Some people get all the luck: it seems like many people look great on camera, but we often feel awkward about our own on-screen appearance. The truth is, pretty much everyone feels this way. We’re just not used to seeing how we look on camera, so when we finally do it’s kind of a shock – even if we don’t actually look bad.
For members of the business world, video conferencing is becoming a regular form of communication. Being in front of a web cam is a way of life. Even if you’re new to videoconferencing, sooner or later it will be your turn in front of the camera. If there’s one thing that will boost your confidence during a meeting or a presentation, it’s feeling good about how you look on camera. And when you feel confident, your audience will notice. They’re following your lead, so if you’re energetic, yet relaxed, they’ll adopt your good feelings and be receptive to your message. In short, when you’re confident, you look good on camera.
You can build your on-camera confidence with a “web cam makeover” – and we’re not even talking about makeup, dieting, or botox. How you look on camera depends a lot on the environment that you’re calling in from. Of course, you don’t want to show up in your PJs with unbrushed hair and breakfast in your teeth. Doing a before-camera mirror check is a must. But beyond that, prepping your space before showtime can have a huge influence on whether they’re paying attention to your presentation or that mole on your eyebrow.
See The (Right) Light
The lighting in your on-screen “set” can make you look menacing if it’s too dark and goofy if it’s true bright. Make the lighting in your space look as natural as possible. Avoid dim “mood lighting” and back lights, which can cast a shadow over your best features, and keep overhead lighting to a minimum as it can be glaring. Indirect light that reflects off of a white surface will give you just the right amount of rays to brighten your appearance and make your face memorable.
Put on the Ritz
The man makes the clothes, but the clothes make the man. It may not be an A-list event, but your online meeting or presentation should be given the best of your wardrobe options. What your wear will tell your audience, coworkers, and/or boss how you view yourself and how you want to be viewed by others. Before your even open your mouth, people will be silently judging you based on your choice of threads. Solid, neutral tones with a splash of color thrown in come out best on camera. Avoid busy patterns like hounds tooth and checkers, and steer clear of too much red or other bright colors, as these can be distracting. Remember, you want them to see you in your clothes, not just the clothes.
Cut the Clutter
The A&E TV show Hoarders is so disturbing it’s hard not to watch. Don’t let the background setting of your camera shot look like you haven’t thrown anything away since 1992. Clean up your webcam workspace so that you have just the bare minimum necessary to carry out your meeting or presentation. A clean background makes your appear competent, organized, and put-together, which will bolster your reputation as a capable speaker. It will also keep your audience from wondering what that green glob on the corner of your desk could be.
Seeing is Believing
When it comes to a great on-camera look, what you actually look like is just part of the equation. The other part is how you set yourself up. The right lighting, professional attire and a pleasing, clean setting will enhance what your mama gave you. Even if you’re having a bad hair day, the audience will see you in a good light, with an enviable fashion sense and an even more enviable clean office. Make them see what you want them to see, and they’ll believe in you.