February 2015 - Blue and Black or Gold and White? What Should You Wear for a Professional Video Conference?

During the last week of February, the internet “broke” over a picture of a two-colored dress that aroused a huge argument. Was the dress blue and black or gold and white? It seems that despite the dress actually being blue and black, because of an optical illusion, the human brain chooses the color based on the shadow that it identifies and so some of us mistakenly identified the colors as gold and white. The picture was first posted on a Scottish musician’s blog, and went viral on news sites throughout the world and of course on social media sites with the hashtag #thedress.
The issue of the dress also has a connection to video conferencing, or more accurately to how our clothes look on the other side of the screen. When we participate in a video conference, the camera and other multimedia devices affect how we look and sometimes what we are wearing looks really different than the reality. Even more so, when discussing video conferences with customers, suppliers, investors or friends, it is important that the other side sees us at our best and will focus on the content that we have to share. Therefore we have make sure to follow a few simple rules.
What are the do’s and don’ts of dress and behavior in a video conference?
  • Avoid clothes with stripes, checks or other repeating patterns. Multi-colored clothes will also look different in a video than in real life.
  • Focus on the upper portion of the body and head – the picture that the participant sees focuses on the upper portion of the body (generally sitting). It is important that your hair be groomed and not cover your eyes and face. It is also important that your shirt or jacket not be too small or too big in the shoulders.
  • See how you look while sitting. Most clothes look better while standing. Because video conferences are generally held while sitting, it is important to make sure that there are no folds or excess pulling on your clothes.
  • Wear solid colors – avoid ties that are too busy and wear solid color shirts.
  • Dress professionally and appropriately – without distracting accessories.
  • Avoid wearing flesh toned colors and colors that are similar to the furniture around you. This can be the chair you are sitting in, the color of the wall of the conference room or cubicle you are sitting in.
  • Avoid revealing clothing. You are in a professional conference and you don’t want to reveal what is not necessary.
A bit before the conference, check how you look on the screen, lean forward, back and to the sides and see the effect it has on the picture. If you are not happy, go back to the above tips. This way the conference will be focused on you and what you have to say and not on what you are wearing.
Beyond the preparations before the conference and the first impression that you give to the other side, it is recommended to leave the self-view window open throughout the call, just to make sure.
See you in the next post,