Media Training Worldwide

5 Ways to Never Let the Seat Swallow You Up

If you are filming a seated interview, whether it be at your own choice or the choice of another, it is important to consider how your posture on the chair is perceived through the camera.

We always want to look our best, and more importantly, you want your point to be expressed clearly and effectively. There are simple mistakes you can avoid when sitting down during filming that will help your audience stay focused on your message, rather than be distracted by the way you’re performing.

Many habits form unintentionally, which can lead to us looking awkward and uncomfortable when placed in front of a camera. If you are scared of this happening to you, I am going to share 5 simple strategies you can implement right away to immediately make you appear confident and collected on the screen.

Here we go!

Pretend the Chair Has No Backrest

Most of the time when you’re doing seated interviews, you are sitting on a full chair rather than a stool. My first recommendation is to not sit fully back into your chair and focus on leaning forward instead.

When you lean back in your chair, gravity is pushing all of your weight in an unflattering direction – you look heavier, and the double chins start popping out (even if you don’t have one).

Additionally, by retreating your posture from the camera, you may appear passive in your delivery. Leaning in, on the other hand, makes you look confident as you are not shying away from the camera.

For these reasons, you’re better off pretending your chair doesn’t even have a back. Sit up straight or lean slightly forward into the camera – this way you will be showcasing your best angles, which can naturally make you feel more confident knowing you look great.

Don’t Slouch Over to One Side

The other problem a lot of people have when it comes to chairs is if there is an armrest, all of a sudden you find yourself leaning to one side – it is natural to do so in day-to-day life to find more comfort or stability, but from the view of the camera you’re all crooked, rumpled, and if you have any sort of jacket on there’d be all sorts of wrinkles.

Most importantly, when you’re leaning, you’re not moving your hands and gesturing. Utilizing your hands during speech is a natural part of communication, so when your arms are rigidly locked to the armrest, you appear more awkward on camera.

My recommendation when recording a video in a chair is to not touch the armrest nor the backrest, and rather sit on the front two-thirds of the chair, hold yourself high, and lean forward – that way you look tall and confident and come across your best.

Avoid Placing Your Hands on the Desk While Speaking

Another temptation you might come across when filming in a studio or even at your own office is leaning your arms when sitting behind a desk.

You may find yourself leaning forward this time with your body slumped over, revealing all sorts of bumps and wrinkles in your shoulder area. Additionally, by placing your arms on the desk you have immobilized your hands, so you look more passive, nervous, and uncomfortable.

It is good to note that this tip is most important when you are the active speaker in the conversation – if you are listening to someone else, there is nothing wrong with keeping your hands on a desk or table in front of you. However, once you start talking, my recommendation is that you don’t touch anything – avoid touching the table and don’t lean on the armrest. You want your hands moving in your normal patterns.

Use Your Hands, But Don’t Think About It

I have already mentioned that it is important to utilize your natural hand movements while recording a video in a seated position, but how much should you think about it?

It turns out, not a lot.

When moving your hands during a speech, don’t worry about whether or not your arms are seen in the shot. When your hands are moving, even when they are not seen, it still creates movement in the body – natural movement makes your voice sound more comfortable, confident, and conversational.

So, don’t stress about the camera shot – the main thing is you don’t want to freeze yourself.

Be Mindful in your Foot Placement

When you are seated, it is important to consider your foot placement, as this can affect the posture of your entire body.

If you spread your legs apart or put your feet up, it’s going to push your whole body back uncomfortably, once again revealing your unflattering heavy angles.

I have two recommendations of how you could place your feet so that you look your best on camera: the first recommendation is to place one foot forward and one foot back, keeping both flat on the ground. The second recommendation is to place ankle over ankle tucked back behind you.

Utilizing either of these foot positions allows you to hold yourself up high, lean forward, and there are simply no distractions to take away from the message of your video.

Final Words

When you are recording a video, it is important to be mindful of your posture so that it does not distract the audience from the idea you are trying to deliver – especially when you are filming while seated. If you utilize my recommendations of sitting up straight as if there aren’t any back or armrests, using your hands while you speak and placing your feet mindfully, you will look confident and comfortable on camera.

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