by TJ Walker and Mike Bako
There are many simple, yet not common sense, tips for appearing on TV in the best light possible. For example, you know that you should look comfortable and relaxed when you appear on TV; you don’t want to look uptight. But if you sit back and relax in a chair or couch on a TV set, you will look TERRIBLE.
If you sit back and relax, your head will be further away from the camera than your abdomen. Unfortunately, the camera latches on to whatever is closest. If the camera is closer to your gut, it will magnify your stomach. The result? You will look 20–30 pounds heavier than you do in real life. Even if you have six-pack abs, you will look as if you have a large tummy roll. To make matters worse, you will look like you have a double chin, even if you’ve had more face-lifts than Michael Jackson. So don’t lean back in a couch or chair when you are on TV.
Your next option is to sit up perfectly straight, just like your mother taught you when you were in first grade. In this case, your mom’s advice won’t work. If you sit up perfectly straight while in front of a TV camera, you will look as stiff as a board, nervous, scared and highly uncomfortable. Don’t sit up perfectly straight either!
So where does this leave us?
The last – and best – option is to hold yourself up high and lean forward about 15 degrees toward the camera. This will make you appear taller, thinner, younger and leaner, while accentuating your jaw line. Because the camera latches on to whatever is closest, it will now give more prominence to your head and mouth, and less to any excess padding you may have below (a major plus for many well-fed business executives, myself included).
So for seated TV interviews, always lean forward about 15 degrees toward the camera. If you are standing, don’t lean forward quite that much or you might fall over. Just make sure you don’t stand up too rigidly straight, or you will appear nervous and stiff.
The final thing to remember about your body during a TV interview is to move slightly. Don’t remain stiff. You don’t want to move around in a quick, jerky fashion, but you do want to exhibit subtle, natural movement. Occasionally move forward, backward and to the side 3 to 6 inches, just as you normally would when having an animated conversation with a friend.
By leaning forward and moving slightly in a full range, you will look your very best in every TV appearance.
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