Welcome to my first attempt at a video blog… or vlog as some call it.

Most of us are pretty new at this video thing and, even though we may have practiced a lot over the past few months, I’ve noticed that many of us aren’t putting a lot of thought into how we’re presenting ourselves through video. So this first vlog is on how to present yourself on webinars and video conference calls.

I’m not an expert at these things, but I’m also not an expert at public speaking, which you all know we teach in LEAD 24/7. Like public speaking, we know enough to share some basic thoughts that help a lot of leaders. And like public speaking, this is a chance to share yourself with others. Meeting remotely using video is not about your comfort; it’s about how others experience you.

Following are ten items I think are helpful to consider as you work with others virtually.

Ten: Mute yourself. Most of you already know this. Did you know you might be able to use the spacebar to temporarily unmute yourself while speaking?

Nine: When the context is appropriate, speak up and be heard, don’t just sit there as a passive listener. Leadership is about influence, and you can’t often influence through silence in this format.

Eight: Go for higher sound quality (sorry for the scratching mic on the recording! I just ordered a high quality mic.) A good audio set-up will reduce background noise and any echo that might come up.

Seven: In the right context, this way of meeting offers some cool opportunities. With the right group, you can show them your kids, your dog, your yard, your favorite project, or whatever. This is a cool way to be real with others AND the context has to be right. Remember, as a great leader, it should always be about them than it is about you.

Six: Think about your background. This is an opportunity to choose a background that complements you. While it shouldn’t be a distraction, it should communicate positive things about you. If you choose to use a virtual background, make sure it works well and that it sends the best message. Maybe sitting on a beach isn’t the message you want to send right now.

Five: Set your camera at eye level. You don’t want to look down on people or up at them.

Four: Try to keep your eye contact near or at the camera, especially when speaking. It’s much better to put any speaking notes above and beyond the camera instead of on your desk next to your device. Most people don’t want to stare at the top of your head while you speak.

Three: Frame your face and body well. Your face should be at the top of the screen with your body filling the rest. There’s no reason for dead space above your head unless you’re trying to show them something on your ceiling.

Two: Have good posture. Would you do the couch-slouch in a normal meeting? You shouldn’t do it in virtual meeting either. You might even stand, especially if you’re going to be presenting for a significant portion of the meeting.

One: Your dress and grooming still matter (at least from the waist up!). If you’re going to err on one side or the other, choose to overdress a bit.

I hope this is helpful… and I hope the recording demonstrates all of this (except the audio issues, of course).

Be great this week!