As speakers, we’ve spent years perfecting and honing our craft on the stage. Now that events have moved to the virtual world, we have to learn how to be charismatic on camera. What works on the stage doesn’t necessarily translate well when it’s you alone talking into your computer.
I’ll share with you a few insider secrets I learned going from being homeless to one of the fastest-growing live streaming influencers. This is a small portion of my Charisma On Demand: Master Your On-Camera Speaking Skills workshop.
Without further ado, here are the secrets on how to be charismatic on camera.
The 20% Rule
There is an old adage that the camera adds 10 lbs, well the camera also reduces the energy you project by roughly 20%. You may have noticed that when you watch yourself on camera you are just absolutely bored. What you thought was engaging seems dull and monotonous.
There is a solution, you have to take your energy, add about 20% more, then project it through the camera.
Imagine your best friend or favorite audience member is sitting about 6 feet away. You will naturally pick up your energy to meet this imaginary friend.
Virtual Eye Contact
Eye contact is one powerful tool. We’ve gone to toastmasters and worked on looking people in the eye and making that connection. You can see the twinkle in the eyes of your audience as they sink into your stories, pulling them to the edge of their seats.
Many speakers feel this powerful tool is lost when speaking on a Zoom call, but it doesn’t have to be.
The secret to virtual eye contact is looking at the camera and not your own face. The closer the camera is to your face, the more important it is to stare at that little camera aperture on your phone or laptop.
And while you won’t be able to see the audience, you can trust that they are invested in what you are saying.
This small tip will instantly make you more charismatic on camera.
Mastering Body Language
Dr. Mehrabian in the 1960s did a famous study that showcased 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal. That same study further articulated that 55% of nonverbal communication was body language.
When we are speaking on a Zoom call, all that others can see is our face and head and shoulders. That means we lose much of that 55% of body language.
Therefore, to master being charismatic on camera, we have to compensate.
Just as the superhero Daredevil lost his sight and became highly attuned with his other senses; we too have to increase our other communication tools.
There are two body language tools we can use to communicate on camera with charisma. You can invoke your inner Italian and talk with your hands, and you can master the microexpressions of the face.
Microexpressions are facial expressions that occur within a fraction of a second. This involuntary emotional leakage exposes a person’s true emotions, according to Paul Ekman. This idea was popularized by the hit T.V show, Lie To Me.
As we are speaking, virtual speakers are focused on remembering what to say, or making sure their slides are working smoothly. We are, in our own heads, juggling a dozen things at once.
When this happens we have brief flashes of emotions that are incongruent with what we are trying to express. A quick thought of “Hell, my neighbors are having a screaming match… I hope the audience can’t hear that” will cause a microexpression to flash across our face.
It happens. But microexpressions can also be positive and enhance your messaging. The secret to communicating with your positive microexpressions is to sink into the emotions you are trying to communicate.
Get out of your head and come down to your heart.
When your words and heart speak in congruence your microexpressions will too.
With a little practice, you can master your on-camera speaking skills and be charismatic on demand. But let me know, are there other tips, techniques, or strategies you use to be more charismatic on camera?