Backgrounds for Video Calls: What do They Say About You?

After a year of COVID, it’s understandable that the majority of us want to leave the never-ending video calls and go back to in-person meetings. But, just like in-person meetings, you have to find a way to stand out form all the other Zoom calls you’re on.  One ways to truly stand out in video calls is to make sure your background illustrates who you are and what you do!

I was recently invited to be interviewed by expert media trainer and presentation coach, Rosemary Ravinal on her Monday Makeover show. Needless to say, I was thrilled to join her for an important discussion about making the best impression in virtual meetings, especially when using a real, professional background. Click the video to watch. 

The virtual meeting has become a normal part of our professional lives since Covid-19 pushed us into a new global ‘normal’. The way we do business has changed. Some business owners and executives have adapted well to the new way of doing things. Sadly, many have not. For those who have taken meetings and events virtual – there are some bugs to work out when it comes to maintaining brand awareness, looking and presenting professionally, and more. This are some topics discussed in this Monday Makeover interview.

The main point I want to communicate to any business that attend or host virtual meetings and events is simple. When you are on camera, you are always ON CAMERA!

Too often I have participated in virtual meetings and events and have been distracted by pixilated and wonky backdrops and activity going on behind and around participants. I have also been frustrated by technical issues experienced on the part of a speaker, host or moderator – those in position to influence the professional feel of the meetring or event.

In this interview Mary Ann and I discuss some of the most frequently seen distractions and frustrations and I offer practical tips and suggestions for eliminating them. Additionally, the tips I offer here will go a step further and help to enhance business brand and help make the best first impression.  Watch the video for the full interview. I hope you’ll consider some of my tips and suggestions when you are planning your next virtual meeting or event. I have recapped them below.

Background for Video Calls

Your background on video calls speaks to your brand and can speak to your brand and your personality. Make sure it speaks well.

  • Set up and test your background quality well in advance of your meeting or event.
  • Avoid fake back ground filters unless using a green screen.
  • Use an LED screen that allows changing and adapting brand if needed.
  • Use props that represent your business, your personality or the nature of your meeting of event.
  • Use physical backdrops vs. virtual backdrops.

Lighting on Video Calls

These tips can help bring the best light to your brand on all video calls.

  • Set up and test lighting well in advance of the meeting or event.
  • Use supplemental lighting.
  • Avoid too much light or direct light from in front or behind you.
  • If you wear glasses avoid direct eye-level lighting.
  • Cut glare by lightly powdering shiny spots on your face or head.
  • Use a three point lighting set up. Light on your left and your right, and indirectly from the front.
  • Take advantage of natrual light when possible.

Best Audio for Video Calls

Audio quality can make or break a video call or virtual meeting or event. As such it can create the most pleasant experience for oarticipants or the most frustrating experience.

  • Set up and test audio well in advance of your meeting or event.
  • Avoid earbuds and wired earpieces when possible.
  • Invest in a quality microphone for the best sound possible.

Wardrobe – Especially on Video Calls

If you would show up to the office dressed well, show up on camera that way, especially in your video calls.

  • When hosting, uplevel your professioanal look.
  • Wear something that speaks to your brand whether a host or a participant.
  • Dress as if you were interviewing for a job.
  • Yes, pants are optional but …

Body Language and position

What you don’t say can be as impressive as what you do say.

  • Turn on the camera and test your position well in advance of your meeting or event.
  • Make certain your camera is eye-level.
  • Avoid sitting in a swivel chair.
  • Be still and attentive.
  • Keep hands away from your face.
  • Smile and be your most awesome self.

One more thing, in case you haven’t gotten it … Set up and test your tech well in advance of your meeting or event.

Chris Kuban

Chris Kuban started Chemistry PR and Multimedia with a vision to effectively formulate corporate and non-profit brands across the country. In doing so, he has become an expert in Media Relations, Event Management, Social Media implementation and video production.  He engages, coordinates and oversees a diverse team of local and national suppliers, vendors, employees and consultants, allowing him to successfully coordinate over 120 national events focusing on overall logistics, media relations and his clients’ expected ROI. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.