As more companies, schools, career fairs, and job interviews are going virtual, video meeting etiquette is something we are all learning about. We have learned how it can be easy to turn on virtual backgrounds or not turn our cameras on at all. However, it is more professional to have our camera on and use real backgrounds. Below are reasons why we should use our camera, why we shouldn’t use virtual backgrounds but real backgrounds, and tips on how to create a professional background.

Why you should turn on your camera

By turning our camera on, it shows we are prepared for meetings. The easy option for everyone would be to sleep in and join the call with our cameras off hiding the fact we just woke up or fit in a tight workout. Instead, the better solution would be to set our alarm a few minutes earlier to ensure we have time to groom and prepare ourselves for the meeting.

When we turn our camera on, we show that we are engaged with the meeting and that the meeting has all our attention. We can silently interact with video meetings by smiling, nodding in agreement, or shaking our head in confusion. These are very quick and easy ways to interact to let the people you are speaking with know that you are engaged and listening to what they are sharing.

When we are in in-person meetings, they have all our attention. We are not allowed to be on our phones or working on other things. When we join video calls with our camera on, it would be easy for the other people on the call to know if we were not engaged or working on other things. By turning our camera on, we are eliminating distractions and ensuring that the call has all our attention.

Calls can be very awkward if some people have their cameras on and some people do not. When everyone has their camera on, there is a sense of unity. When we are working remotely or in different areas, we can feel disconnected from one another. However, if we take the time to get ready and join our calls with our camera on, we will feel more connected with one another.

Why you should NOT use virtual backgrounds

While virtual backgrounds are easy to turn on, we should create and set up a professional, real background. There are a few reasons why we should stray away from using virtual backgrounds. First, and most obvious, they’re not real. Often times, unless you have a really nice camera or green screen background, they just look really fake. It is also possible that you could join a call thinking your background is blurred – hiding the clutter or mess behind you – and it turns out it is not. Save yourself from these troubles and create a real, professional background.

Why you should use real backgrounds

Real backgrounds build trust. When we use blurred backgrounds, people may be less likely to trust what we are saying because they do not see the real us. When we show people our background, we are showing them a glimpse of our personal life. People may be more likely to trust you and what you are saying when they have caught a glimpse of your personal life.

Real backgrounds show you care. By having a real background on calls, you are likely to have a clean background. This shows others on the call that you are considerate about what they are seeing. It also shows that you are taking the call in an appropriate place.

Real backgrounds promote your personal brand and authenticity. By having a real background, you are showing others yourself in your real setting. This is a great opportunity for others to get to know you and find out what your values are. For example, you may have a map hanging behind you that exposes your love for traveling. Another example would be having a plaque on the wall behind you, highlighting one of your biggest accomplishments. People will love to see these little snippets of your personal life.

Need help creating a professional video interview background? Check out this other blog post.

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