Boosters : Making a great first impression – remotely

Hello! We’re back! I hope this Booster finds you well, safe and adjusting to how we’re living now.

This topic, making a great first impression remotely, has come up for some of my coaching clients recently, especially the career coaching clients who are about to embark upon remote interviewing for the first time.

Making a great first impression has always been important – whether it is an interview, new client, or new contact. What was already something of a challenge is now even trickier. Some of the opportunities that could be used to our advantage (the small talk on the way to the meeting room, the ability to read body language, to comment on the great view from the office window) are no longer available to us when we are meeting remotely.

But create great first impressions we must. And this guide will help you to stand out and be memorable – for all the right reasons.

Part 1 – Getting the basics right

I’m talking technology and set up. It’s the little details that make a big difference.

  • If you’re not familiar with the platform you’re going to be using, try it out in advance.
  • Notice whether it automatically brings you in to the meeting on mute and without video or whether you get to set those going first before getting into the meeting.
  • If it’s a platform you use with friends, make sure you’ve updated your username to what you want the other parties to see – not the nickname from your mates.
  • Position your device so that the camera lens is at or slightly higher than eye level. A laptop on a stand on a desk is perfect. A tablet stacked on some books also works. A phone in a stand works too. Do not hold the device, it will shake and be distracting. Have the device up to a meter away from you so that the majority of the picture is head, upper body and then background and is square on to you.
  • Look into the lens. It is too easy to look at the people on screen and at yourself. Try to focus your attention to the lens. Put a post it note next to it with an arrow and the word smile. If you do find yourself looking at others on the call, keep looking back up to the lens and smile when you do. It’s the equivalent of making eye contact.
  • Think about where you will do the call and the background that is behind you. Platforms such as Zoom and Teams have backgrounds that you can choose from but beware the blurred edges/CGI-look that inevitably come with that.
  • If you use your actual background, consider the impression it gives. A tidy, well-ordered space with minimal furniture (distractions) is good. A plain background (such as a wall or fitted cupboards) works. Do not have a window behind you as you will be in shadow.
  • Arrange to not be disturbed by family members, pets and electronic devices. If you are disturbed, handle it graciously and swiftly. Minimise outside interference by closing windows. I’ve left a note on the front door before now for delivery people asking them not to knock because the dog barks. Minimise connection issues by freeing up bandwidth in your home, if needed.
  • Consider what you are going to wear. If you are in front of a patterned wallpaper and choose to wear a patterned top, that in itself could be very distracting. Equally, if you are in front of a neutral background, think carefully before choosing a white shirt. Our brains take data and make up stories, according to our own bias, regardless of whether or not they are true. (Plain + white = boring or plain + white = cool)

Taking time to get the basics right up front will mean that you have several fewer things to distract you or worry you when the time comes for that all important meeting.

Part 2 – Getting the conversation going will be with you next week but if you can’t wait until then, check out the Blog page on the website now for all you need to know.

Until then…