3 Ways to Make a Great First Impression on Video Calls

This story originally appeared on Calendar

When we meet new people in person, we connect through things like a handshake, a smile, and enthusiastic energy. However, when video calls became the norm, everything that once felt natural in person had to be translated to the virtual world, and it felt, well, unnatural.

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For some, there wasn’t even time to think about how we would establish connections with others because we first had to figure out how to connect with our video conferencing platform of choice.

Yes, You Can Make Great First Impression on Video Calls

After almost two years, we’re plenty familiar with the basics, leaving us time to focus on improving our video presence and video communications.

Before any call, I turn to what I call the “TEA” method — Tech, Energy, and Aesthetics. It’s what you’ll need to equip yourself for what would typically be the first meeting over coffee (or, in this case, a virtual “tea”).

A Memorable and Professional Look and Impression

Follow the tips below to ensure you’re all set to take off with a memorable, professional first impression on camera with colleagues, prospects, and customers.

Great First Impression on Video

Follow the TEA method to set yourself up for success.


The tech aspect of virtual calls can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. First, ensure you’re equipped with a few key pieces of hardware and software, then you can forget about the tech and settle into your into and present your information.

  • Microphone — People can forgive bad video quality, but when they listen to someone whose sound cuts in and out or doesn’t sound clear, you can bet the other side is quickly going to tune out. Blue Yeti is the recommended standard, but I purchased a similar brand for a much lower price on Amazon, and I’ve never had any issues.
    PRO TIP: Invest in a subscription to krisp, which does an amazing job of blocking out any sound that’s not your voice. As expected, it seems like any time I’m on an important call or doing a virtual keynote, loud sounds appear all around me. With krisp, that’s no longer a concern. Construction? Gone. Air purifier? Gone. A loud sneeze from someone in the other room? Also, gone.
  • External camera — An external camera is going to make you look better than any camera that’s built into your computer. I went with the Logitech Brio. Aim to get a camera that has 4K capabilities.
  • Clicker (optional) — I use the Logitech Clicker for my presentations for a more professional look and feel. It’s also easier to use than a mouse or keyboard when I’m standing to present (more on that below).


  • The way you carry yourself on camera will still impact how others see you. Just because you’re on video doesn’t mean you can get away with slacking off; you still need to show up, even if the tactics are a bit different.”Can you hear me?” — No! — Do not start a call with these three words. Instead, say, “Hi, can you see my screen?” to your list while you’re at it. You have as little as a few milliseconds and as much as a few seconds to make an excellent first impression.

Don’t start with a question at all.

Instead of starting your video conversation with a question of uncertainty — or phrases we’re all too tired of hearing — trust that your setup is correct and begin with a confident intro.

For example, your introduction could be, “Hi [name], great to see you today. Where are you calling in from?” It is an easy icebreaker and a friendly way to start the conversation.

If you want to step it up a notch and be even more memorable, break the mold and spike dopamine in the other person by moving past the typical “How are you’s.” Instead, ask unique questions like, “What are you most excited to be working on right now?” “What was the highlight of your weekend?” and “What’s your latest TV binge?”

  • Smile — Before you get on the call, think of a memory that makes you smile. Then, when you jump on that call, that energy combined with your smile will set the tone of the meeting off on a positive note.
  • Eye contact — Eye contact is one of the most essential ways you establish trust with someone on a video call. One of the benefits of shaking hands was that it would release oxytocin, the feel-good connection hormone that also can decrease cortisol, our stress hormone. Lucky for us, eye contact can do the same thing, even on video.
    Avoid looking at the other person on the screen when you speak. Instead, look at your webcam (or right below it, depending on its placement). Looking at the camera lens ensures the person on the other side of the camera feels like you’re looking at them. Looking at the lens feels a bit strange at first — but think about how you look in a photo. If you aren’t looking at the lens in a photo, you look “off.” Lens-looking takes a little practice but is one technique worth getting used to.


  • Ring lights or a softbox — Investing in an excellent external webcam won’t do much if you don’t have good lighting. So instead, invest in a few ring lights or a softbox if you have the space and need that extra burst of light. Even better, place your desk in front of a window so that the light hits your face (if it faces your back, you’ll become backlit). I have two ring lights and a softbox light surrounding my desk.
  • Curate your background — If you want to come across well on camera, your background will be one of the first ways someone judges you. As a first step, I recommend making sure your background is clear of clutter and distracting items. As a second step, you should go above and beyond and curate your background. Add plants, a few photos, or other elements you think add a bit of personality to your space while staying professional. Don’t have a dedicated workspace in your home? No problem. Use a room divider or hang a curtain behind you.

Learning how to stand out on video takes a little bit of work, but it’s work that’s worth it. Once you get the process for your video in place and the basics down — you won’t stress about the process.

Take a moment (or several moments) to practice your video presence, as discussed above. , you’ll impress your audience in no time.

Video Credit: Provided by the author; Thank you!

Image Credit: SHVETS; Pexels; Thank you!

The post 3 Ways to Make a Great First Impression on Video Calls appeared first on Calendar.

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