Are you a telegenic speaker?
You might feel confident in your ability to speak in front of your peers or senior leaders, but what about when you’re on video? Speaking well on camera is about more than just making sure your hair is just right — here are three strategies to maximize your on-screen impact.
1. Talk to a person, not a camera
While you may be speaking on camera, you don’t want to be speaking at the camera. If you’re speaking to a camera, you might as well be talking to a wall. You won’t look engaged, so your audience won’t be engaged either. Look through the lens, see the smiling face of your child, partner, or good friend, and talk to them instead.
2. Be aware of the lighting
Another strategy for great on-camera speaking is lighting awareness. When you’re in your office on a Skype call, notice where your lights are. Sit so that your face is well illuminated, not shadowed and blurry.
Be thoughtful of your background. Do you want that plant growing out of your head? If you wear glasses, try to be even with your camera to minimize shadows on your face.
Also, avoid wearing white or patterned clothing. Wearing white clothing makes it harder to get a natural skin tone — you might get washed out, look too pale, or look too dark. You just never know. Wearing patterns can cause a “zebra effect” where your clothes start to shimmer on screen. So, stick to solid colors, and keep the focus on what you’re saying, not what you’re wearing.
3. Use rhythm frequently
Finally, when you’re speaking on camera, use more rhythm. As audience attention spans become shorter and shorter, you need to do everything you can to keep them engaged — that’s where rhythm comes in. Just as rhythm is pleasing to our ears when we listen to music, rhythm is also pleasing to our ears when we listen to speakers.
One of the ways you can incorporate more rhythm into your speaking is to use rhythmic builds. Rhythmic builds are sets of phrases that begin or end the same way. For example, “You need rhythm to help your words flow. You need rhythm to enhance your charisma. You need rhythm to engage your audience.” Add a few rhythmic builds to your next presentation, and your message will be much more memorable.
Whether you’re on a teleconference call, a livestream presentation, or even a YouTube video, you need to make sure your delivery matches your ability. By keeping these principles in mind, you’ll have a strong leadership presence in all situations.