Making a good impression on Zoom

by Jun 23, 20220 comments

Do you make a good impression on zoom?

Today we spend most of our days in online meetings so how do we make a good impression on zoom?

 

During the pandemic, most people had minimal experience in creating an online presence, and making a good impression on Zoom was the last thing on their minds. Most had certainly no training. In the early days 3Plus we had the foresight to work with Everything Webinar so we got the basics right. But even now, times are changing and we need even greater levels of sophistication.

Today we spend most of our days in online meetings. Some have set themselves up with impressive studio-like gear with an external mic, ring lights, and even standing desks. Amazon was their friend or maybe they present online for a living. But many people haven’t made that investment in terms of training or hardware, and pitch up without giving whether they will make a good impression on Zoom a second thought.

Kornferry suggests in their article on Your brain on Zoom that we are only just scratching the surface.

“Some experts describe this rapid change in communication medium as the equivalent of shifting from cave drawings to comic books in a couple of years.”

They go on to say that 71% of people say the most-used phrase on Zoom is “you’re on mute”.

 

Zoom fails

Even though online meetings are now deeply embedded into our business practices, participants pitch up demonstrating basic Zoom fails:

  • camera not at eye level so we can see up people’s noses
  • poor camera positioning which means that their body is cut off and their face is not central to the screen. I say in workshops if you are not central to the screen you won’t be central to the conversations.
  • poor general posture
  • poor lighting  – especially if lit from behind. A ring light costs about €20. It’s worth the investment.

Research

We are now starting to see research from early studies around this new, but what will be a forever present communication tool.  The phrases Zoom doom or Zoom fatigue are now part of our vocabularies. We know instantly what people are talking about. We are tired from trying to decode body language all day every day on a medium not designed for rapid brain processing.  Looking at our own faces day in day out messes with our self-image and self-esteem, despite the “touch up your appearance” tab.  Our primal brains are hard wired to see faces close to ours as hostile or intimate which causes confusion.

Even though the recommended position is standing –  that is hard to sustain for hours on end. Zoom is a petri dish for bias. The colours people are wearing and can see in the room contribute to our impressions. Mono-chrome or overwhelming. if we turn our cameras off we also risk being judged.

Worth a read: 3 key steps to visible communication 

 

Background bias

That is even before we get into background bias which is very real. We are measuring people by their surroundings. Photos of kids, wrong wall covering or messy papers all play a role in not just whether or not we will make a good impression on Zoom, but the type of impression. Every little object can tap into the biases of the viewer about our professionalism.

All of this means yet more pressure to get something else right.  And make no mistake women are judged more harshly than men.

 

If your organisation needs support with unconscious bias training get in touch with us today

 

 

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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