Anyone who appears on camera becomes the subject of scrutiny. Suddenly, the entire world is an expert on fashion, makeup, hair, and all other means of presenting oneself. Being on screen opens you up to whatever criticisms might pop up in the minds of viewers.
We’ve probably all criticized the way someone looks on camera (usually someone famous, like an actor or a newscaster). What we really should be concerned with, though, is our own appearance. If you’ve never had to appear on camera for a videoconference or other engagement, you may not have thought about it before. If you have, you still may not have thought about it much. When it comes time for you to be in the limelight, are you ready to make a good impression?
There’s no getting around it: video is one of the primary means of communication in the business world. Sooner or later, you’re going to be in a videoconference, or maybe a webinar, promoting yourself or your company. How you look in these on-screen moments could have a big impact on your career. People will be watching your every move, deciding whether they want to work with you or invest in your brand. Let what they see work in your favor by following these tips for making a good impression on camera.
Looking good on camera takes effort: picking out the right clothes and accessories, putting on flattering makeup (if you’re a woman), making sure your hair is tamed. But you could go to all of that effort, and still not be at your best, if you don’t do a mirror-check before the camera rolls. Take a few moments to comb your hair and straighten your clothing. Keep a small grooming kit in your office in case of impromptu videoconferences. Never let fly-aways or mustard keep you down!
Look Behind You
Our offices are our own personal sanctuaries in the workplace. We often have very personal things on our walls and at our desks. For that reason, before your turn your webcam on for a meeting or webinar, make sure there’s nothing behind you that you wouldn’t want others to see. Keep the view behind you clear of clutter – your rubber band collection or framed pictures of your cat can distract people from looking at you.
Check Your Posture
The longer a meeting goes on, then more likely you are to slouch. You’ve probably sat in a meeting before hunched over the table with your head propped up by your hand. This doesn’t look great in-person; it looks terrible on camera. Slouching makes you appear bored, and others in the meeting might read that as you being indifferent to what’s going on. Make a point to sit up straight throughout the duration of your on-screen appearance.
Show Signs of Life
Even though people mostly see your face during a webinar or videoconference, that doesn’t mean you can completely ignore the rest of your body. Sitting and talking straight to the camera without much movement otherwise makes you look stiff and dull – like a doll or mannequin. People would much rather interact with a real human being. Come to life by using hand gestures when you’re making a point. You can also bring in props to enhance parts of a presentation. Blink and work your facial expressions – do these things from time to time so you don’t look like a talking cadaver.
Be Your Own Audience
The best way to find out what you’ll look like on camera is to watch it for yourself. Make a recording of you giving your presentation or having a mock interaction with someone at a meeting. When you play it back, you can be that scrutinizing person who criticizes what the person on screen looks like – only this time, it will be to your advantage, because you can actually do something about it. Take notes on what to improve on for the real thing, and make additional recordings as needed.