How to Create a Great First Impression in Your Video Presentations


It’s vital to manage your first impressions, whether you are doing video presentations for your personal brand or business brand.

Initially, your viewer may have no idea who you are or what you do. Or they may view your video outside of your web platform or out of context. First-time viewers can be less forgiving and simply judge you by what they see.

Remember your viewer will experience you at an intimate distance

Some Harvard Findings!

As I have mentioned in previous articles, a study by Harvard stated that: “Within a few seconds people have judged your social and economic level, your level of education, and even your level of success. Within minutes, they’ve also decided your level of intelligence, trustworthiness, competence, friendliness, and confidence”.

Yikes! You only get one shot at making a positive first impression (that’s in the flesh). Imagine how that translates to your business video, where your viewer can pause, replay or go full screen on your presentation and scrutinize you even more intensely? Remember, the viewer of your video presentation is only an arm’s length away from you on their viewing screen. This is an intimate distance, and very different compared to if you were presenting to a live audience, or even if you were meeting face to face.

You only get one shot at making a positive first impression

I always stress to my clients that the key to creating compelling online video presentations is not merely to “be yourself” – rather it is to be your “best self.”

Here are my Top Tips for Creating a Great First Impression on Video:

  • Check your background. Your background setting must be congruent with how you want your brand to be perceived. Does it add to your brand or does it distract? Could you incorporate some subtle form of product placement in the background?
  • Good lighting is essential. Don’t have your back to the window. Make sure you are facing your light source. Good camera lighting is your “friend” on camera. Done well, it can make you look even better than you do in the flesh
  • Do you look the part? Is your wardrobe “on brand” and congruent with your key messages? Make sure you wear what your target market customer would expect you to be wearing if they were to do business with you

Do You Look the Part?

  • Modify your body language to cater for confines of the video frame. On screen everything is magnified, so “stage presenting” or even normal everyday body movement will look excessive on screen, and can upstage you and your delivery
  • Watch out for random body movements. Often when we are excited, nervous, or anxious we can have a tendency to shift our body weight, flap our arms and hands, or bob around which can be highly distracting to your viewer. Excessive movement on camera will upstage you every time – so make sure that any on-camera movement is a specific action (Side note: actors hack-trick: the quickest way to upstage your screen partner and steal the scene  is to move around while they speak) 
  • Write out and learn your script prior to filming. You want to have your brain fully focused on your performance – i.e. on the delivery of your message, not trying to remember what to say next (which can make you look unsure of yourself and ‘zoned-out’ on-screen). Smack-down! If you are thinking of using an Autocue – well don’t! Have some respect for your audience.  If you want them to stay engaged while watching you on a screen while you deliver your video presentation – you need to take the time to learn your content!
  • A warm genuine smile, with positive and engaging eye-contact, is essential on video.

Practice delivering your presentation to the camera (not to the mirror, or to a person in the room – that technique will fail you). The video camera will not give you any feedback like a human being does – you need to get used to receiving no feedback if you want to come across well on-screen. Several rehearsals prior to recording will help reduce speech “flubs”, as well as warm up vocals and your face and jaw (notorious places for tension) note: tension will always show on screen.

  • To help with tension, try to make yourself laugh prior to filming. Laughing will relax and emotionally free you up. It will also open your airways and put you in a great mood!

Remember you are the star. Be your “best self”. Be genuine, warm, engaging and really focus on the value that you are delivering to your viewer. Smile (it’s attractive), and most of all have HEAPS OF FUN and you will look good on video!



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