Remote control: 5 expert tips for looking your best in a video conference or media interview

Remote working means we’re living our lives through a lockdown lens, but no one alas seems quite ready for their close up. Jamie Wood, former Sky News Executive Producer and now Sticky’s communications strategist, advises.

Every video chat system lets you preview what you look like before joining a conversation, so take a few mins beforehand to set up and follow these tips on how to look your remote best…

Look them in the eye

Make sure your camera is at eye level. Grab some books, boxes, anything – very few people look good being filmed from underneath (chins!) and no one wants to see up your nose.

See the light

Ideally sit facing a window with natural light falling on your face from behind the camera. If not, use a small desk light that you can adjust. Don’t sit in front of a window, you’ll look like you’re in police protection and can’t reveal your new identity.

Do a background check

You know those passport booth photos? Yeah, that’s how you look when you sit close to a wall. Instead, get some depth behind you and check there’s no house plant growing out of your head. Bookshelves are popular if you want to appear clever, but always check which books are visible… your 50 Shades collection may not be ideal.

Remember Big Brother is always watching

Golden rule of television – never say or do anything near a camera that you wouldn’t want broadcast to millions. As boring as meetings might be, remember you’re always on camera. If you’re doing a media interview this is the rule not to break – always look at the camera whether you’re listening or talking. You don’t want to look off screen, viewers will think you look shifty or are looking at notes and don’t know your subject.

Avoid dairy, fashion faux pas and fidgeting

Wear something smart for your media interview or business meeting. Avoid busy patterns or anything with a slogan (unless that’s the point). Plant your feet on the floor, sit upright and don’t fidget around – again you’ll look like you’ve got something to hide. Have a glass of water before you speak and try to avoid dairy, it’ll clog up your throat. Oh, and avoid wearing anything off the shoulder, it’ll look like you haven’t got any clothes on.

Finally, if your five year-old bursts in for an unscheduled cameo, just roll with it. Such appearances are virtually de rigueur on breakfast TV these days…

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