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  • Writer's pictureYellow Hat Consulting

The Camera is Your Friend


Video conferencing is most likely here to stay in a more significant way than before. It is now acceptable to opt for a video conference instead of in-person meetings.

The issue is what you may have done in person most likely won’t be as compelling online, and you’ll need to adjust your approach to get the same effect you once did. Here are a few tips to practice:

1. Breakdown the fourth wall

Directors and actors know all about this technique. To connect with the audience, you must break through the camera, the fourth wall and make people feel you are talking to them. One key element of this is to look directly into the camera as if you’re looking someone in the eyes. The temptation is to look at the screen, which many of us can tell even though it’s only a few centimeters down.

2. Tell a story instead of presenting

Just as in-person, telling a story is more effective than making a “presentation.” It’s even more critical over video conferences because we are all used to watching videos that are almost all storytelling, such as movies, shows, and social media content. All of these have in common the format of a story, a beginning, a middle, and an end. Presenting in person, we’re used to lectures, but watching a video conference, we’re used to watching a story because it’s video.

3. Visuals count

In video conferencing, visuals count even more, from what you wear to your background. Because this is video, visuals matter because they give us context for the story (see tip 2), and it can either help keep attention or become a distraction. For example, people who are regularly on camera know what you wear is essential. Solid colors and minimal jewelry are best, while patterns and stripes cause your eyes to strain and make the design vibrate. Backgrounds should be simple and tasteful. If it’s too blank, the presentation will feel institutional and give off the vibe of being dry and dull.

4. Adjust your gestures

In a live presentation, big gestures work. In video conferencing, large gestures and quick movements don’t translate well because of the internet’s slight delay. Also, significant gestures tend to go out of camera. Keep your motion small and at a slightly slower than average speed. On the other hand, when listening to others, don’t be still because that comes across as your computer has frozen or you’re not listening. Give visual and audible cues to tell your audience you’re listening.

If you’d like additional information or learn how we can provide presentation training, go to the home page, fill out the short form, and we’ll set up a complimentary personalized assessment.

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