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The dreaded camera.
It steals your confidence and instantly turns you into a bumbling, mumbling, fidgety mess. You may have spent years of your career speaking in front of conference rooms, boardrooms or onstage with each audience engaged and eating out of the palm of your hand. But as soon as that camera turns on, you become frozen and ineffective.
If you can relate to this phenomenon, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Virtual calls and video cameras have been known to steal the presence of otherwise amazing speakers and leaders.
Unfortunately, those in-person communication skills that you used to connect with an audience and rock a room don’t necessarily translate to a virtual setting. And gone are the days of strictly in-person communication. Virtual communication is here to stay.
Just as your business innovates and adapts, so must your communication style. If my work in Hollywood taught me anything, it’s the importance and the power of a dynamic camera presence. Working on this presence is not something “nice” to do anymore — it’s a necessity.
You have a beautiful opportunity in front of you. If you can connect and charm on camera, your virtual meetings, marketing videos and webinars will be 10 times more effective at helping you reach your goals.
Related: 7 Essentials for Looking Your Best in Video Conference Calls
6 benefits of improving your on-camera presence
What do you have to gain as an entrepreneur or business leader if you work on improving your on-camera skills?
1. Increase your confidence
Being a leader means being someone people are comfortable following. Confidence is a calmness and stillness inside yourself that permeates the room. Being confident means being the person others look to for answers, guidance and inspiration. The more confident you are in front of a camera, the easier it will be to connect and deliver a powerful message.
2. Enhance your credibility
Leadership scholars James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of the best-selling classic “The Leadership Challenge,” have spent decades surveying people from around the world on the characteristics of admired leaders. Responses to these surveys have been surprisingly similar across all nations.
Honesty and credibility are always the top characteristics listed in effective leaders. This speaks to the fact that leaders need to be believed in order to be followed.
Your on-camera presence may be the only opportunity that clients or employees have to see you in this digital and hybrid age. As a subject matter expert, entrepreneur or business leader, you may be the go-to person in your industry.
Nervousness or a lack of camera presence can negatively impact your credibility. People may question whether you’re trustworthy or know what you’re talking about. A powerful camera presence, on the other hand, enhances your credibility.
The bottom line is: Confidence makes people want to listen to your message — credibility makes them believe it.
Related: 4 Tips to Get Your Brand Communicating Via Video
3. Connect with your team
Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, we now live in a global marketplace where employees can work from anywhere. That’s the good news for many. But the bad news is, according to Pew Research, 65% of workers (who are now teleworking all or most of the time) say they feel less connected with their coworkers. And this employee disconnect is the biggest driver of low retention rates, which could cost U.S. companies up to $406 billion a year.
The bottom line is that employees who do not feel connected to their colleagues or management have a higher risk of turnover, lower productivity and a lower quality of work.
It is difficult to connect with your team in Zoom calls or webinars if you are awkward on camera. Having an engaging camera presence can help your team to connect with you when you are not face-to-face. You can lead by example and show your team that connections can happen on camera. Whether it is making eye contact, keeping open body language, or using gestures so that people actually feel that you are there, being connected as a leader will help employee morale, productivity and retention rates.
Related: 4 Simple Psychology Hacks That Will Help You Better Connect with People Over Zoom
4. Increased engagement
When someone tunes you out, they tune out your call to action (CTA), no matter what it concerns. You may have important information to share with your customers, inspiration to share with your team or critical data to share with your industry. If you’re stiff and boring on camera, your messaging will get lost.
People often assume that engagement tools alone can solve this dilemma when in reality, these tools must be combined with your own powerful presence and energy.
How you say something is even more important than what you say. Delivery is one of the most important modules of communication. Those who have become skilled on camera manage to keep their audience engaged from start to finish.
5. Become a thought leader
Perhaps you want to become a thought leader in your industry. Video is an essential tool. Whether you wish to create videos for social media or accept opportunities to speak on webinars, panels and give keynote speeches, you’ll need to be comfortable on-camera to get buy-in. If you are working on a thought leadership plan, enhancing your speaking presence should become part of your preparation.
Related: 10 Tips on How to Become a Thought Leader
6. Sell more
Your website may be great, but text on a static page will never have the sales power of a video. Here are some key insights from a recent Biteable Marketing Survey:
- 61% of marketers see video as a “very important or extremely important” part of their marketing strategy.
- 30% of marketers see video as a more important part of their strategy than their website.
- 74% of marketers say video has a better return on investment than static imagery.
- 68% of marketers say video has a better return on investment than Google Ads.
If you are not marketing or selling with video, you are missing a big opportunity. Watching you tell a story about the reason you started your business or sharing a powerful case study of a customer whose life was changed after trying your product can help you sell more. It gives you a chance to make an emotional connection in a way that words often cannot. Create at least one powerful video for your company and use it to attract social media followers, visitors to your website and loyal customers who will bring 10 other customers.
Related: Research Says This Type of Video Closes More B2B Sales
Now that you know the benefits of skyrocketing your video presence, it’s time to get to work. Create a plan for improvement, arrange a time to practice, set up a video camera and go for it! The more opportunities you have to be on camera, the more comfortable you will feel.