For some, being in front of a webcam is as natural as breathing. It can be enjoyable for those who like attention, while others don’t even give it a second thought. But for those that are camera-shy, it can be nerve-wracking to be on a webcam in a meeting knowing that anyone in the meeting can see you up-close and personal on their computer screen. It’s a bit like living in a fish bowl. Even if you’re not the presenter at the meeting, it’s still more exposure than you get when sitting in a regular face-to-face meeting. And let’s not even think about if someone decides to record it and show it to other people!
More people are a little bit camera shy than probably would like to admit it. So if you are, don’t worry – it’s completely normal. If you’re going to be participating in a lot of videoconferences, you may want to build up your on-screen confidence. Being on camera doesn’t have to painful – in fact, it should be enjoyable. Keep some of these ideas in mind so your next camera session is less stress and more finesse.
Say Cheese and Smile
Well, you don’t have to do exactly that, but you can say whatever you need to in your head to get yourself to smile. Smiling naturally relaxes you and will get you feeling more comfortable right away (even if you’re shaking inside!). You’ll also look more natural on camera if you smile, which when you see the results later will give you a confidence boost. Hey, you don’t look so bad on camera!
Try Some Pre-Camera Therapy
You may have a ritual when you go home to relax and unwind from the busy workday. Consider following this same ritual, or another method of relaxing, prior to the start of a videoconference. Take deep breaths, spray some aromatherapy in your office, or take a brisk walk around the building. Whatever it is that normally puts you at ease, do that thing 15-20 minutes before your debut. When your head is clear and your body is less tense, you won’t worry so much about being perfect when you’re seen on the webcam.
Always Be Yourself
As the saying goes, “Be yourself – everyone else is taken”. Often what makes us nervous about being on camera is our expectation of how we look to others. We might think that we look one way and when we see how we look on camera, it can be alarming (even though you really look just fine.) It can be hard getting used to our on-camera personas, but it’s still you. Just because the most attractive people ever to go in front of a camera are actors, that doesn’t mean you have to act when you’re in the spotlight. Just act natural and let you own personality shine through.
You’re Not the Only One
If it’s hard for you to be the center of attention, remember that millions of people get in front of some kind of camera everyday. Taking the focus off of yourself – even if it’s on you in the moment – can make being on a webcam seem like less of a big deal. Just think how big-name actors like Jennifer Lawrence must feel being on camera all day. You’ll likely only have to be in your webconference for an hour or less. Your time on camera is limited, so just enjoy it.