Seven Tips for Curating Your Virtual Presence

By: Madeline Kelley

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As somebody who has been working remotely since April of 2019, I’ve seen a massive change in the way that business functions in the time of COVID-19. When I first started working remotely, I certainly felt a bit unmoored from my colleagues, but as I started to understand that lack of connection, I realized that I had to make an intention to keep tethered to my company.

More recently, I was under the impression that I had mastered the remote work experience, but once the world was turned upside down, and more and more people were pushed to remote work, so too were we all pushed to the influx of virtual meetings and events.

Now more than ever, I’ve realized that it’s critical to curate your virtual presence on these meetings. Through the countless meetings that I’ve recently participated in, I’ve come to realize the importance of preparing for your virtual meetings.

These face-to-face interactions have the potential to greatly impact your brand. Hopefully, by acknowledging their power, these tips can help you curate your personal brand in a way that fits your goals.

[Related: The Importance of Evolving Your Personal Brand]

1) Picture perfect.

Set your professional headshot on your Zoom account profile, or on any other conferencing app you’re using. This way, if you’re unable to have your camera on, you’ll still easily hold a presence in the room.

2) Wear bright, vibrant colors.

Think about looking at the grid of anonymous faces on your most recent virtual call. Were your eyes drawn to the people sitting in the dark wearing muted colors? Or were they drawn to the person sitting with great lighting and a vibrant shirt?

3) On that note: Tailor your lighting.

That’s right. Set up your lights to shine directly onto your face. Having lights and windows behind you will create the anonymous FBI informant vibe. Make sure the lights are in front of you and shining on that beautiful face of yours.

4) Narrow the focus.

Similarly, keep in mind what is present in your background. What do the items in your background say about you? Is there a place in your remote workspace that looks professional? Set up a temporary video space where you can take video meetings, and once the meeting is over, you can always go back to a more comfortable location.

[Related: There is No Mind Reading in The Career World]

5) Prop your computer up to be at eye level.

When you sit around a conference table with your colleagues or clients, wouldn’t it be strange for everyone to be sitting at differing heights in your chairs? By setting up your computer to be at eye level, you’ll replicate the face-to-face interaction you would have had in-person.

6) Sit up.

An additional perk of propping up your computer is that it’ll help to keep your posture straight. By having great posture on a call, not only will it keep your virtual presence at eye level, but it’ll also keep your attention and focus on the conversation in front of you.

7) Extra tips.

Finally, a few additional best practices we often forget about: No eating while on video. If you need to walk around, make sure to turn your camera off (it can be distracting to the other attendees). And avoid having doors behind you to make sure that people don’t walk in and out of your frame.

While most of these notes seem quite obvious, I had not thought much about these things myself until recently, even as someone with experience working remotely. The moment that I realized the importance of curating my virtual presence, I realized that I could specifically build my personal brand to reflect the professional, motivated, engaged person that I am.

I hope these ideas can help you, even as our world slowly begins the transition back to some semblance of in-person normalcy. I do believe that we’ll see many virtual meetings and events continue on as a way to keep our communities engaged, no matter where you’re located or what your situation is.

[Related: 7 Questions You Must Ask to Build a Powerful Career Brand]

Madeline Kelley works on Business Development at Ellevate Network to create partnerships with companies to help them attract, retain, and develop their female employees. She believes that by providing companies the opportunity to partner with Ellevate in concurrence with, or in lieu of, their internal women’s groups, they will be able to help increase the number of female leaders in the workforce.

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