Put your best face forward

Some problems are so easy to fix. And making yourself “virtually presentable” in your brand new work reality is one of them. You don’t even have to get out of your sweatpants to do it!

Usually, I spend my days preparing people for media interviews or keynote speeches — or coaching teams putting on Facebook Live sessions. I help people conceptualize podcasts and share their personal stories. Think about how fortunate I am: I work with really smart people who don’t usually have the opportunity to share their knowledge with a wider audience.

Well, that scope has widened now. As we try to stay productive in this period of social distancing and working from home, more people are being asked to present themselves on camera — for VC meetings, presentations and day-to-day interactions. We must all be camera ready.

There’s an increasing demand now for the session we offer on Effective Remote Communications — which is great, because it means managers want their teams to be efficient with their time.

For those who don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of professional development during this pandemic, here is just a taste. Please consider the following TV tips when getting ready to interact with your colleagues and clients online:

Lighting. Soft lighting is so flattering. Consider buying a ring light. There’s a reason every single YouTuber uses ring lighting — it works wonders.

Framing. Go for the shot the pros use: in the TV news world, it’s called a head-and-shoulders shot. Others call it a medium close-up. Get your armpits in the shot (lift your arms for a quick test to see), and leave a little space over your head. Dead give-away of an amateur: if your CEILING is in the shot, then you’re doing it wrong.

Background. Find a background that is simple, not too busy, and about 3-6 feet behind you. Rule of thumb: better boring than distracting.