I’m Lily Johnson, the Director of Production here at Beacon Digital Marketing. I have over 10 years of experience as an Integrated Producer and A/V pro. While I have professionally captured countless virtual recordings, over the last two years of working from home I’ve been on the hunt to find a suite of tools and tips to achieve a balance of professional polish and authenticity on my Zoom calls.
We are meeting new people in our career trajectory and developing more professional relationships via Zoom than ever before. Because of this, it’s important to optimize your digital appearance and brush up on your online etiquette to ensure you’re coming across as professional, clear, and reliable digitally as you would in person.
Here are some suggested environment tips and tech tools to help achieve a balance of a professional polish and authenticity in your digital appearance as we look ahead to 2023!
The environment you surround yourself with during a video call is the first critical element to upping your digital appearance game. Unlike a shared space, our home offices allow us to take control of our surroundings to promote productivity and comfort. There’s a quote that I love from Olga Naiman, a residential and commercial designer whose work at Spatial Alchemy is redefining what interior decoration means: “When your home shifts, you shift. When your home is upgraded, you upgrade. Like any one of your intimate relationships, the relationship with your home affects you. Deeply.”
We’ve all heard the saying “dress for success,” or the philosophy of “dressing for the role you want.” These mantras can easily be applied to your Zoom or video background. When on a video call, participants are associating you with your background, real or virtual. So, I pose the question to you: What does your background say about you and your capabilities?
When working from a home office, natural light is your best friend. The key to making natural light work in your favor is by placing yourself so that windows are to your side, instead of in front or behind you. This avoids backlighting and allows your home office setup to shine.
What happens when the sun is down or it’s a rainy day? I recommend the Elgato Key Light Mini. This modular light can be placed anywhere that your environment is naturally darkened. A ring light can also work!
It can be easy to let your guard down when working from home—but when the cameras turn on, being aware of your overall presence is important. From nonverbal cues to posture, many things contribute to your digital appearance.
- Active listening: The practice of not only hearing what is being said but analyzing and internalizing the message behind it. Observing this practice allows you to better understand what others are saying and can in turn help enhance your body language and presence cues such as tone of voice.
- Posture: Good posture can make all the difference when it comes to looking and feeling alert. Sitting upright shows the person on the other end of your call that you’re engaged and intent on actively listening.
- Audiovisual discretion: We’ve all been on a Zoom call where someone’s dog won’t stop barking. Knowing when to mute yourself or turn off your camera is a subtle art and shouldn’t be overlooked.
The reality is that video calls aren’t going anywhere—remote work is here to stay. So, how can we improve our digital appearance in 2023? Here are some of my top recommendations.
Ensure that your voice comes across clear and free of audio fuzz. Clear audio can make you sound like you host podcasts all day long and radio shows all night. When your colleagues and clients notice your amplified audio, you'll consider your mic as the best investment you made all year. Today, I am using a Blue Yeti Nano. It is inexpensive, easy to use and has never let me down!
Let me start by saying the camera you already have built into your laptop is sufficient. With some simple tweaks or enhancements to your lighting, you can get a beautiful picture. That said, another piece of technology that can improve your appearance in 2023 is to invest in an external facecam. I am using the Premium 1080p60 Webcam from Elgato.
The most advanced tech in the world is useless without a reliable internet connection. I highly recommend regularly checking your bandwidth to make sure you’re operating at optimal speed. If things are feeling slow, try out a new router placement.
With some configuration of your home office environment, investment in new technology and consideration of these best practices, your digital appearance will be strong and clear in 2023. Drop us a line to let us know what tips work best for you!
P.S. Here at Beacon Digital Marketing, we create, produce, and promote videos and video podcasts for B2B companies looking to leverage video storytelling through our Video Production Department. If you’d like to learn more about the services we offer, get in touch with us!
Lily oversees a team of Producers and Studio professionals who create strategy centric and emotionally resonating audio and video content with high style and unparalleled production savvy. With 10+ years of experience as an Integrated Producer prior to Beacon, Lily’s background includes award-winning commercial, print, television, film, and cutting-edge experiential productions for clients Samsung, GE, Sony Playstation, Adidas, HBO and more.