Show Up As Your Powerful Authentic Self Online

Show Up As Your Powerful Authentic Self Online 28th April 2020Leave a comment

Have you got a handle on your Zoom meetings now?

I was an early adopter with Zoom, so I know it well.  Here are a few easy tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to help you!

Let’s talk about how to show up as your powerful, authentic self online!

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash


Of all the things you can do to make yourself look and feel good on-camera, lighting is the most important.

That pretty little desktop lamp you love is probably not going to do it.  It’ll look like a hot spot on one part of your face and create dark shadows on the other.  This is where my film-making degree comes in handy!

  1. Natural Light.  Try to set up your desk facing the windows so you have natural light shining on you, rather than back-lighting you.  If this is impossible, like it is for me, try a privacy screen to filter the light coming in from the windows behind you.  I have one that folds in three parts, so I can stash it away at the end of the day.  Bonus: it doesn’t matter what’s behind you!
  2. Ring Light.  Most people will recommend a ring-light for you, which look fabulous, but have a hefty price tag.  If you are working from home and can expense this, go for it.
  3. Floor Lamp.  If you’re trying to be frugal or boot-strapping it, a floor lamp may be a better bet.  Shine the light straight into your face as much a possible with fill light from your overhead room lights.  It will give a nice wash of light across your face with some interesting shadow-play.  I use a floor lamp myself and it works just fine!


Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash


Setting yourself up for video-conferencing doesn’t need to be complicated.  However, your camera position is one of the more important pieces of the puzzle.

  1. Point the camera down.  Whether you’re using a webcam or your laptop camera, make sure the camera is pointing down, rather than up, for the best angle on your face.  I have a desk set-up so that my laptop is actually eye-level (better ergonomics) PLUS I use a webcam for higher resolution.
  2. Compose your shot.  Just like you would with a portrait, make sure your face and body are in the middle of the shot.  Sometimes, I have to point my screen down a little to make sure I’m in the right place.  Otherwise, it’s distracting and feels strange for the viewer (see SNL skit).
  3. Add Interest.  Add some depth-of-focus items behind you like a bookshelf, wall with photos or privacy screen.  My privacy screen has a scroll design that people often comment upon — it’s pretty!
Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

Show Up As Your Best Self

Depending on who you’re meeting with — just like in real life — you need to show up accordingly!

  1. Be Appropriate.  For a friendly meeting with colleagues, you probably don’t need to do your hair and wear a suit or dress.  However, if you’re the speaker on a webinar, you definitely do.
  2. Look Good; Feel Good.  When you’re going to be on-camera all day, you want to feel ready.  It’s good for your mental health to get up, shower and get dressed anyway, so give yourself the time to put in that effort.  For extra panache, put on a jacket.  Even paired with a tee, it will define your shoulders and face in a flattering way.
  3. Eyebrows.  If you do nothing else to be on-camera, pay attention to your eyebrows!  They are 75% of your facial expression.  If you’re not grooming them, now might be a good time to start.  If you don’t have an eyebrow kit or this makes you nervous, you can use a brown eye-shadow to fill them in, then contour them with a Q-tip!  I learned this tip from Carla Pressley, in our recent virtual coffee!  Personally, I also do full make-up when I’m going to be on-camera.

Most Important?  Stay safe and stay well.  Thanks to our front-line workers.  They are our s/heroes right now!

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