighting would be with you facing a window. However, this won’t work if you are squinting because the sun is shining into your eyes!
Avoid sitting with a window behind you, as you will literally disappear! If you sit with a window on one side of you then you could balance out the light using a ring light or even just a table lamp.
A ring light is a florescent tube ring that can be adjusted to give various lighting options. Be aware that if you wear glasses the light will reflect in your lenses. Therefore, test where you can place the light without this happening.
Although not officially how to dress for a Zoom meeting, you do need to consider dressing your environment. It is key that you are aware of what you might be inadvertently be revealing to your audience…. Your backdrop is still part of your non-verbal impact. So if the viewer can see piles of ironing, dirty dishes or a jumble of kids toys in the background, this could well influence their impression of you.
Play around with options – have something relevant to our profession in the background. Perhaps a dressed tailors dummy, a rail of clothes, your colour drapes or some make-up.
If none of these suggestions work because of your space, then utilise the virtual backdrop option that Zoom provides. This allows you to use a photo as your background. Zoom have some standard templates or you can upload your own image. The ideal opportunity to showcase some products &/or your logo. However, be aware that if you move around, parts of you can disappear into the virtual backdrop!
7 Zoom Etiquette
Get to grips with how the Zoom platform works. Know where the mute button is. If you aren’t speaking or part of a conversation, use the mute button. There is nothing worse than hearing someone typing away in the background! If you aren’t particularly engaged in the meeting or conversation (we’ve all been there!) then switch your camera off. However, when you are speaking look at your camera, NOT the picture on screen. This is extremely hard to do, so train yourself. Stick a coloured label next to the camera lens or if possible, move the thumbnail pictures of the people on the call underneath your camera.
And finally, tick the “Touch up my appearance” button in the video settings within Zoom. I’m not sure if it makes any difference but I’ll take all the help I can get!