As the world continues to navigate a pandemic, some are easing their way back to their workplaces, while others are still working from home. Many continue to actively conduct Zoom, Skype, and other virtual meetings with co-workers, clients, patients, friends, and family, while other authors and experts are doing online television interviews.
I have devoted a number of posts over recent weeks to tips for conducting excellent on-camera calls and interviews. You can read them here. Today we’re once again taking a look at virtual meetings with a few more tips that may seem small, but make a HUGE difference.
Sitting in a chair
That sounds simple enough, but there is actually a bit of an art to this. When you’re on camera, the object closest to the camera is the biggest, and the object farther away appears smaller. Therefore, when you sit all the way back in a chair your midsection or your chest is going to appear bigger than your head. If you want to appear 10 pounds heavier, then this is the way to do it. I don’t know anyone who has ever wanted that, so there is a better way.
Sit up straight at a 90-degree angle to the chair. But that’s not all. Then, you want to lean in toward the camera at about a 15% angle. This makes your face the focal point, and because you’re leaning forward a bit, you look alive, awake, and full of energy.
Your laptop should be sitting up high enough so that you are looking right into the camera. You don’t want to be looking up at the camera, or worse yet looking down. Having people look up your nose is unappealing for everyone, and it’s no one’s best side.
Button your jacket if you have one on because it brings the viewers eyes up.
Sit on the back of your jacket so that it doesn’t ride up, which can look funny on camera.
Remember to gesture. Move your head and your hands so you look at ease and comfortable on camera. But remember, gestures are important but use them wisely. A little goes a long way and the last thing you want is to look like you’re flailing about.
Look at the camera. Not at yourself or the host on the screen. This takes some training, but you can do it. Watch other interviews because in a very short period of time you will be able to tell the pros from those who are just starting out, and not looking directly at the camera is the first dead giveaway.
Wear something with color. Make it a color that looks fantastic on you. If you’re not sure what that is, pick something that others tell you looks great on you. This is not the time to experiment with some bold new colors that you’ve never worn before. You want to feel good in it, you want others to say you look good in it, and if you’re still not sure about the color, everyone looks good in some shade of blue, so go with that.
Enjoy variety. There used to be a wide range of colors and patterns to stay away from but cameras are really good these days so the rules aren’t as stringent as they used to be, although as a good rule of thumb, stay away from white. It just isn’t very flattering and the camera doesn’t like it very much either. Don’t wear the same color your green screen (if you have one), and stay away from colors that match your background. That is a fantastic way to just fade away, and you don’t want that.
Finally, be sure to have something to say. The content and your key messages are important. First people see how you look and gesture. Are you comfortable? Do you seem confident and credible? Then they listen to your words, so choose them wisely.
As I watch others conducting their meetings and doing media interviews, I am surprised by how many pay very little attention to these details, but details can make all the difference. One of the greatest uses of that precious interview time is that you can post it for others to see after your actual appearance, so you want to be your best.
Regardless of how this pandemic plays itself out, video conferencing is here to stay in a much bigger way than ever before. Embrace your brand and put yourself out there as the author and expert that you are.
Above all else, take care of yourself and those you love. Stay safe.
To your success!
PS: If you need additional help on how to work with media, you may find some good options here.