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An unfortunate (or fortunate?) result of doing online presentations and interviews is having to look at yourself way more than ever before.
Even if you follow my advice to always make eye-contact with the camera when speaking (and not keep checking yourself out 😅), you still want to look your best when all eyes are on you.
And I don’t just mean makeup and hair.
There are some small changes you can make in your setup to look significantly better.
So here’s this week’s actionable tip:
Create a special “setup” for your presentations & interviews
Let’s get one thing out of the way – you don’t need fancy equipment, special lights or mics to look and sound great.
You can work with your current setup and optimize it so you look at least 73% better.
And for those of you who do want to upgrade a bit, I’ll give you suggestions on some light equipment too.
(If the configuration below is a bit too weird or uncomfortable for your regular work, think of it as a special setup that you want to use only for presentations and interviews).
So here’s my setup advice:
🔥 Change your webcam to eye level
I learned this through 7 years of filmmaking:
If you want to make a subject look small, point the camera down at them.
This decreases their authority and makes them look less impressive.
So if you want to look like you have MORE authority, move your laptop down from its stand and point it at eye level, not tilted down.
Check that you’re now looking straight at the camera and not looking up at it.
PS – keeping your laptop too low isn’t too great either – gives us a great angle on the insides of your nose.
|I look small and not very impressive. When you look down at me, you feel more powerful.|
|I just look weird and you’re checking out my nose. Not very flattering.|
|Truly the goldilocks of camera angles.|
🔥 Make natural lighting work for you
Work with natural lighting, not against it.
If you have a window, position yourself to one side of it, not with it directly in front or behind you.
If you own a ring light, learn how to use it right.
The ring light should be positioned on the other side of natural lighting to act as a “filler” light to fill in the shadows.
Take 30 minutes on a Sunday. Experiment with different angles and intensities.
Then, the next time you present, you will know exactly which angles are the most flattering.
🔥 Frame yourself in the center and make the background interesting
Try to improve your “depth of field” – the more space between you and the background, the more you’ll stand out.
But In some cases (like mine!) you need to be up against a wall.
You can still make it interesting. Add a plant or put some pictures on the wall behind you.
These small changes will not only make you look (and feel) better on camera, they will also work towards enhancing your authority when you present.
People will associate you with good visuals, high quality content and having control over your environment.
I’d love to know if you try this out and if you felt like it made a difference!
This week on Speak as a Leader, as we say in French, c’est moi! It’s me! It’s a special minisode where I tell you a bit of my story and how I took the long way round to becoming an executive public speaking coach. Would love for you to check it out.
Till we meet again, speak fearlessly!