At some point you will be filmed and uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, national television, etc. It could be for a family reunion or Ellen DeGeneres. Whatever the situation, the below tips will help you be prepared to put your best face forward:
Relax your face. This actually starts with the rest of your body. Make sure your hands aren't balled up and your shoulders aren't scrunched. Some people find it helpful to give a little self-massage on the temple and neck. Also, rubbing your palms together to generate warmth and placing them onto your closed eyes is another trick to help relax your face.
Smile. Specifically concentrate on raising your cheekbones. This will naturally give the illusion to the camera that your eyes are sparkling.
Focus on yoga-esque breaths - deep and slow. This breathing technique will help relax your face and body and will help prevent you from talking too fast.
If being interviewed, don't use normal non-verbal cues. For example, nodding your head. This is different than a normal conversation. If you nod, it appears that you are a "know it all" and are impatient for the question. It conveys to the audience that you already know the answer. This is a difficult habit to break, so you may not get it right the first few times you are on camera; but with a little practice, it will become second nature.
When possible, use a good microphone. They are cheap, so go out and buy a good one.
Make sure the light is in your face and not behind you. Natural light is best at dawn and dusk. If you can shoot during these periods, it will make you look your best.
Have good posture. Stand up against a wall and have your shoulders and the top of the back of your head pressed firmly against the wall and slowly walk away from the wall, keeping this posture intact for the camera. Feel free to go back to slouching once the lights go off!
Overemphasize everything. Your words, excitement, volume, gestures, eyes, etc. Don't shout like you are scolding a misbehaving dog (see no. 2 about being relaxed), but you need to project like you are on stage performing a play. The first time I saw Magic Johnson being interviewed, I thought "why is he shouting instead of talking in his normal voice?" Then I found out the first few times I saw myself interviewed - if you are talking in your normal tone, you come across as drab and unexcited. If the bubbly Magic Johnson has to take it up a notch to look excited on film, then we all need to!
Be concise. If you are filming your own video, make it less than two minutes. If you are being interviewed, answer the question with your most powerful statement first. If it appears the interviewer wants more, then you can go to the second and third most powerful points.
Sit on your tails. If you are wearing a suit jacket, tuck the tails of your coat under your behind and place your sitting bones firmly on them. This will give a nice line on your shoulders.
Makeup. If offered HD makeup, accept it. I know this will be tough for guys at first; but if you don't have it, you can look tired, shiny, and old on HD. If you are at home, apply base makeup with a brush - this will dramatically reduce shine and lines. If you are like me and don't have base makeup lying around, use a cotton swab to quickly go over your face to at least remove the oil and dirt.
I'll be giving out a few more video tips in my next column.
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Called a Digital Dale Carnegie, Erik Qualman is the author of best sellers Socialnomics (2009) and Digital Leader (2011). Socialnomics made the #1 Best Sellers List in seven countries and was a finalist for "Book of the Year." Fast Company Magazine lists Qualman as a Top 100 Digital Influencer. He is a frequently requested international speaker and has visited 42 countries. He produced the world's most viewed social media video series and it has been used by NASA to the National Guard.
He has been fortunate to share the stage with Julie Andrews, Al Gore, Tony Hawk, Sarah Palin, Jose Socrates (Prime Minister of Portugal), Alan Mulally, and many others. For the past 17 years Qualman has helped grow the digital capabilities of many companies including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo, Travelzoo, and AT&T. He is also an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School. Qualman holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from The University of Texas. He was Academic All-Big Ten in basketball at Michigan State University and recently gave the commencement address at the University of Texas. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.