By now, we’re all settled in at home and seamlessly conducting our business by phone and Zoom meetings, right? Well, not so fast…
Like you, I’ve greatly increased my Zoom meetings, and I’ve been disturbed by what I’ve seen. There has been a surprising lack of professionalism, lack of preparation, and in general an unorganized and ineffective approach to conducting Zoom meetings.
As you know, first impressions are everything, and if you’re meeting with a prospect or client over Zoom there are some things you definitely don’t want to do, and others that you do want to do.
Follow this quick list of 5 tips to insure you not only make a great impression, but that you also easily place yourself above your competition.
Zoom Tip #1: Clear away any and all unprofessional distractions. Oh, I know, everyone is working from home so a dog barking or kids screaming in the background should be O.K., right?
Wrong. You are a representative of your company, and you are a professional. I wouldn’t bring my dog to the office, would you? How about your kids? Of course not. It’s key for you to present a professional, confident, and competent image, and that means one free of distractions.
So, get your wife or husband to mind the kids—they are probably at home with you—take the dog outside and shut the door. Create an environment of professionalism.
Zoom Tip #2: Speaking of professionalism, what are you wearing to your Zoom meetings? Because you’re confined at home, are you showing up in a tee-shirt or sweatshirt? Or are you wearing business casual and at least wearing a nice button-down shirt?
And if you’re a man, have you shaved? Combed your hair? Or do you look like you’ve just gotten off the couch? If you’re a woman, is your hair looking neat? How about make-up, if you wear it?
How you appear makes a huge impression on your clients and prospects. You want to look your best, and it doesn’t take much effort. Make it.
Zoom Tip #3: Lighting. Now I know you’re not in the film industry, but lighting is crucial to any type of filming. I was on a meeting with someone just the other day and it appeared as if they were calling from a cave. It was so dark, I could barely see them.
And then I’ve been in meetings with people sitting in front of a sunlit window. Same thing: I couldn’t see their face because they were drowned out in shadow.
When considering where to film, make sure you’re not too backlit that your face will be dark, and if you’re in a dark study or den, then turn the lights on or open your blinds.
You all know how much difference a well shot, well lit film looks compared to a B-film. Remember: Image is everything in front of a camera.
Zoom Tip #4: Background is important as well. Have you ever been on a Zoom meeting with someone and thought, “Ewe, that guy/gal is a slob! Look at that messy couch and bookcase and those crooked pictures. Yuck!”
Ladies and gentlemen, we know your home is your kingdom, and that you’ll live any way you choose. And you should. But we don’t need to see it all.
If you don’t have a professional background, then the solution is simple: Use one of Zoom’s greenscreen backgrounds. There are plenty to choose from and you can find even more by Googling “Zoom Background Images.”
Oh, I know—if you move too fast then the background blurs. Two things about that: 1) Don’t move so much. In fact, if you look at any professional newscaster, they move very little. You should practice that. 2) Everybody expects them to move so you’ve got some leeway there. Regardless, a background image is almost always better than what you’ve got going on now…
Zoom Tip #5: Be professional and respectful at all times. That includes:
- Being on time.
- Not speaking over someone.
- Sending an email afterwards thanking them for their time.
You know, all the things you would normally do if you were back at the office.
Incorporate these 5 Zoom tips and separate yourself from everyone else calling from their bedrooms, patios, and elsewhere. Remember: You want to present your best during every interaction with a client or prospect.