How To Zoom Like A Star P2: Executive Presence on Camera

I love checklists. In my previous How to Zoom Like a Star  post I shared tips on best practices around the mechanics of communicating via the many video platforms like Zoom, Skype, Bluejeans, Google Hangouts etc.

This checklist focuses on how you show up on these platforms – the soft skills that determine how effectively you communicate.

Back in the early 2000s, there was a make-over show on the Style Network called “How Do I Look?” – Jeannie Mai from The Real was one of the stylists and Finola Hughes, who starred in one of my favorite soap operas as a kid, Ryan’s Hope, was the host – and it’s a question you always want to ask yourself before you go on camera. These are visual platforms. We are going to see you.

But more important: How do you want to appear?

As in, he looked nervous or she looked in control.

The majority of people I work with want to project some combination of the following:







…which is a riff on my favorite definition of Executive Presence (in charge, confident and capable) created by Jun Medalla in an article in Business Insider.

Feel free to rename your presence any way you want – host, anchor, reporter, teacher, professor, coach – it’s a useful checklist I define as:


Keeping your emotions in check on-camera (and off.) An apt tagline is Gillette’s never let them see you sweat. It’s the hallmark of strong leadership.


With the camera, the content and the other people on the call camera with you.


Trust in oneself. Confidence is not an if/when/then proposition. It exists within you.


Presence + power + warmth per Olivia Fox Cabanne.


Be an authority, not a know-it-all. Admitting you don’t know something is vulnerable i.e. authentic.


Focus and understanding. If you don’t know what the point is, neither will I.


Speak in simple, direct, descriptive English. Avoid jargon, technical terms or “government speak.” Please.


Say more with fewer words. I defer to Albert Einstein on this one: If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough (see clarity above too).


Everything is situational. What is your goal? Who is your audience? How do you communicate with this audience to achiever your goal?

What is “the right look” for you to appear confident, composed, credible, warm, likable and relatable to this audience  via this platform?

It is not one size fits all.

Take a minute to think about how you want to appear on camera. Think on paper and write a list that you can refer back to.

CASE STUDY: John Krasinski #SGN