The Ultimate Checklist for How to Look Professional on Zoom

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November 29, 2023

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Whether you are a salesperson, superstar CSM, or just trying to land a job over Zoom, you know how important it is to look professional. Chances are that if your cat’s running around behind you, the lighting is bad, your internet is shaky, and you have to keep toggling on and off mute, you’re just not going to seal the deal.

Here are the 8 things you should do before every virtual meeting to always look professional on Zoom.

1. Check the lighting.

You’ll be surprised how much more polished you look when your image isn’t grey and fuzzy. Zoom has a few built-in functions to help you look better, like adjusting for low light and Touch Up My Appearance. They can help in a pinch, but the best lighting is still the real-world kind.

You don’t need to invest in a professional photography set-up, but at least throw open the shades. Position yourself facing a window for the most natural light. If your office is on the shady side, take a page from professional streamers by getting an inexpensive LED ring light.

2. Spice up your physical or virtual background.

This may seem obvious, but with Zoom fatigue + pandemic fatigue + fatigue fatigue, lots of things can fall through the cracks. Make sure that the view behind you is free of clutter, or anything embarrassing that you don’t want clients or coworkers to see. You can keep things simple by setting up in front of a clean wall. Better yet, use a virtual background and turn that blank wall into a canvas to express yourself.

3. Coordinate your virtual background.

If you’re working as a team on Zoom, there’s no faster way to look professional than by matching virtual backgrounds. Even if you can’t physically show up together, you can do it psychologically by showing up in the same virtual space.

When picking an image to use, think about the message you’re trying to convey. Depending on what you want to accomplish, you may want to show off your company’s logo, a picture from your last company on-site, or even the prospect’s company logo.

Once you’ve decided on an image, upload it into Warmly’s Nametag Builder, so one person can upload the picture and it will automatically populate for all your teammates in the meeting. It saves you time, and the hassle of trying to coordinate.

4. Get an actual camera.

Studies show that your positioning on Zoom matters. If you’re using the built-in camera on your laptop, you don’t have much room to maneuver. A dedicated web camera will give you more flexibility—and, most likely, better video quality. Try to keep the camera at eye level, or slightly above, for a more natural and flattering look.

People who looked directly into the camera were also rated as “more socially present” and generally likable, so try not to check your phone off-screen. You may think you’re being slick, but it might be hurting your image.

5. Add your credentials.

Credentials are an important part of signaling your expertise, especially with people you don’t know well. You may have it on your LinkedIn page, but having it on-screen is key. You never know if the person you’re meeting up has had time to look you up. Make sure your Zoom name tag includes any suffix you go by (think “Esq.” or “CFA”). With the Warmly add-on for Zoom, you can go even further by including your credentials in your Bio line, such as “Salesforce Veteran” or “Level 7 Email Marketer.”

6. Check your internet connection.

Check your connection at least five minutes before your scheduled Zoom call. Run an internet speed test to make sure you have enough bandwidth. Keepthe router somewhere safe from cats or kids running into them. You should also try to have a contingency plan. If your internet starts flickering during an important call, can you use your smartphone as a mobile hotspot to stay online?

7. Share social proof.

Social proof is a powerful mechanism for building trust and getting customers to take a chance on you. Prospects want to know that you are a legitimate company. Think about comparing products while online shopping. All else being equal, the one with lots of reviews, and especially those vetted by reputable sources, will always feel like the better choice.

It's one thing for you to tell a prospect about all the companies you work with. Imagine having six or seven impressive logos over your shoulder during your meeting. With Warmly, you can.

8. Reiterate your proof points.

Another powerful way to look professional on Zoom is by highlighting your accolades. Don’t assume the stakeholder has seen your website or even heard about you. Use your background to showcase that your company was a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For or #1 Best Software Product on G2 Crowd, then reiterate that for them during the meeting.