Me: ‘Let’s Zoom” You: “Can I turn the camera off”

Updated: Mar 29

Sound familiar? Well then, you probably know what my answer is to anyone wanting to turn their camera off over zoom? A very polite no.

The beauty of zoom, is that we get to see you and remain connected during these challenging times. You just have to get over the fear of truly being seen.

I always used to say, “I feel more comfortable in front of the camera than I do in real life” I don’t really know what I meant by that, I just did. Off camera, I’m a little introverted, judgemental and over analytical. That all disappears after a few glasses of wine though (obviously) but on camera, I just go with the flow. I don’t overthink, I’m just present during that time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the same person, but what changes is that my personality is multiplied and my self awareness actually diminishes when I press record.

But I know that that’s not the same for the majority of people reading this. You are probably terrified of being on camera; You are not alone! Most people hate the thought of now having to do meetings on Zoom and google hangouts and see themselves on video.

But I want to start by saying, ‘On Camera Presence” has nothing to do with what you look like. It’s all about how you feel and come across in the frame. Which is now, more important than ever; deals, decisions, transactions are being made without ever having an in person meeting. We are all remote and your presence still needs to be felt so that you can be the best version of yourself and continue to do business.

  • If you are leading a team, they need to understand your messages.

  • If you are building a business, your consumer needs to fall in love with your concept.

  • If you are pitching an idea, then the investor needs to feel your passion.

This all needs to translate through a screen.

In our “New Normal” words are more precious, body language is multiplied and everyone is a little more self aware. But the beauty of it all, is that everyone is now more present even without actually being "present". Because they are still adjusting to the new concept, so you can capture their attention in an extremely powerful way if you master your own on camera presence now before the novelty wears off.

  • You may be remote, but you have to be present in the way you communicate. The focus of the conversation when you are on camera, is not about you. It’s about your audience, so remember to focus on the listener. What do they need? What solutions are they searching for? How can you best serve them? Just by asking yourself these questions, you will already look engaged and personable on camera.

  • Focus is really important! Mentally and visually. Know where the camera is on your device and keep your eye line there.

  • Be present and be an active listener. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted with notifications on your desktop, or your phone buzzing in the background and avoid vocalizing i.e. hmmms and uh-ha’s (This is a common mistake)

  • Show up the same way you would show up in real life. The way you dress, the energy you bring will be felt so you want to make sure it’s a good representation of you.

Okay, so now that you are comfortable about the thought of being on camera, let's set up your frame and make sure you look and sound just as good as you really are.

  • Framing/Distance/Eyeline

You want to look into your camera (avoid the instinct to look at yourself in a little box on your screen). One of my top tips is to make sure you get the best angle for yourself by positioning your laptop on a pile of books or a box to improve eyeline. You always want to be looking up at the screen as opposed to looking down.

  • Lighting and sound- THESE ARE VERY IMPORTANT

Natural light is a good thing, so use what you have and if you can, always try to sit opposite a window, it gives you the best complexion. When it comes to audio, your laptop microphone should be fine but do make sure you do a test before a big meeting.

And finally, how do you set your scene? Let's be honest everyone is adapting to this new chapter so don't stress, but do try to make sure it's uncluttered and organised so you don't have any background distractions.

Now you are all set, time to join the meeting! Good luck this week. Join me on Tuesday live on Instagram at 8pm GMT where I will ask any video questions and try to cook at the same time: Just multi tasking in the times of crisis.

Stay safe. Stay healthy and stay connected.



London / New York

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