5 Best Practices of Using Zoom Backgrounds
As more companies allow their employees to work from home, it is becoming increasingly clear that many home environments are inappropriate for staff meetings. From chaotic surroundings to personal items left on shelves, workers across the country have seen it all — or, on the flip side, exposed it all. Hence the development of Zoom backgrounds.
A Zoom background is perfect for concealing private spaces during work-related meetings. More than that, it communicates who you are and what you value. For these reasons, you should select your background with the utmost care and attention. With the right background, you cannot only broadcast from the comfort of your home with confidence but also send a solid impression to your higher-ups, coworkers, customers, and other relevant parties. What is the “right” background, though? These five tips can help you find it.
1. Use Relevant Backgrounds
The first and foremost rule for choosing a background for your Zoom meetings is to keep it relevant to the situation. Though you may enjoy the look of the beach image, your colleagues may not find it appropriate for a formal business meeting. Neither will your supervisors be impressed with an image superimposed with the Batcave or a snapshot of The Shire.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your virtual background neutral. If your home or living space lacks a professional setting, use a solid background or wallpaper that doesn’t have too much going on. If your typical working environment is not the standard office environment, consider using a background that showcases a cleaner, more stylish version of your work setting. If you stick with this one rule, you cannot go wrong.
2. Use Proper Color Schemes
If you stick with a solid-colored background, make sure that the color you choose is realistic and works with everything from your hair color to the color of your clothing. This is important for a couple of reasons.
For starters, some hues are both startling and unrealistic. Imagine, for instance, if a coworker showed up with a bright yellow background. Not only would it be distracting, but it also looks cartoonish, given that a wall of bright yellow exists nowhere in nature. The same goes for red, orange, and green backgrounds.
Two, some colors need to be cut around others better. For example, if a person with dark hair chooses a dark background, Zoom background images may try to compensate for the lack of contrast by putting a halo around them. The same goes for blonde-haired persons who try to use light-colored backgrounds. Before beginning a meeting, take a few minutes to test out which colors work best with your hair, skin, and clothing that day.
3. Avoid Using Too Much Text
You may want to pump up your audience with inspirational quotes, quarterly goals, meeting objectives, or what have you. Consider using a Zoom background with text. While text backgrounds have their place, too much text can quickly render any backdrop cheesy or overwhelming.
Find a background that allows you to incorporate just the right amount of text, and then test it before the meeting starts. You can do this by using the “Mirror My Video” feature, which allows you to see what others see. Change it if you feel turned off by your background for any reason.
4. Make Sure to Have Proper Lighting
For background images for Zoom to shine, you need to prep your actual background. If you have a green screen, place it behind where you plan to work. If you don’t have a green screen — which many people do not — use a high-contrast one in a solid color. A sheet, towel, or throw blanket will do the trick.
Next, prep your lighting. Find a place that affords uniform lighting at all times of the day. While a window may offer perfect lighting for morning meetings, that same window can cast unattractive shadows in the afternoon. For the most professional look and best lighting, position a lamp on or near your workstation.
5. Subtly Highlight Yourself & Your Business
Finally, try to incorporate branded elements into your background. You can do this in various subtle ways, such as using uniform colors, textural or shaped details, or a discreet logo. You can also communicate your brand’s culture, values, and personality through what you wear. Just be sure that what you wear does not clash with the background you ultimately end up using.
When it comes to how to use a Zoom background for the most effectiveness, there are essential rules to follow. Stay relevant, use appropriate colors, avoid walls of text, find a room with proper lighting and subtly highlight your brand. Stick to these rules, and you can broadcast with confidence and style.