Five Ways to Look More Impressive in a Video Call

Watch the gallery view in any video conference call or watch an inexperienced speaker trying to deliver a video workshop and you will notice that some people manage to look more impressive than others. How do they do it? And how can anyone do it without fancy equipment? There are five things that anyone can do right now:

CAMERA AT EYE LEVEL. Place your camera so that the lens is at the same level as your eyes. Don’t lean over a laptop or phone. If you have a standing desk just raise it up to the right level. Otherwise place your laptop on a pile of boxes or books to bring it to the right height. If you are using your phone you can fix it to a tripod or place it on a shelf, but remember to always use it horizontally, like a TV.

LIGHTING AND BACKGROUND. Before you start the call always check the lighting and background. Try to get as much light in front of you as you can – not behind or above – and keep the background uncluttered. Watch out for reflections on glasses and make sure that there is no movement behind you.

USE HEADSET MICROPHONE. Get better sound quality with less background noise and echo by putting the microphone closer to your mouth. You can use a regular phone headset with an earpiece in one ear and the microphone hanging near your mouth. Just make sure it doesn’t brush against clothes, making a scratching noise.

PUT NOTES CLOSE TO CAMERA. Don't keep looking down at your notes. Print them in a large font and place them on a wall behind the camera or write them on a post it and put it next to the camera. When you are not reading your notes remember to look into the camera lens – not the eyes of participants on the screen.

CALL A FRIEND FIRST. Before you start an important meeting or workshop always do a test session with a friend first to check that everything works. This is absurdly simple but will make you look smarter, more thoughtful and more confident. Never let the real audience discover that you have muted the microphone, forgot to plug it in or set the microphone level wrong.

And don't worry if it feels strange at first. Everyone has to get used to seeing themselves and hearing their own voice the same way others do. 

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching

For more about speaking face-to-face and online or any other aspect of influencing skills ask about lectures, interactive workshops and one-to-one coaching. Contact Andrew Hennigan by email at or phone +46 73 089 44 75.


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