The scenario is all too common nowadays: you join an online meeting and half of the attendees have low video resolution, messy backgrounds, bad audio or all the above.

(And, admit it, that may well include you!)

In a world that has gone fully virtual, from classes to commencement speeches to job interviews and business meetings, your professional interactions will probably occur on a screen near you for at least a few more months. All the more reason to look good and stand out!

So, here are a few ideas on how to leave the best first impression and maintain that image throughout your busy meeting schedule.

Let us start with the obvious, which is how you look onscreen. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t just settle for your computer’s onboard camera. Invest in a great USB webcam. Think HD resolution (a minimum of 720p) and an FPS (frames per second) of at least 30.
  • Next, be sure to have the best lighting possible, choose a place where you can face a window and get enough natural light in. Cover any dim areas from LED lights or lamps.
  • Take care of your background. Use a green screen if you can. It will provide a nice, neutral backdrop that you can also replace with relevant branding information or a different landscape.

Now, paradoxically, in the online meeting space, the overall composite image of your persona and how authoritatively you look, will be dictated by your audio rather than your video. While you can participate in a meeting and never enable your camera, there is no way to play an active role if your mic is off. You can hide behind your camera, but your audio will eventually give you away.

That is true for any meeting. But as you enter the multilingual space, the quality of your audio will be paramount, especially when you meet on KUDO.

KUDO relies on professional human interpreters whose ability to render your ideas into different languages hinges, first and foremost, on their ability to hear you. And this is a two-way street. You want the sound coming from the interpreters to be crisp and clear, carrying all the intended nuance and subtleties that are a huge part of how we communicate as humans.

So, the advice in this case is simple: just wear a headset. But not just any headset. Go for a good USB headset that will do your voice and your ideas justice.

Not sure what to pick? Here’s the cheat sheet:

  • Two earcups plus a built-in microphone and a true USB connector (no adapters).
  • Good around-the-ear coverage on both ears, to prevent leakages into your mic.
  • Frequency response between 100Hz –15,000Hz (both for speakers and the mic).
  • Flexible microphone boom arm that you can bend with your hand, for the right adjustments.
  • In-line mute and volume controls.
  • A device you can wear comfortably for long periods of time.

So, want to improve how you look? Start with how you sound. Counter-intuitive, we know. But so very true.

You win over a virtual meeting with your sound, not your image.