Being on camera for your business

We have all found ourselves on camera a lot over the past 10 months, with virtual meetings and conferences to attend, and maybe even new brand videos to attract a new audience to a new market space. In pre-COVID days, managers and leaders stood at the head of their board-room tables. Now, we can present from the comfort of our bed with no pants on, if we choose.

There is no question, being on camera feels different for everyone, presenter and audience, alike, and whether that is a comfortable transition, or one that makes your palms sweat, here are some tips for those “beam me up” moments when your face and your voice is transported into your staff and colleague home offices.

Dress for the occasion.

Even though it’s tempting to go comfy, there is no question we feel better when our hair is washed and our clothes are clean. You don’t necessarily need a suit (or maybe you do), but putting on some business casual clothes, applying your regular make-up or hair gel is worth the time and effort. Most importantly, wear something that makes you feel good about yourself.

Setting up the light in your favour.

Light is finicky, and when it’s cast is bad, it’s really bad—eye bags and all. Get yourself out of the shadows by setting up your computer in front of a window. Using front-facing natural light is best shares Bryan Lufkin, contributor to online magazine, Remote Control. We all want that movie-star glow and natural light is best.

If it’s night, or you work in a room without a window, put your lamp behind your laptop and in front of your face. When light comes from behind or beside you, it leaves you in full or partial silhouette, and can leave those listening to your presentation distracted by your ominous look. If people can’t see your face or your eyes, you might lose their attention.

If you are really serious about looking good, Nyma Tang, a beauty expert on YouTube, suggests blotting the skin to remove oil and even out skin tones. Also, don’t forget to keep the camera at eye-level or higher. The last thing you want is people looking up your nose.

Prepare your energy.

Where meetings at the office started out with a gathering in a physical space, the sound of chatter, laughter, and maybe even excitement in the air, we are all now logging on from the silence of our own home office or dining room table. That energy can be felt. It’s not just about looking your best, or feeling confident in your presentation at this moment, but giving off the right energy.

Some tips for infusing your online meeting with energy and enthusiasm:

Posture says it all. If you have a standing desk, use it. More body mobility as opposed to being hunched over a desk gives off a different energy. Not to mention, if you are sitting all day, it’s the perfect opportunity to get up and give the body a break from sitting.

Project your voice, but keep it natural. Check in with your attendees/audience on whether they can hear you clearly. If you tend to have a more monotone voice, rather than radio-host lilts and intonations, projecting your voice, and introducing some expression will keep the attention of your audience for longer, but it’s also important to sound like yourself and keep it natural.

Be aware of what your body language might say. If you are easily distracted by or feeling self-conscious about your own image on camera, people will see it. Know what your body language is showing others. If you are a natural lip biter or squinter, know that these little habits will become even more prominent and obvious on camera, and potentially distract people from your message.

Look at the camera. Just like making eye contact with people is important when you are talking to them, looking at the camera is important when you are in a meeting, presenting or communicating with others over camera.

Know your script.

This is a given for any meeting, whether in person or in camera. Though it looks like people are winging it on social media videos, promoting their business, they have a script and they practiced it! Most of us weren’t born to be on stage, and even those who were, practice their script until it becomes a part of them. Read your script out loud before you go into the meeting to know where you will pause, add some energy or a visual to break up the screen time with other images.

Set the pace.

Timing counts. It’s easier for people to miss things on camera, when they are distracted by that email that just came in, or their child who just walked into the room. Don’t be afraid to set a bit of a slower pace for a meeting behind the camera to ensure you have everyone’s attention. Check in with people throughout the presentation, and leave time for conversation and questions at the end.

And finally, be your brand. Make it fun! Lean in, and don’t be afraid to look at the camera and be one with it. It’s a new era, and you’re on in 3…2…

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