How many Zoom meetings do you have per week?
If your answer is more than 5, it's time to invest seriously in the background you show behind you.
Whether we like to admit it or not, our background significantly increases or detracts from our perceived level of professionalism and the personal brand we hope to portray.
While your meeting input, presentation slides, and clothing will change from meeting to meeting, one aspect often remains the same in each of your presentations and meetings: your background.
What's in your Zoom background and what does it say about you?
What do people see in the background behind you when you're on Zoom? Years after remote work and the popularity of Zoom have escalated, it's time to examine whether it provides the tone you want.
Is your background cluttered or untidy?
Is it too casual for the tone you want to present?
Is the light on your face bright enough, and is it natural?
How to enhance your visual presence on Zoom
If you'd like to stick with your real background:
Consider arranging items around and behind you strategically, removing any visible clutter.
Think about the items you're displaying as well. Would you like to show books, awards and diplomas, art, or other artifacts that match your persona and expertise?
Finally, whether you're using real or virtual backgrounds, consider sitting across a window or purchasing a simple ring light to make sure your face is well illuminated if your light is currently too dim.
There are a lot of options for virtual backgrounds these days.
Using these is an easy way to disguise the clutter, casualness, or plainness of your office.
I'd stay away from the slew of beach, space, and fantastical backgrounds that made the rounds when Zoom was just becoming popular. I would test and invest in a simple, professional, office-like setting.
Below are examples of office like environments I like. You can find photos like these easily on stock photo sites.
If you're interested in downloading one of these, get my Zoom Virtual Backgrounds Guide for free to get the links to these images directly from their stock sites (the background images suggestions include both free and paid image options).
How to changes your virtual background
To change your Zoom virtual background:
Start a new meeting or join an existing one
Click the arrow next to "Start Video"
Click the "+" on the top right by the default Virtual Backgrounds to add your own background files.
Once you've added your own preferred backgrounds, they'll be saved to your account for the long-term, so you can toggle between them.