The Composed, Confident Video Star
One big change in the workplace these days is that more and more of us are being asked to present, talk, or work on video. 40 years ago, this was not the case- only the CEOs were asked to go on 60 minutes or some other big prime time TV show and be a part of the official welcoming training video. These days, pretty much anybody can be asked to speak on video. It could be your first day on the job or even before you get the job, you could be asked to give an interview on video. So I want to give you some tips using which you can effectively communicate on video regardless of if it is a job interview, a Skype conference, a Facebook live, or a YouTube video.
For most people, when they see a camera in front of them, their natural instinct is to tense up. I am going to give you the basics of how you can use your body effectively in order to communicate the fact that you are comfortable and confident. To begin with, you want to move your hands when you speak. When most people are staring at a camera to record a video for Skype or Google Hangouts, their whole body freezes. So you need to make a conscious effort to move your hands.
Stepping back even further, the first reaction to having a camera in your face is a frozen, blank look which is a big no for video recording. You have to move your head and face. It will seem awkward staring at a piece of machinery and moving your head but if you do not do this, you will look as if you are a hostage and someone has a gun pressed to the back of your head.
Next, you need to move your body. You don’t need to do extravagant movements but you have to lean forward, backward, and sideways. Also, when you move your hands, your body and face tend to move with them as well.
Something that is very noticeable on camera are your eyes. If you are doing any kind of online communication, you will have the tendency to look up. If you look up on camera, it will seem as if you are making stuff up. So I recommend that you do not look up. Instead, if you need to avert your gaze, look down. Another problem is looking to the sides. Do not do that- just look at the camera, occasionally look down, but most of the time, you should look at the camera as you will come across as more believable and likable.
Here is the part a lot of you want to know: you may see yourself on camera and realize that you do not like the way you look- we all have some level of vanity. Every time you are on a video camera, if you sit back, and relax, you will look heavier. The next worst thing is people with a so-called perfect posture which is commonly seen on news channels. You look stiff, nervous, and uncomfortable which is why you should not focus on perfect posture. Lean forward about 15 degrees into the camera- now you can see a stronger jawline, you can see less of your body, and you seem much more relatable. From the side, it may not look as appealing, but the person you are speaking to will get the best view and angle of you which is what matters the most.
You also want the camera to be a couple of inches above your eyes. So many Skype video interviews and meetings look awful in part because it is simply too low. The solution is very simple: you simply need to get a stack of books and place your camera, iPad, or cell phone on top of it so that it is a couple of inches above your eyes.
A lot of people tend to move their hands when they are seated but when they are standing, they hold their hands in front of them like they need to go to the bathroom or they will hold them behind their back as if they are handcuffed and are being taken off to prison. You can have your hands to the side as you stand but as soon as you start speaking, you need to start moving them.
The other problem a lot of people have when it comes to speaking while standing, is that they may have their feet shoulder width apart and soon enough, they start to move and rock sideways. It makes you seasick and it is also extremely distracting. An easy solution is to have one foot forward and one a little back so that you are unable to rock sideways. If you are nervous, you can rock front and back which is much less noticeable due to a lack of depth perception.
Another one of the major problems with Skype video and the likes is that the audio is really bad. If you are going to be doing repeated conference calls, for just $15, you can buy what is called a lavalier microphone which clips onto your shirt, jacket, dress, or tie, plugs into your computer or phone, and it makes the audio quality so much better. In order to create a neat look, you can also go for an ear piece that can be clipped onto the back of your shirt without the hassle of numerous wires hanging around. It also prevents echos and audio distortions. You will come across as much more effective if people can actually see and hear you clearly.
These are a few of the basic tips using which you can look and sound your best and come across as relaxed and comfortable in front of any camera.