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Beware the resting Zoom face

Posted by Debby Penton on 29th May 2020

Given the amount of time we’re spending on video calls right now, you’d have thought we’d have nailed how to look our best.

If you’re client facing or doing new business, it’s always important to make a good impression. Working from home is not an excuse to look shabby. And even if you’ve changed out of your hoody and brushed your hair or beard, the wrong set up can undo that effort.

It could be that most people are avoiding looking at themselves on screen all day (I’m convinced more than ever I need plastic surgery and have Googled “face yoga” a lot, although practised it little!). Or maybe we just need to be more aware of how we come across visually.

Either way, there are some simple tips for looking your best without having to spend hours in hair and makeup.

1.    Get your camera position right

Have you noticed the number of people appearing on TV who are looking down at their laptop cameras? It’s not a great look and is so easy to fix. Build up the height of your laptop (using books or similar) until the camera is at eye-level. And make sure you’re in the middle of the screen so we’re not staring at the top of your head and the ceiling. It sounds obvious, but only recently I had to point this out to a CEO during prep for online video interviews.

2.    Fix the light

The more natural light the better. That’s unless it’s behind you as then you look like a crime victim shaded out to mask your identity. Move around the room until you’ve found a flattering light and relocate if needed as the sun moves. Also consider buying a good desk lamp.

3.    Non-surgical improvements

Don’t underestimate the improvement a pair of glasses can have on how your face looks, especially if your hair is pulled back. The frames break up a lot of face and provide a nice distraction from tired eyes or lack of makeup.

I’m a fan of the “touch up your appearance” option in Zoom. It slightly blurs your face, like a slick of Vaseline across the lens, and hides any lines! Sadly, it’s not permanent.

4.    Beware the resting bitch face

We all know that being alert and interested uses face muscles and makes you look better. If your mind drifts away from the call and you start checking Slack or email your face will relax and totally give you away. So stay focused!

5.    Tidy up

Consider your backdrop. Overly curated bookshelves are unnecessary, but an unmade bed in the background totally kills your professional vibe and distracts people from what you’re saying. Perhaps save elaborate virtual backdrops for team beers, however.

Debby Penton

Motivated, competitive and highly experienced, Debby drives excellence across the agency and leads by example, going the extra mile to create stand-out campaigns and a dynamic agency culture. Debby champions a new breed of PR that meets the evolving communication needs of today’s tech companies.

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