What Is YOUR On Camera Presence?
Ever watch someone on TV or the internet with the sound off and even though you don’t know what they are saying their presence is so captivating, you stop and watch?
I have, it’s actually pretty interesting to watch video without the sound. You’re more focused on a person’s gestures and how they move and their posture.
Those elements combined with your voice and delivery are foundational to your presence.
Presence is the most important of the 3 P’s (purpose, plan and presence) and it builds on knowing your purpose and having a plan.
Presence is the absence of a filter between you and your audience. It’s You authentically showing up as You.
Your on camera presence is your alignment visually, verbally and emotionally.
If you are worried and distracted, it will show up in your eyes and facial muscles. On the other hand, if you are absolutely thrilled to be on video or have you photos taken so you can move your business ahead and help people - that will show too.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Have you ever felt uncomfortable around someone or uneasy while you were watching a presentation and couldn’t figure out why?
You couldn’t really put your finger on it but there was something that you didn't quite trust or something felt a little bit off?
Outwardly there was not reason for you to feel that way, they were saying all the right things - but there was just something about them …
So what’s going on here?
Our 3 Brains
We all have what I like to call the three brains - our head, heart and gut. We make rational decisions with our head, our heart brain is guided by our values and our gut brain is our intuition.
It’s like sonar, it’s constantly pinging our surroundings and sending back messages - it lets us know when something we are seeing or sensing isn’t quite right.
I like to call our third brain our BS meter - it tells us when something is out of alignment. It’s actually a function of our reptilian brain - which is constantly scanning our environment for danger.
Pay attention to your BS meter
We all know that we are our brand and how we show up needs to be in alignment with our brand or we lose credibility. AND people instantly sense when we are out of alignment.
Here’s a quick exercise I want you to try with a friend or colleague to demonstrate how our third brain works.
First sit up in a chair with very good posture and a smile on your face. Now say something very negative about yourself or your business. See how your body wants to adjust to what you are saying? How does the other person receive what you are saying?
It goes the other way too, slouch and say something positive about yourself or business and your body wants to adjust instinctively. Other people cue in on this right away too.
This happens in a matter of nano seconds and we’re not even aware of it, but it’s going on all of the time.
That why it’s so important that you are consciously aware of your presence.
Key Elements of Your Presence
Let’s explore the elements of presence a bit further.
Presence is intentional - it’s our body language, the words we use, and the actions we take consistently.
Presence is verbal, visual and action oriented. It’s the message you deliver, the movements you use and the emotion you radiate.Your presence is based on your values and your actions reflect your values. What that translates into for your brand, is the value you deliver consistently to your audience.
Take a minute and think about how your your values show up in your daily presence. Are you confident, authentic, and credible?
It is essential to be clear about this. It will show up in all areas of your on camera presence from the way you speak to what you wear and how you are perceived.
This does not mean be someone you are not. This means being intentional about aligning your purpose with your presence.
As my friend and marketing thought leader Mike Kim says, you brand is the alignment of- the visuals, the verbal messages and the value you deliver.
This is what viewers perceive as your on camera presence.
Remember in a few posts back we talked about getting clear about your purpose for being on camera?
Knowing your why will make it sooo much easier to make sure your visual, verbal messages are in alignment with your delivery.
Here are a couple of people that do this extremely well:
Michael Hyatt is very accessible, and very credible. His videos are extremely professional, however, they exude warmth and you feel like you are in the room with him. His delivery is friendly and the colors and styles he wears and his backgrounds are warm and support his message. It would be jarring for his viewers to see him in a 3 piece suit in a glass office behind a desk using corporate jargon.
Her photos and videos focus on lifestyle, and she is warm and friendly.
Her wardrobe, body language and background are always in alignment with her brand.
She uses colors and textures extremely well and exudes authority and credibility. Her presence is friendly and while she is often vulnerable, her consistent brand and value she delivers positions her as an authority on visual branding.
How to define your brand presence?
Here’s an easy exercise you can do to get started in defining your own brand presence. I created a a planner for you to download here so you can work through this after you read this post.
How do you describe your brand presence? Enthusiastic, authentic, confident, comfortable, passionate? Are you corporate? Causal? Warm, Friendly?
What colors do you use? Are they in alignment with the message and product you deliver?
A quick story about color: I recently had lunch with a good friend and we were talking about her website colors. She works with people to improve their relationships which is something that requires trust and a willingness to grow. Her current website uses reds and greys, colors that don’t support those two values and she realizes that.
She said something that really caught my attention - she said "red is a color I like, but my website isn’t about what I like, it’s about my clients and their needs." She is launching a new website soon that does incorporate colors that represent trust and growth.
There are lots of color psychology websites where you can learn about the meaning of different colors, here’s a link to a website explaining the psychology behind different colors.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are thinking about your presence and your brand colors.
What values does your brand represent? (i.e. authenticity, authority, adventure, boldness, competence, creativity, faith, growth, honesty, leadership, learning, trustworthiness).
How does the verbal delivery of your message support your brand values?
What emotions you appeal to? What does your body language say about you?
How does your on camera presence reflect your values and value your brand represents?
Alright, was that hard or easy? Have you ever thought of your brand in this way before?
If you haven’t don’t worry, you are not alone.
Most people don’t and it’s why they can’t figure out why they don’t like their headshots or their website or aren’t confident in how they are perceived.
It's hard feel confident on camera when you haven’t spent some time thinking about your presence.
It’s your third brain telling you that something is out of alignment.
Remember, our on camera energy shows up through the words you use, your body language and the emotion you radiate.
There are several things you can do when you are getting prepared to be on camera to ensure your on camera presence is in alignment with your brand.
First make sure your messages and what you are saying support the value behind your brand.
Next, study your visuals and ask yourself if they support your message and your brand. Do the colors and styles are you wearing support that? Is your background appropriate? I’ll go over more about wardrobe on a future post. If you haven’t already downloaded my free guide on preparing to look your best on video, you can get your copy here. Pay attention to how your clothing supports the verbal delivery and values your brand represents and work to align them.
And lastly - what about your non verbal language - your facial expressions, and how you move. If you are nervous and up in your head, your real self will have a hard time shining through. When you show up on camera, your energy needs to be “on.” Think about how quickly you will click away from someone that’s not engaging.
Plan your video appearances around the time of day when your energy levels are at their highest. That’s not the same for all people. I have a good friend who doesn’t start coming to life until late afternoon and by midnight, he’s in his element. Pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day and make note.
A really quick way to check this out is record yourself on your phone and review it. You’ll pick up on your energy levels, gestures and unique body movements and that’s the first step to being intentional about your presence.
This isn’t just for video. This holds true whether you are presenting in the boardroom or on stage. Managing and being mindful about your presence increases your credibility and authority. You can't always control the time you are presenting, so knowing when your energy is the highest will help you be aware of your energy levels before you present.
Listen to episode 8 of Camera Ready With Val Brown for tips on calming your on camera jitters and managing your energy like a pro.
Summing It Up
Presence is intentional - it’s a combination of our body language, the words we use, and the actions we take consistently.
Our presence is based on our values and our actions reflect our values.
Presence is visual, verbal and values combined. It's the message you deliver, the movements you use and the e-motion you radiate.
This does not mean be someone you are not. This means being intentional about aligning your purpose with your on camera presence.
Okay, now we’ve covered the basics of the 3 Ps - purpose, plan and presence. If you missed the previous two posts you can read part 1 here on finding the purpose of your video and part 2 here on creating a plan for your video.
Everything ties back to this framework in one way or another future posts will build on this foundation.
If there is a topic you would like me to cover in a future post, leave it in the comments section below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d really love to help you get comfortable on camera quickly, so so you can start creating videos to grow your business, influence and authority!
Thanks for stopping by and making time to read this post. You can download your brand presence planning guide here.
Remember by being intentional about your presence, you can be confident, authentic and credible in front of the camera, every time.
Val Brown is an Emmy Award winning television producer, story and visual and personal brand consultant, coach, and speaker.
She shows busy professionals and entrepreneurs how to face their fear of being on camera so they can grow their business, influence and authority using video. Val has been featured with Mike Kim on The Brand You Podcast, a show dedicated to helping you build a profitable and iconic personal brand and the Jody Maberry Show focusing on helping you Market, Mobilize, and Master your message.
p.p.s. I’d love to connect on social media and hear your questions and concerns about being in front of the camera.
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