Like everybody else on Planet Earth right now, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Zoom. In the course of these calls, I’ve seen all kinds of backdrops. The feng shui interior designer in me can’t help noting which spaces convey a sense of beauty, serenity and balance, and which ones don’t.
So I offer these suggestions in a spirit of fun, to help make our virtual world look and feel a little better. With that, drum roll please…
10. DONT show me your bed.
Even if its impeccably made, seeing the bed is just a little too intimate (although I guess it depends on the type of zoom call your having ;)
Yes, I know you’re calling from your house. We all are. But that doesn’t mean we want to see the most private parts of your home. Your zoom call can look warm and inviting, just don’t invite me into your bedroom.
9. DO curb your chotchkies.
From Urban Dictionary: (“Chach-keys”) yiddish word for trinkets and collectables, AKA “dusk collectors” that you would find in an old lady’s house.
Only show one or two personal items in your background, not 20. A family pic, or a shelf with a few knick-knacks is fine. But don’t get carried away. A good rule of thumb: if you were in a professional office space, how many personal things would you show?
8. DON’T make me look up your nose!
I can’t believe how many people get this one wrong. Place your camera level with, or higher than, your nose. NOT UNDER IT. Enough said.
7. DO get centered.
I say symmetry is harmony. Seeing a balanced background gives a sense of ease and allows people to focus on you more easily. I’ve tried lots of different angles in my zoom calls and get the most positive feedback when I use the following set-up: positioned with a wall sconce over each shoulder, and between the two ceiling beams. (BTW, sitting directly under a beam is not great feng shui…but that’s a different blog post.)
If you don’t have an area in your home with built-in symmetry, you can create a balanced backdrop by adding similar pieces on each side of you – like two end tables with a lamp on each one, or sit centered on a wall with a large piece of art.
6. DON’T show me your dirty laundry.
I was once on large zoom call and one of the speakers was in her “home office” – clearly her bedroom since I could see her bed in the background (strike one) along with a dirty sock and sneaker on the floor (strike two and three)! I have no idea what she said on the call, because whenever she spoke I couldn’t stop staring at that skanky sneaker and sock!
OK, that one’s pretty obvious. But, really, do scour your space for any unconscious clutter you might have in your background (a dirty dish, a forgotten bath towel, overflowing trash bin). These seemingly minor distractions can take the focus off of what you have to say, and put it onto something that doesn’t say the most ideal things about you.
5. DO lighten up.
Always have good lighting on your face. A ring light (20 bucks on amazon) is a zoom lifesaver. Try placing it on your “better side” so one half of the face is more illumined. If you don’t know your best side, take a selfie of each side of your face and see which one you like better (or which one makes you less likely to turn down the light!) 😉
4. DON’T stab yourself in the back.
Be careful what is behind your head in your background. I saw one caller sitting in his kitchen with a set of knives that seemed to loom ominously over his shoulder.
This is the true definition of the feng shui term “poison arrow”: sitting with a sharp object behind you. That doesn’t bode well for you, and it makes others feel uncomfortable.
3. DO use the most important button on Zoom.
The mute button is there for a reason. I don’t want to hear your kids, your dog, your tv, the lawnmower or the trash truck. It’s nothing personal. Background noise is another form of clutter that can distract us and keep us from moving forward.
Whenever you’re not talking, or part of an active conversation, stay muted. Keep the sound quiet so you can stay in the flow and, when it’s your moment to speak, clearly get your point across.
2. DON’T be a fake.
I much prefer seeing the actual room someone is in vs. a virtual backdrop, because its real. Those artificial backdrops feel awkward, create weird glows around a person, and cut off the body in strange ways. None of that is good feng shui. Which brings me to #1…
1. DO use the strongest spot in your house for your zoom call.
Knowing your home’s feng shui will help you decide the ideal part of the house for your zoom calls (such as the best for money, business, fame, or relationships).
Where is the best spot in your house?
If you’ve had a feng shui home consultation from me, check out your report and see how you can set up your zoom calls in one of those areas. (Then use the recommended colors and natural elements to make it even more powerful.)
If you haven’t worked with me, you can download my yearly tips and find the best spot in your house right now. Either way, the above suggestions will help a lot.
And a final DO: Keep it Simple.
If all else fails, just call in without video. We don’t ALWAYS need to be on camera, right? (Remember when we’d just have a phone call?)
That said, when we take a little time to create a background that is attractive and uplifting, we feel good about ourselves and pass on good vibes to others.
Here’s hoping the year ahead is one of sharing good vibes, along with abundant health, harmony and a little humor – we could all use it.
Stay safe, stay sane, and be well.