Three years ago, I organized an online web conference. At the request of an organization, I interviewed three of their Subject Matter Experts to get background information for a presentation.
The following photo is a re-creation of what I saw in this online meeting:
Uh-huh. That’s right.
For almost the entire interview, I stared at a close up of one man’s ear. After a few minutes, I told him he might want to adjust his camera.
“Oh, sorry,” he said. I then got an extreme close up of what appeared to be his hairline.
“Is that your neck?”
“I think I preferred your ear.”
For the next hour, we all looked at his ear.
My interview subject never saw his audience. He never looked at the camera. We could see his ear twitch a bit as he talked, but that was about it.
Let me be clear. The expert with the wiggly ear?
He’s brilliant in his field. He had wonderful information to share. And he’s also a delightful person.
He simply didn’t know anything about presenting on camera. It was his first time, and he was too intimidated to tell anybody he didn’t know what he was doing.
He thought he could fake it. And in a way, he was right.
We were a friendly group. We didn’t judge our colleague too harshly.
We were in a time crunch, so we smiled and went on with the meeting. And after all, we all knew the guy was a genius.
But I also know he’s doing much better now. Post-meeting, he took some good-natured ribbing and sought help.
He learned more about delivering online presentations. And of course, he continues to gain valuable experience.
There are plenty of tips available to help you improve your own online video performance. Here are six of my favorites: they’re all available through LinkedIn Learning:
1. Successful video conferencing tips
2. Developing your on-camera presence
3. Setting up your home or office filming environment
6. Tips for on-camera body language and posture
This sort of specific information and advice can help get you going in the right direction with regard to your next on-camera presentation. Think you don’t need help? That it’s no big deal?
Your audience was raised on TV or online. We have expectations for how people look and perform on a screen. You may be warm and wonderful in person – but how do you come across on camera?
We were all kind to “ear guy” — but you don’t always have the luxury of being in front of an audience who loves and accepts you no matter what crazy thing you do. You’ll want to learn and practice some of the basics before you present to employers, clients, key stakeholders, and the public.
You probably don’t think of yourself as a film star. But if you’re asked to present on camera, guess what?
You’re a video star now, my friend. It may be a low budget production from your home office, but who knows? One low budget presentation could have enormous business stakes…or at least lead to previously unheard of opportunities. (It happened to me.)
Prepare yourself. We’re all video stars now.
If it hasn’t happened to you already… it’s going to happen soon. We’ll all be presenting more on camera in the future.
See you online!
Laura Bergells is a writer, teacher, and a LinkedIn Learning course author. Check out Establishing Credibility as a Speaker. Crisis Communication and Public Speaking.