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How do you dress for a more formal yet remote *video* presentation?

I ran into a bit of a dilemma starting my day off today.  Working in a home office about 200 miles away from the corporate office of my employer (Mitel), I am very often called upon to do presentations remotely.  Usually these are over a conference call, but often they do include slides as well.  We have our own web collaboration product, Your Assistant, which is similar to things like GoToMeeting that Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson have been speaking about over on FIR.  Our tool, "YA", is integrated with our phone systems, has presence, secure IM, includes a softphone and has a whole range of features that can make business communication much simpler, easier, more productive, etc. (Full disclosure: for about a year, I was the YA product manager.)  It also has a data/video collaboration module that you can see on the right (click on the image for a larger view). 

Today, we have a European customer in for a series of meetings in Ottawa.  I'm on the agenda for a half-hour talk about VoIP security and, since it didn't make a whole lot of sense for me to drive 4.5 hours up to Ottawa for a 30-minute meeting to then drive 4.5 hours back, we decided to do it remotely - but we also decided to include video.  Which, this morning, suddenly raised the question:

What should one wear for a relatively formal presentation given remotely from a home office?

I realized to my chagrin that most of the remote video presentations I've given have been either to internal audiences or to US customers accustomed to the "business casual" environment that (unfortunately, IMHO, but that's another post) pervades US corporate culture.  There it's simple... throw on a polo shirt or typical button-down men's dress shirt and you are done.

However, were I up in Ottawa today I'd be wearing a suit and tie in respect to the more formal dress of most of our European visitors.  So what does a home office worker do?

  • Wear a suit and tie and look exceedingly out-of-place in a home office?
  • Wear a men's dress shirt without a tie and look like you are missing something?
  • Wear a polo shirt but look like an idiot given that it's 8 degrees F outside?
  • Wear a sweatshirt or bathrobe and promptly get fired?

This was the dilemma rolling around in my head today (well, the first two bullets, anyway).  Ultimately I decided to go for "none of the above" and wear my somewhat "standard" outfit of a black turtleneck (appropriate for this time of year) with a jacket.  Seemed to be a compromise that would also be somewhat appropriate, i.e. I wear turtlenecks around here and can just add a jacket.

But it does raise the question...  what is the dress etiquette for a home office working doing a remote presentation that includes video?   (Realizing, too, that video is typically only a headshot so for pants you could be wearing anything... )

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