Ten tips to enhance your camera presence

It has become clearer, especially in the last few months, that online learning and teaching play a key role in lifelong learning—yet rarely are we born with camera confidence. So, here are some tips on how to feel comfortable in front of a camera and give professional online presentations.

1. Build trust

Practice in front of your computer/laptop camera.

2. Share your authentic self.

a. Speak with passion.

b. Commit to a positive attitude.

c. Smile into the camera.

d. Have fun.

3. Check your lightning

a. Indirect natural sunlight from the front is best (avoid direct light on your face).

b. If that is not possible, try soft lighting from the front.

c. When the light source comes from the front of you, the camera will correct the exposure and your surroundings will be dark, but your face will look perfect.

4. Improve your sound

a. Make sure you are in a quiet room.

b. Eliminate street noises.

c. Switch off your e-mail notifications.

d. Silence your phones.

e. Make sure your house doorbell is on silent.

5. Set your stage

a. Consciously create your background.

b. Depending on the software, choose one that is supplied.

c. Do not situate yourself in front of a white wall because the camera cannot handle the contrast between your face and the wall. Use a bookshelf or something non-distracting in your background.

d. For best video results, record your lecture or webinar in a wide area, like a living room or a large meeting room.

e. Don’t record with a window behind you or to your side, in order to avoid bleached out (backlit) background or a two-faced effect.

f. Ensure your background does not distract from your appearance.

g. Try to sit about 2 meters away from your background.

6. Dress the part

a. Avoid any striking patterns (no checked or stripped patterns).

b. Try darker colors.

c. Subdued, medium-toned, neutral or pastel solid colors work best (for example: tan, grey, taupe, blue, or navy).

d. Houndstooth or pinstripes and herringbone can cause optical illusions (moire) and look bad on camera.

e. Avoid pure black, and pure white, as well as overly saturated colors, especially oranges and reds, as these colors render poorly in video. (If you do wear a white shirt, be sure to wear a darker jacket over it).

f. Avoid logos and brand labels.

g. If possible, avoid anything that glints, shines or reflects (eg, excessive jewelry). If you need glasses to read or if you wear them all the time, try to get glare-proof glasses.

h. Dress too formally rather than too informally (eg, no short sleeves).

7. Leverage body language

a. Use your hands to express yourself as you would in real life (stay true to your authentic self).

b. Hold your head straight.

c. Straighten your shoulders and bring them back.

d. Smile.

e. Connect with your eyes.

f. Ooze confidence: Find out what postures make you feel confident and comfortable.

8. Focus on your learner

a. Imagine you are having a one-on-one conversation.

b. Make your learner feel safe.

c. Encourage questions and ask for feedback as is appropriate in, for example, a webinar.

d. Express yourself through your words, your tone, and possibly your hand/body language.

e. Imagine yourself speaking to a specific person who is excited and enthusiastic to learn and address that person as if he/she were sitting on the other side of the camera.

f. No need to speak loudly: You are speaking to one person.

9. Get the right technical equipment

a. Camera: Get yourself a good webcam like the Logitech BRIO 4K or the Logitech 920 HD Pro.

b. Microphone: You need great sound. Whenever possible, use an external microphone or headset (check compatibility with your computer/laptop).

10. Be prepared

a. Practice your presentation.

b. If needed, use the notes section in PowerPoint.

c. Alternatively, use self-adhesive notes behind the computer screen/camera, so that you continue focusing on your learner.

Your body language may shape who you are; by Amy Cuddy:

How to look good on camera, according to Tom Ford:

FacultyFocus 2 | 2020

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