Should You Use a Virtual Background on Your Next Video Call?
A virtual video background can serve as a fun icebreaker or become a silly distraction. On one level, they show off an element of creativity and technological know-how. On the other hand, they can feel impersonal and fake. So, should you use one?
Yes! Show Your Personality With a Virtual Video Background
At a time when nearly everyone is working from home and dialing into meetings, a virtual video background is a way to bring you and your colleagues together.
For example, placing yourself in front of a well-known landmark is a way to feel that you are there. Even if it is a virtual background, seeing a favorite spot can bring up those good feelings and remind people how they are connected beyond the computer screen. Escape and travel around the world with a virtual background.
Many companies and organizations have recently released their own lines of free virtual backgrounds. In using a professional backdrop to represent your company, you could add a polished look to your professional meetings. (Or, in sharing your own virtual backgrounds, you could provide exciting and unique content to your fans!)
Beyond a shared interest, a virtual background is a way to show off your personality. Wish you were working at the beach? You could be with a virtual background! When done appropriately, a virtual background can bring laughs to a meeting or spark questions that help you and your colleagues get to know each other. Plus, depending on your technological savvy, you may also be able to use a virtual background to show off your skills and creativity. Canva even offers templates to help you design your own.
No, Save the Virtual Video Backgrounds for Meteorologists
Showing off your own reality can make you feel vulnerable. But it can also be a way for your coworkers and clients to get to know the real you. The items on a bookshelf could start a conversation. Plus, if you are someone who already has a wonderful at-home office or studio, show it off! Speaking from your well-established recording room only adds to your credibility and experience, especially if you are a communications or marketing professional.
At the same time, not having a great tech setup is also a reason to skip. When using a virtual video background, there is the chance of a mishap. Things could go awry if you choose the wrong image, find your video quality degraded, or have poor lighting. Virtual backgrounds work well when you have strong lighting that allows the computer to detect where you end and your background begins. Without the right scenario, you could find yourself disappearing from the screen.
If you don’t know how your colleagues will react or how your technology will fare, leave the virtual backgrounds for happy hours with friends. Stay rooted in reality for work.
Whatever Your Decision, Remember…
So, should you use a virtual background on your next video call? It depends.
Some occasions might call for a fun virtual background, others might call for you to skip it. Whatever you decide, remember to present yourself in a clear and professional manner on video. That means check your connection and lighting, dress appropriately, and keep your background (virtual or real) suitable for an at-home office.