Zoom was downloaded more than 485 million times in 2020.

Do you know what that means? Most people, whether they like it or not, have to be on camera for work these days or even to connect with family members around the world. As you are probably aware, not too many people know how to really shine on camera and come across as a professional in their industry. You may have noticed that you or perhaps many of your colleagues turns up like a scruffy amateur when it comes to virtual business meetings. In fact, many people are just turning up in setting a very low bar for all online presentations. But just because they are, doesn’t mean you have to.




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In this blog, I’m going to share with you five (5) tips so you be seen as a leader and an influencer in your work space and be perceived in a better light by your boss and colleagues, just by incorporating these 5 tips.

If you need to step it up a notch at work, this blog is for you! 

Since so many of us work from home and attend virtual meetings, if you are not looking polished and professional on camera yet…it’s about time!

So, let’s dive in.





If you were at the office working as normal, you would get dressed, brush your hair, pack your briefcase and attend the meeting in a conference room at work. You certainly won’t be having a serious meeting in the office kitchen, or in the bathroom, or under a tree or in the garden. I know it’s tempting to get Losey goosey when we are all stuck at home for so long…but this is just being lazy. 

There is no excuse for having a bad background setting behind you when you are on camera. If you are using zoom, the easiest thing to do is download some nice simple pictures to put behind you while you are speaking on camera. 

I downloaded some beautiful free lounge room pictures from the Ikea catalogue. I screenshot them on my computer and uploaded them on Zoom as a virtual background. It makes things look really fresh and very clean looking. But if you are not using zoom and don’t have the opportunity to have a virtual background, then you must find a nice quiet, clutter free spot in your house that seems clean and professional. Avoid having piles of books and stuff in view. People will be distracted by what’s behind you the whole time instead of listening to YOU as they should be. So, make sure YOU are the one that is shining, not your messy background! 





As a voice and presentation coach, I know the value of speaking up and raising your pitch to gain better engagement from the audience. However, most people don’t speak at their best simply due to a lack of training and mindfulness in the way they speak. If you are all slouched over and comfy in your office chair, you will never sound like a confident and competent speaker. So, I suggest if you want to sound more like a leader when you speak, then stand up and present yourself as though you are on stage or at a board room meeting where everyone presents at the front of the room. You can do that by simply raising the computer up by placing a box underneath it so you are still looking directly down the barrel of the camera as normal. Nobody looks good when the camera is too low or too high. 

Let’s face it, when we are speaking face to face with people, we are always speaking at eye level when we are giving someone our full attention. So, if you want to add more energy, sit on the very edge of your chair in an upright position or stand up when you present. You will sound stronger and more compelling with you speak with raised energy level. 





There is a really great tip I learned a long time ago pertaining to learning a song or performance piece before you go on stage or on camera. It is so relevant to this topic today too. It’s simply this: 

An AMATEUR practice until they get it right. A PROFESSIONAL practice until they CAN’T get it wrong.

A very different approach. 

Which way are you practicing your presentations? 

One of my students said to me once, “Oh I don’t practice because it will come out fake sounding if I practice too much” and she is right, ONLY if you practice the wrong way. 

If you learn the STRUCTURE and framework ONLY of your presentation, then rehearse the pieces in the middle from your expertise and knowledge but you won’t if you don’t practice correctly. So, before ANY presentation, even a 5-minute one, at least practice your opener and closer 10 times for flow, that way, even if you are nervous and have distractions, you will get through no problem at all. 




TIP #4: DRESS FOR SUCCESS          .

If you were doing a presentation on stage, in a boardroom or at a conference, you would be expected to turn up in business attire suited for the situation. Just because you are at home now instead of having your whole body in the public eye, doesn’t mean you can get sloppy or lazy. 

When you are presenting for work, present your material in the same manner you would on stage. Dress smartly, brush your hair, iron your shirt, and put some make up on. Whatever you would do in a normal work presentation environment. Make sure as well you have headphones in to minimize the dog, the baby, the washing machine and all the stuff that goes at home behind the scene. Invest in a small clamp light so you always have adequate light on your face when presenting. The worst thing you can do: is not be in frame, have noise in the background and sitting in the dark like a mushroom. That will NEVER get you to the next rung in the corporate ladder!




TIP #5:  MOVE IT          .

Back up your presentation for safety!

Tech issues and disasters happen to all of us, at the worst of times. I have learned the hard way that there are some fool proof ways around this to pick up and keep going when things go wrong. 

Make a PDF of your PowerPoint presentation and save it in google drive for emergencies. Share the back up of your PPT and PDF with another colleague on the zoom call and make that person co-host in case you get booted off.  Print your presentation, or write dot points down on a white board in case EVERYTHING goes wrong and you need to know suddenly do the presentation without any PowerPoints or notes.




No one has to look bad on video. NO ONE.

There is no excuse to show up at less than your best. 

So, use these 5 tips today to present at your next work meeting in a professional and polished way. 


Do not forget: Speak up. Speak out. Be ready to be heard because remember: YOUR VOICE MATTERS.