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Presenting Yourself Online - FAQs

In the age of virtual job interviews and online business meetings, it is essential to master the art of presenting yourself effectively online.

To help you learn all the tips and tricks to make a successful impact, we ran a webinar on presenting yourself online with expert Paul Ryan. You can watch the webinar here . Many of our attendees had questions about this topic, which we have answered here, and might help you too!

Q. How can you stop yourself over-talking (especially if nervous) at interview.  I tend to answer 3 questions in one (bad!) 

A. This is very common, especially if you’re nervous!  The first thing to do is pause and take a deep breath.  Pauses always seem longer to you than the interviewer so don’t worry about a few second silence.  The pause and breath allows time for you to organise your thoughts and stick to the point more easily.

Q. Do you have any recommendations for what lights to buy? And where to buy them from?

A. Amazon does a good selection that are reasonably priced.  Be aware of your space before buying – sometimes a tripod takes up more room than you think on a desk!  Alternatively, a daylight bulb can make the world of difference in existing lamps.

Q. Is it better to have an organised background of your room (books, pictures etc) or to have a plain white one as you have? Can this sometimes look a little unnatural or ‘try hard’ and how do you decide? 

A. The rule here is that you don’t want your background to be distracting to the viewer.  You want the focus to be on you!  So with this in mind, aim for a plain background (this could include a few items if well placed), blurred or simple virtual (no beaches or palm trees though!).

Q .I recently blurred my background using Teams but then couldn’t do it using Zoom! Any top tips please?

A. It’s possible to blur your background on Zoom – when in the meeting, bottom left, click the video icon – see below.

Q. Regarding being 4 feet from the camera, I am often referring to notes, or writing - and I feel I need the desk space to do so.

A.  It’s possible to be 4 feet from your camera and use the desk space in front of your screen for your pen and pad.

Q. If you are a creative being interviewed for a creative role, is a blank background a bit dull?

A.  As per the answer above, you want the creativity to come from you and what you’re saying, not your background.  Perhaps you may want to stand up and present, or wear something colourful.

Q. Can I ask how you would manage muting and unmuting yourself on a zoom call if you are 4 feet away from the laptop?

A. If you need to be unmuting frequently then it’s ok to move forward to do this. Alternatively, if you use a mouse, this allows you to control your computer whilst the screen is further away.

Q. I find it really tricky to look at the camera when I naturally want to look at the person's face on screen I'm talking to! I've rarely worked with teams who look at the camera but have been wanting to master this!

A. This is the trickiest thing to master as it feels really unnatural.  However, if you position your camera at eye level this is a good first move.  Then, use the rule given by Paul to start – look into the camera when you’re speaking but look at the people when they’re speaking.  This creates good engagement.  Another trick is to turn off your own image so you’re not distracted by yourself!

Q. Is it ok to be writing notes, which will mean we keep looking down?

A. Yes, this is ok … just let your interviewers know that’s what you’re doing and try to write at arm length to keep your audience engaged when you look up.

Q. What are the best colours to wear during the interview or presentation to maximise presence and impact?

A.  Plain clothes work better than patterned when on screen – think news presenters!  Think about your background as you don’t want to clash.  If you’re interviewing, wear something that you’d wear in person.

Q. What about use of headsets with mic? I use mine all the time as I feel it helps with sound. But I've noticed not so many people do any more. Is this ok? I'm not in an interview situation this is just related to my business and the teams I work with.

A. Yes, this is fine if it helps your sound quality. 

Q. How important is make up?

A. Makeup wearing is entirely up to you.  If it helps your confidence, go for it.  There are settings on zoom that allow you to ‘touch up’ your appearance so you could use this and then no makeup is needed!

Q. Can Paul elaborate a bit more on lighting please. Where on your face do you direct lighting? And from the side, front or back?

A. The key is, ideally, to have light in front of you.  So if it’s day time, try to sit in front of a window.  If you need artificial light, a ring light is very useful for this.  An alternative is to point a spotlight at the wall in front of you which will reflect back onto your face.

Q. Is the microphone or quality of the microphone as important as the camera and lighting?

A. Most modern equipment will have a decent microphone built in but it’s always worth testing your sound in advance.  Teams and Zoom have this as a feature.

Q. Is it okay to use background filters?  What do you think about zoom backgrounds?  

A. Yes, both are fine.  Just remember, keep things plain and simple.

Q. I can’t see without my glasses on but always get a reflection from my lights. Any suggestions?

A. The top tip here is to tip your glasses down slightly to avoid the glare.

Q. I've been in a meeting with several people and their constant movements irritate me, i.e. drinking, coming their hair, scratching their nose etc. What's your view on this?

A. If you’re in an interview or giving a presentation, you want the focus to be on you and what you’re saying rather than what you’re fiddling with so be conscious of this.  If it’s an everyday meeting, people may behave more like they would around a meeting table so having a coffee or fidgeting a little is more likely.

Q. I would like to know about lapel mic set up.

A. Most modern equipment has fairly good microphones so unless you’re looking for a very professional set up, stick with what you’ve got.  If you’re going to invest in a lapel mic, make sure it’s compatible with your computer.  There’s lots of advice online.


Don't forget to watch our Presenting Yourself Online webinar.  And check out these FAQs above. You’ll be well on your way to being fully prepared for online interviews and business meetings. 

If we can help in your job search, get in touch with us here at Ten2Two. We are experts and are happy to help!


6 min read