Make a Good First Impression Over Zoom

  1. Choose an appropriate background. When you’re meeting a client or colleague in a conference room or over coffee, you don’t pay much attention to what’s happening on the wall behind you. But when you’re meeting with someone over Zoom, this is an important detail you can’t overlook when you’re trying to make a good first impression.

Choose a space that isn’t too busy or cluttered; a solid background with natural light is ideal. If you don’t have anywhere that’s suitable, you can use one of Zoom’s standard backgrounds to disguise your location. You can even search for free Zoom backgrounds online and upload an image to your Zoom profile so it’s ready the next time you have an online meeting. Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to and log in
    • Navigate to the “Settings” menu on the left-hand side of the screen
    • Select the “In Meeting (Advanced)” option
    • Scroll down to “Virtual background” and enable it by toggling to the right
    • Launch the Zoom desktop app and log in
    • Click the gear icon in the top right corner
    • Select “Virtual Background”
    • Choose a background shown or click the “+” sign to upload your own image or video to use as a background

Don’t forget about the lighting in the room. Natural light is always the best choice if you have it. Even if you don’t, make sure your face is well lit and that your primary light isn’t coming from directly behind you.

  • Speak to the camera. A lot of people will look at their screen when they’re on a Zoom call, and it’s something they might not realize works against them when they’re talking to another person online.

The great thing about Zoom is that it allows you to have a face-to-face conversation with another person without being in the same room. However, you have to remember that you’re speaking to the person on the other end through your webcam. That means when you’re looking at the image of them on your screen as you talk, you aren’t looking into their “eyes,” so to speak.

Eye contact is critical when it comes to effective communications. Meeting someone’s eyes when you talk makes you appear more trustworthy and it shows the person that you’re speaking with that you’re paying attention to them.

Considering how important first impressions are, you need good eye contact.

So rather than look at the image of your client when you speak during a Zoom call, talk directly to the camera so that it looks and feels to the person on the other end as though you are looking them straight in the eye.

  • Use the mute feature. With so many people now working from home, it’s become commonplace to have unexpected interruptions, like kids or pets running into the room.

And even though anyone with a family understands how difficult it is to work from home, you still don’t want to have your meeting ruined by noisy distractions in your environment. That’s why it’s important to learn how to mute your meeting so unwanted noises are kept out.

First and foremost, plan to sit in a space where there will be little or no noise during your call. When another person on the call is speaking, engage the mute feature so unexpected noises on your end don’t interrupt the call. (You can temporarily unmute yourself by holding down the spacebar while you speak.)

Listening is a critical part of a good business presentation, and it’s difficult to do that if you’re distracted by noises in your environment while on a call. Allowing that to happen doesn’t leave a particularly good impression with the other person on the call, either.

  • Remember you’re on camera. When you’re not sitting directly across from someone, it’s very difficult for people to read your non-verbal cues. That’s because their view of you is usually limited to your head and shoulders. For that reason, it’s important that you are more deliberate with your gestures, and that you make them in front of the camera.

On the flip side of that, people interacting over Zoom sometimes forget they’re in full view of others on the call. That means if you’re eating, looking off camera, or distracted by something else, your Zoom audience can see that.

You’ll always make a good impression—on camera or in person—if you appear interested and engaged in the conversation. Set your camera so you’re centered on the screen, clear away distractions, and give the person or people on the call your undivided attention.

And don’t forget to smile!

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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