In today’s digital age, coming across professionally on a video call is important video etiquette. It’s imperative to look and sound your best. Whether it’s for an interview, sales call, business meeting or casual video chat, your visual impression matters.

Jump to: How to Look Your Best on a Video Call

How important is practicing good video call etiquette in order to look your best? It’s more important than you may think. A study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Polycom found that the use of video conferencing is growing. In fact, 74 percent of the IT decision makers surveyed say video conference calls have increased over the past two years. This increase—coupled with a rise in telecommuting—makes looking sharp on live video a professional requirement.

Video Call Etiquette

With that in mind, here are 5 things you can do to make sure you look your best on your next video call:

1. Ensure Proper Lighting
Having adequate light is just as important for video calls as it is for professional broadcasters and photo shoots. For instance, overhead lighting creates shadows under your eyes, so avoid sitting beneath it, if possible. For enhanced lighting, use natural or soft light sources. Putting two or more light sources into play can really make a difference.

2. Choose the Right Background
The people you’re interacting with will see whatever is behind you. Make sure your background is uncluttered and professional. Less is more. Remove unnecessary objects on your desk or wall that may detract from the video call. You may also want to invest in revamping the color or images on the wall, so participants aren’t distracted or reminded you’re working from home.

3. Maintain Eye Contact
Look directly into the camera or at the face of the person you’re interacting with. Resist looking at yourself in the small frame at the corner of your video call screen and avoid distractions elsewhere in the room. As a reminder to maintain eye contact, it may help to put something above your webcam – like a sticker or colored note, for example.

4. Ensure High Audio Quality
Poor audio quality can quickly reduce the effectiveness of a video call, often leading to miscommunication. First, be articulate. Make sure you speak clearly, slowly. Next, avoid background noise like dogs barking, children playing, and by eliminating any TV or music in proximity. Finally, make sure you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection, so your video conferencing service can operate at full strength and prevent jittery audio.

5. Dress Appropriately
Even if only your face and shoulders are in the frame, you should dress professionally from head to toe. Avoid patterns, stripes and plaids. Don’t wear a hat. Put flattering, solid colors near your face and make sure to check your teeth, hair and makeup. Avoid jewelry that may be distracting or make disruptive sounds every time you move.

When it comes to video calling, etiquette and first impressions do count. Following these 5 easy steps will help you cultivate a more polished, professional-looking video presence. Also check out these Video Conferencing Best Practices: Do's and Dont's and then sign up for your free 30-day trial today!