17 Nov Online Virtual Meetings
The phrase “Dressed for Success” is as applicable to online Zoom depositions as it is for in person meetings. You must look professional and be dressed to impress. If not – the option is that you may end up on a Youtube channel with 1000’s of hits. You do not want that!
Appearance / Clothing
First impressions count, so make sure your hair is done, your makeup looks good (for the ladies) and you don’t give the impression of being half asleep or just having fallen out of bed. How you present yourself COUNTS and is vitally important. Attorneys talk about “those crazy Zoom depositions” – everyone remembers he attorney on Youtube who had the cat face on Zoom.
How you put yourself together matters. Look as professional as possible in demeanor, speech and attitude. Don’t rely upon the Zoom feature that puts makeup on the person and makes them look pretty. I know a reporter who did that and was 30 minutes into the deposition before she noticed her “fake eyebrows” were not following her face but were now located on her cheek. She spent the remainder of the deposition (until the next break) hunched over to the left so the virtual eyebrows could match up with her real eyebrows. She now does her makeup BEFORE the deposition.
Keep in mind how your clothes will appear on screen. Wear DARKER colors. White color clothes reflect the light more on camera.
When dressed professionally, people take you more seriously. Plaids and patterns will look busy and end up being distracting on video. Basic colors like grays and blues are a good choice. Whites can cause your face to appear washed out while blacks can seem harsh on video. Other items to avoid when choosing your outfit:
- Avoid dangling, large earrings, or jewelry that moves or makes noise
- Avoid clothing with stripes, checks, or other busy patterns
- Avoid anything with a large visible logo or brand
Back to that “party on the bottom” comment. While your top is what will be shown, there may be that odd chance you need to stand up so people may see the entire outfit you’re wearing—so pants are definitely recommended! With that being said, stick to something comfortable: leggings, joggers, sweats, that are a solid dark color should do. The chance of anyone seeing your shoes is slim to none, so wear the cozy slippers!
Zoom Backdrops and General Backgrounds
- Keep your office desk clean and free of clutter
- No background should be moving – but static so as not to be distracting.
- No CRAZY backgrounds – like one of you jumping off a cliff or baking a cake.
- Make sure you have no window behind you so as to interfere with your camera lighting.
- Light sources should be in front of you.
- Be in a secure location so your kids don’t show up on camera. Everyone remembers the financial analyst on Youtube whose kids broke into his office wile on national TV.
Camera or Webcam
Your camera should be straight-on and eye level. Do not get a cheap one. Online depositions are here to stay and good quality equipment are a sound investment. Poor quality equipment – a bad microphone or camera creates SO MANY problems when you are a participant in an online deposition. Lagging and pixelated video interupts the proceedings more often that it needs to.
Natural lighting is your friend! Keep light sources behind you and not glaring you in the face. If on Zoom, your virtual background WILL NOT work if the light source is behind you. If the lighting is behind you, your image will be dark.
Remember – you want to be taken seriously and make a good impression. More importantly, you do not want to be part of the reason for ANY delay in a virtual proceeding.
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