How To Keep Your Video Background Professional
Having the opportunity to conduct video conferences from the comfort of your own home is great! Because we have this great option to do that now, we also have to be mindful of one thing.
What will the viewers see inside your home?
This means being mindful of your background and backdrop. If you are taking a video meeting from home, it’s important to pay attention to the lighting and audio, but also what is happening behind you.
1. Your Background
If you are setting up your video on your dining room table, will your kid’s toys be in the background? Will your children be running around? Are piles of clothes sitting on the floor?
Even though you may not notice it or it may not bother you, your viewers on the other side of the screen will see it. It is still important to create a professional environment. This is important for your career as you want to always be mindful of your executive presence at all times.
- Clean + Tidy – You don’t have to do a deep cleaning of your house before every video call. However, keeping the area within the camera’s lens clean and tidy will help your background appear more professional. This means cleaning up any papers, removing piles of clothes or toys, and doing a once-over to make sure things are as neat as possible.
- People – You may have several other members of your family working from home alongside you. Or perhaps a roommate as well. If this is the case, you will want to make sure during your meetings these people aren’t walking behind you. This can be distracting to anyone watching.
- Windows – You may have your back to an outside window. And in most cases that is fine. But before your call, check to see if the light coming in allows you to see the screen properly and you can be seen as well.
Just think, your video will capture your surrounding and the inside of your home. So it is important to keep the area clean and tidy.
If your background is tidy, you will appear more professional as well. In our #1 LinkedIn Learning e-course, Executive Presence On Video Calls, you will learn how executive presence is a skill you can learn with simple how-tos such as maintaining a tidy background!
Sometimes life makes it impossible to keep everything tidy for every single video call. You may have roommates or children who leave items in and around your camera’s view. Making sure your background is always clean at any given moment can be difficult. This is especially true if you are on calls daily.
If you find yourself needing to have a professional backdrop so you don’t need to stress about what the camera may see, that’s okay! There are several ways you can use a backdrop!
- Green Screen – You may not always have a dedicated office in your home, so a green screen is a great tech gadget to ensure you always have a great-looking background. We prefer this over an integrated virtual background because your arm or head won’t partially disappear as you move. This green screen creates a clean and seamless look.
- Room Divider – A room divider is an excellent way to add a backdrop that is professional and functional. Not only will your background be free from distractions, but you can also take this room divider down once your video calls are done. It’s easy to put up and will hide any mess you wish to keep off-camera.
- Virtual Backdrop – You can also create a virtual backdrop to hide your background. This is a good option if you are not in your usual work environment. Many video conferencing services have virtual backdrops you can use. There are many graphic design apps you can use to create your own. You can also customize your virtual background to include your name or logo. If you aren’t able to use a green screen, and your background is not tidy, a virtual backdrop will work in a pinch.
💡We recommend the e-course “Zoom Essential Training” to learn how to create virtual backdrops.
You may take all your calls at your dining room table. Or perhaps you have a favorite coffee shop. Depending on where you are, you will want to make sure you consider how your lighting and audio will be affected. Remember, you want to maintain an executive presence and be visible. In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Building Visibility As A Remote Leader, we talk about how to make sure you are seen by your team, and part of that is being available for video calls.
- Close Doors – If you have a home office and you have the privacy to do a video meeting in it, make sure the door is closed so you can eliminate any traffic coming inside and any noise that may be distracting.
- Wall Space – There will be times when you are away from your normal video conferencing space. When that happens and you can’t control what is in your background, do your best to position your back to a wall. A wall provides a distraction-free background for your video call.
- Lighting – The lights surrounding you can either make it hard for you to see your screen or make it difficult for others to see you. This can also happen if you take your video call outside. Be sure to check the lighting – there may be an overhead light. Overhead lights can often lead to glare on your screen. It can be difficult to control the lighting, especially if you are in a space that is not your own, but it will help elevate your executive presence if you can see and be seen.
Just because you’re working remotely, you still want to create an atmosphere that exudes professionalism.
No matter what location you’re working in, pay attention to the background. By minimizing distracting elements, you can ensure the focus is on you and not the environment around you.
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