How important is your Appearance when doing Television Interviews, or Presentations?Boris Johnson’s hair is getting column inches again – with the usual “Bad Hair Day Boris?” type headlines. This time it’s whether Carrie Symonds should have done a better job trimming the Prime Minister’s hair, after Piers Morgan revealed that Carrie cut his hair during lockdown. But there is a serious point about the importance of visual appearance, whether doing TV interviews, or on Zoom, or giving presentations.Opinions vary on the precise percentage which visuals play in the importance of impact, averaging out at around 70% – but it is clearly very significant. If they are looking at your hair they really aren’t listening to what you have to say.Don’t let your appearance detract from your message.The important thing to remember is that even during lockdown and working from home, you are still working – so you need to look professional, but relaxed.Six top tips for looking good on Zoom
  1. Eyeline. This is most important as it establishes a “connection” with your audience. The way to achieve this via the webcam is to look up at the tiny “pin prick” webcam located at the top of your laptop screen – in a central position. This means that you are not looking down at your notes and not “reading off a script”. If you need bullet points to keep you on message stick them up near the webcam. This will save you looking down and loosing the eyeline with your audience.
  2. Framing the shot. It is now your responsibility to “frame the shot” for TV interviews, but also for meetings or presentations. This simply means looking at yourself on-screen and ensuring that your face is sufficiently in close-up for the audience to see your eyes and that you are positioned centrally on screen, ie not “lop-sided”.
  3. Lighting for remote television interviews. This is your responsibility. Make sure that it is sufficient for the audience to see your face clearly and your eyes, while not being distracting by shining in their faces – when a room has spotlight type lighting. This is really about common sense and just adjusting the position of your laptop in your room, so that light is not shining out from behind you at the faces of your target audience who are watching you.
  4. Sitting position. Being relaxed in a TV interview is important, but it’s difficult to look professional or poised sitting on a sofa with your laptop on your lap. The best way to sit for a media interview is at a desk or table with your laptop rested on the desk.
  5. The best background on a Zoom call. Keep it simple and real. If you feel that your home environment is not suitable, then do one of the calm backgrounds available, but remember that the audience is interested in you more than the background. Finally, no weird objects positioned on a shelf in the background.
  6. Don’t do a Boris Johnson with the hair – Most of us know that it’s really not that hard to use a hair brush.
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