Improving your Zoom Presence

Impressions matter … especially in a professional conference. Looking your best makes you feel better, and present better … so, here are a few tips to make the best impression with the simplest of tweaks.

Preparing to connect : Technology

Make sure you have the following available for your session:

  • A laptop or desktop with a webcam and mic.
  • A recent version of Chrome or Firefox.
  • Signup for and download the latest version of Zoom.
  • A strong internet connection. Do a tech run-through by checking your internet speed. For video streaming, it is recommended to have at least 3 megabits per second (Mbps) upload speed. Use a site like to check how fast yours is.
    • If your wifi fluctuates, LAN wire connection has proven to be stronger.
    • If your speed is lower than the advised number, see if you can arrange to present from somewhere else with better connectivity during your presentation.
  • Check your computer setup, and video platform (we’ll be using Zoom) to give your talk. Try the Zoom test meeting to confirm your setup. Make sure you know how to load your slides. Check your lighting and background.
  • Check for latest Zoom updates.
  • Add the OEGlobal21 zoom backgrounds. Here’s how.
  • We recommend wearing earbuds or headphones to prevent audio echoes.

Your appearance

You might be at home, but don’t forget to comb your hair, put on your best headdress, shave or put your makeup on. Think about what to wear. Try to avoid:

  • Bright colours that could reflect on your face and mess with what the camera ‘sees’.
  • Busy plaids, patterns, or tartans, colour-stripes, white and green (light/lemon), etc. as it makes the viewers eyes’ numb or make the screen buzz.

A plain, solid color (not too light or not too dark) will help bring out the best in you.

Setting up your lighting

All too often people’s faces are half in shade or blocked. This is the reason why most people are too dim in web conferences. Ensure your face is facing the light for good lumination. Have one steady lamp right next to your face for even, steady lighting. Turn off any sidelights or backlighting.

You don’t always have to have fancy LED lights and lighting fixtures. Natural light is often much better. Find a room in your house that allows as much natural lighting in as possible, and set up the room so you are facing the light.

Avoid sitting with your back to the window as the camera will adjust for the ‘brightest’ light and you will become a silhouette. Instead, face the window and this will make you soft, people-pleasing light.

Further reading: Zoom lighting tips

What’s behind you? Choosing your background

Online presentations are hard enough. People want to focus on your face, not on what’s behind you. Some people like to be photographed in front of a bookshelf, but this can cause distractions. It’s a good idea to keep your background plain and simple, such as blank walls, brickwork or a wall with only one piece of art.

OR you can replace your background altogether with our funky OEGlobal21 backgrounds.

From which perspective

Eye level

How you place your camera or laptop placement will help you to look your best. Divide your screen into thirds horizontally. Make sure that your head is in the top third, towards the top of the screen. Placing your computer or camera at eye level or about one or two inches/10 cms above it. You can raise a laptop by placing it on a few books. Do not have the webcam looking up at you – it is very unflattering.

Wide-angle effects

The cameras on smartphones and webcams create a wide-angle effect. If you get too close to the camera, you will look distorted. If you are using a wide-angle camera, step back from it until you are no longer distorted.

Getting sound right

Make sure you are not too far away from the microphone. If you can put a lapel microphone on, that is the best. If not, then make sure you try to muffle or get rid of background noise - try to keep the kids and dogs away from your room.

Don’t forget: mute the microphone when listening to others speak, especially if you are typing or there is repetitive background noise (construction, etc.).