Zoom Etiquette: Body Language, Confidence and Why You Should Stop Staring at Yourself

Have you recently had a job interview on Zoom?  Or pitched a big idea to a large group? Or relayed critical information to your boss and your bosses’ boss during a Zoom team meeting? Or are you simply interested in leveling up for your new normal to be most successful on Zoom?

When it comes to do or die, we care a whole lot about being positively perceived and perhaps we care even more about not making fools of ourselves.  There is new evidence showing impressions happen faster in the virtual world than they do in person.  When things do go sideways or you don’t feel as confident as you hoped, how do you not fall into the trap of relentlessly critiquing and obsessing “if only” you had the chance to do it all over.

What are the hacks or the techniques you need to know to do your best and look your best and drive the outcomes to be most successful during Zoom meetings?  Just like in person, the best outcomes occur when you are genuine and authentic.  Which does not mean you cannot be nervous.  However, it is best not to be awkward.

Here is what you need to know. 

The fear is real.  Watching yourself for extended periods of time virtually makes all of us feel self-conscious at times.  It also makes us do things we would not normally do, like play with our hair or touch our face or even worse, look bored and disengaged.

During virtual meetings, an interruption can bring about an awkward pause.  Be mindful of this because pauses feel longer on Zoom.  A delay can make you perceived as less friendly.

Do not look at yourself!  There is research out there about the effects of watching yourself all day.  Zoom fatigue is real.

People are not fixated on you on Zoom like you think they are. The intense analysis you imagine does not really exist.  However, people do decide whether they like you are not in seconds.  It sounds like I just contradicted myself, but I know you get it.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by Zoom take a break and just ask to speak with the person over the phone. Of course, you may not be able to do this in high stakes situations.


  • Smile!  You will look so much more engaged and relaxed.
  • Warm yourself up and get into a great mindset before the call.  Read out loud to practice how you will sound.
  • Dial in early to avoid looking stressed or flustered.
  • Look into your camera like you are talking to one person.
  • Check your background.  It matters.
  • Use that voice!  The goal here is to exude credibility and confidence. Be strong and clear.
  • Position yourself!  Your head and shoulders should command the screen.
  • Do not get distracted.  Look like you are paying attention.  Remember, you are on camera. Train yourself to stay on mute when you are not speaking.  This will avoid kids, pets or unexpected noises to interfere.


Zoom is here to stay.  Let me know how you are surviving and thriving.  I love hearing from you!

Check out the last article on Zoom Etiquette: Body Language and Tone here

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About Mary Williams

Mary is a business etiquette and protocol expert for executives and rising stars who want to unleash their best self and achieve their goals. A veteran of the C-Suite, Mary is a passionate advocate for utilizing the best skills in business etiquette and protocol to ensure meaningful actions for success in business and life. After more than a dozen years in her role as chief of staff, Mary launched her own dream business, Mary Williams, Your First Impression Authority. As a graduate of The American School of Protocol and a certified Business Coach, in addition to working at the highest levels of national and international organizations, Mary understands both the demands and the complexities of maneuvering effectively through business and life.   She is a regular presenter at university business schools, nonprofit organizations, trade association conferences, as well as corporate events. Her mission is to share all she has learned along the way, and in doing so provide effective business coaching to ultimately help people reach their true potential, utilizing distinct techniques and simple steps that guarantee success.

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