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Presenting Yourself Online

With the rise of online interviews, it's important to know how to stand out and make a lasting impression. 

Here are some expert tips and tricks that can help you excel in these virtual settings.

At Ten2Two we ran an entertaining and helpful webinar with our guest presenter Paul Ryan. Paul is an actor, and an expert on presentation skills. He ran through his top tips on presenting yourself online for maximum impact.

We compiled a helpful list of FAQs about presenting yourself online which also makes for useful reading. 

Watch our webinar ‘Presenting yourself online for maximum impact’:


Here’s what a few of our attendees thought of this webinar:

“Very well presented, great speaker, loads of new tips.”

“Great presentation - engaging, useful content, and didn't waste any time.”

“I found it very helpful, I hadn't realised the common mistakes I was making on screen“

“Some helpful and useful tips; Paul Ryan had a really clear, focused and particularly energetic and fun way of presenting which made it a memorable webinar for me.“

“Really informative, well presented and timely.”

“Webinar was great - very engaging, presenter was excellent and I came away with useful tips.”

“I feel I am ready for an interview now.”

“Excellent and entertaining.”



Deborah O’Sullivan (00:55):

Welcome everybody. Thank you so much for joining us today. Um, this is a brand new webinar we've got, which is all about presenting yourself online with impact. Um, I'm Deborah O’Sullivan, those of you who don't know me, I'm Managing Director at Ten2Two. I'll be your host tonight and we're absolutely delighted to be joined by Paul Ryan, who is an actor, an executive coach, a presentation skills trainer. So he's gonna have loads and loads of fantastic information for us tonight, which, um, I hope you'll all benefit from.

Deborah O’Sullivan (02:06):

So we have 30 minutes, um, for the presentation and we are allowing 10 minutes after that for question and answers. Now we might not get around to everything, um, in terms of the Q and A, so, um, just please be reassured if we don't answer your question, we will follow up, um, with a handout by email, um, which will cover off any questions that we don't get time to answer tonight. Now, if you have a question, um, copy in the question and answer box at the bottom of your screen, um, at any time. I'll keep an eye on those as we go through. And as I say, we'll try and get to as many as we possibly can. Um, the webinar is being recorded so you don't need to write loads and loads of notes. Um, it takes a while to process, but it should be available on YouTube by Friday. So I think that's everything. I can still see people who joining, but I will crack on. So without further ado, I'd like to hand over to Paul Ryan. Welcome Paul.

Paul Ryan (03:04):

Thanks very much indeed, Deborah. How lovely to be with you all this evening. Now, um, normally when I run this workshop I got maybe eight or 10 people on the other side of wherever it is they're streaming from. And it means that I have an open conversation with everybody that's with me. Now tonight, we, we are so overwhelmed by the number of people that have joined us, we won't be able to do that. So the person I'm gonna be asking questions of, actually, I hope you don't mind, Deborah is gonna be you. Is that all right?

Deborah O’Sullivan (03:33):

It's fine. <laugh>

Paul Ryan (03:35):

Great. So listen, let me just grab some glasses and I'm gonna share my screen. Um, here's an interesting thought. You know, Shakespeare once said “All the world's a stage.” Well, nowadays, he'd be better off saying all the world's a TV studio because whether we like it or not, guess what, uh, Zoom is here to stay. There's something, there's an incredible fact. Uh, I think in the November just before, uh, COVID struck, Zoom had 10 million global users. Six months later it had 300 million. I mean, it, it's utterly extraordinary how uh, the online conversation platform is now such an integral part of our everyday working lives. And of course, it's a really good time to take stock and see how are we doing? Because right back then, you know what we thought our businesses were gonna fall apart. We didn't know what was gonna happen from day to day.

Paul Ryan (04:34):

And in the middle of all that chaos there was, there was this incredible business, uh, what's the word I'm looking for? Um, it's a bit of kit really called the online conversation space, the video platform. And it had been largely ignored up until Covid and suddenly basically it saved everyone's bacon. And at that stage we were all really using goodwill and guesswork and everybody was in the same boat. We didn't know how to work it, we didn't know what to do. We were sitting there in our pajamas or with really funny backgrounds and all that sort of stuff. It was really all the fun of the fair and we're all in it together. Well, here's the thing, two and a half years later, it's a really good time to take stock of how you can make yourself stand head and shoulders above most of the people who are using Zoom, WebEx, Teams, all those video conferencing platforms because you know what?

Paul Ryan (05:28):

It takes a 50th of a second to create a first impression. And that's the same online as it is in life. And I know a lot of the people for Ten2Two are gonna be doing interviews online. So we really do need to start thinking about how to create a brilliant first impression in the online conversation space. Now, something that I'm gonna be doing, which I want you to do, for those people who will be giving presentations online, I want you to think about how often I'm coming in and out of my slides. Quite often. I don't like to sit in my slides, but I'm gonna tell you now with the two points on this slide, what we are gonna do tonight is we're gonna cover off two areas. We're gonna talk about setting the scene. That's to say your organized space for when you stream, and then empowering your online presence.

Paul Ryan (06:18):

Now the really observant amongst you can see at the bottom of that slide something that says, but do we need to know any of this? Well, my contention is that we really do look, you know, we can't just, there's something cheeky in a way about what's happened in that if we are working from home, suddenly, uh, we've gotta turn a little part of our house into a TV studio. Well, like it or not, it's not a bad idea to do it. Um, so we're gonna look at how to do that. I teach courses, um, well about two a week from my studio space here. And out of the eight people that come on screen, I would say seven out of eight, mostly eight out of eight have no real idea about how they're coming across on camera. So there is a real need to do it.

Paul Ryan (07:09):

Um, isn't, it's just worth saying as well. Let me share screen with you one more time because, um, I wanna show you what I ended up doing during lockdown was I got the bounce back loan because it was getting so much work in teaching people how to speak well online that I decided to turn my garage - look – into a really posh streaming studio, how marvelous. And that's where I'm working from today. By the way, just quickly going back to that last slide, um, does anyone wanna buy a bike? <laugh>? I'm only of course kidding. We'll come back to that slide in just a moment. So here it is. You can see that I've got pretty plain background, right? I've got some lights going on here. It is my job to make sure that I look really empowered on screen. I've gotta make myself ( funny thought).

Paul Ryan (07:54):

We've got to turn ourselves into television presenters in a way when we're in the online space. So what I'm gonna do now, Deborah, I'm gonna ask you to give me your ideas on the slide that I just flashed up there for a moment. What do you think is good and not so good about the people appearing on screen in just a moment? Now I do wanna preface this by saying these photographs were taken perhaps four months into the pandemic. I took them on my phone of people who were being interviewed on news night. So these people were broadcasting from their homes to the nation, alright? And this was the online image that was broadcast to the whole country. So let's have a quick look. Let's have a quick consider. Debbie, uh, sorry, Debs, look at this gentleman here. You can see my cursor, can't you? Yes, I can. So what's good and what's not so good about this video image, do you think?

Deborah O’Sullivan (08:52):

I mean, the first thing that strikes me is his background. Um, it's really distracting.

Paul Ryan (08:58):

Yeah. Yes. It's a very distracting, chaotic background. I agree.

Deborah O’Sullivan (09:04):

And he looks a bit frightened, like he's not looking at the camera.

Paul Ryan (09:09):

Yes. Ah, that's a really good observation. He's not looking at the camera. Absolutely. Any gimme gimme anything else? If not, I'll, I'll throw in a few more observations.

Deborah O’Sullivan (09:20):

I dunno, we're allowed to comment on dress.

Paul Ryan (09:22):

Yeah, go on. What you gotta say?

Deborah O’Sullivan (09:24):

Well, I just think the tie is probably a little bit distracting too. If, if you're concentrating on his face, then he's

Paul Ryan (09:30):

Absolutely, but there's something else about his face, which is we can't see the top of his head. So he's, he's, he's, he's doing that. Do you know what I mean? Now we need to be centered in the screen. I'll go through how we can repair all these things, but a really big point. Yes. He's not looking at the screen, chaotic background. Alright. And there's something else as well. I'm sure you can see it. His image is quite blurred, which I haven't picked up on before. But somebody in one of my workshops said, why is this screen blurred? And I thought, the only thing I can think of because cameras on laptops are pretty good, the only thing I can think of was that when he lifted it up, he smudged the camera. So a simple tip by the way, is to simply make sure you wipe your camera before you start streaming. Now Deborah, what about the lady on the right of the screen? What about her? What's good? What's not so good?

Deborah O’Sullivan (10:20):

So she's looking at the camera, just picking up on your last point. Um, she's very close to the screen. Um, it's all

Paul Ryan (10:28):


Deborah O’Sullivan (10:29):

It's all head, isn't

Paul Ryan (10:30):


Deborah O’Sullivan (10:30):

Yeah. Um, and she's quite shadowy, I would say on her face.

Paul Ryan (10:36):

Yes, it's an interesting one because you know, I think her lighting's pretty good, but it is down-lighting so there are a lot of shadows I would say as well if she'd just taken her laptop and switched it to the right, she'd have been properly framed without us having to look at her, her rather cheek little, uh, lighting switch there. Uh, she'd have been beautifully framed. I'm suddenly realizing we are sitting in this slide for quite a long time. So what about the gentleman in bottom left of your screen, Deborah?

Deborah O’Sullivan (11:04):

Um, so his dress looks very smart, but he's off center

Paul Ryan (11:10):

To me. Yeah, he's off center, absolutely. He's off center. He's not looking at the camera. And the other thing that he's doing is he's leaning on his desk. So we'll talk about that in a minute and very briefly, tell me about the lady bottom right, what's good, what's not so good?

Deborah O’Sullivan (11:23):

Um, she's looking at the camera, but she's very dark.

Paul Ryan (11:26):

She is? Yeah, she's in silhouette. Now what she's got there, I'll come out of the, I'll come out of the slide. Just take a look at that lady there, bottom right. What she's got there is a fantastic opportunity to light her face with natural light, but she's made the mistake of sitting in front of her window. So she's silhouetted. She actually was, um, looking at the camera. So that was good. But broadly speaking, you know, she could have helped herself a lot more. Now, one of the things we need to make sure we don't do is lean. How many times do you see people leaning when they're on a zoom call? Try not to do this. I'll tell you about that later. Oh, and somebody said to me recently, but that's, those photographs are really old. Uh, this, this sort of thing doesn't happen now people are much more savvy.

Paul Ryan (12:13):

Well my answer to that is really cuz I took this photograph of somebody on Newsnight only the, uh, other week. And I mean, look! Let me talk you through what's going on here. Not looking at the camera hunched over the camera, far too close. He's leaning in. Look at the chaos of his background and look at all that ceiling that we can see. We can see more of his roof than we can of him. So what I'd suggest is that, um, we organize our background, okay? And this is dead, dead simple. There are a number of things that we can do to make sure we are coming across well. Okay? Now the first thing is you might notice that, um, when I speak, you can see my hands. Yeah, there's the Mehrabian rule. Hey, let me do something flash here. Hello everybody. The Mehrabian rule says, and you can agree with this or not, it's a more, uh, contentious discussion to have on another day.

Paul Ryan (13:11):

But that this is how we communicate. 7% words, 38% tone of voice. Lemme just switch my light around 38% tone of voice, 55% body language. And that is a lot of talk to lose if when you are online, people can't see your hands. So here's the thing and let me just show you, get the other camera here for you. Now, I am sitting four foot from my camera, okay? And I'll show this to you. Four foot from my camera. Hello. My camera's in there. I have nothing to lean on apart from anything else. So I'm never gonna lean on anything except I might be tempted to lean on the arms of my chair. Certainly if you're giving a presentation, I'd advise you not to do that. But four foot from the camera. Now the other thing is that the camera is at eye level. Eye level.

Paul Ryan (14:05):

This is really important. This stops you. Um, you know, doing typical nostril cam where people can see up your nose and see the roof of your house and the cobwebs in the corner of the ceiling. We don't want any of that. We want the camera to be at eye level. And you can organize this really simply. Look, you don't have to spend a huge amount of money, any box. Stick your laptop on a box, okay? And make sure four foot from the screen camera at eye level. Now the next thing, um, I want you to think about your background. Again, like I said, it's a bit cheeky, isn't it? Hang on a minute. All of a sudden my home is supposed to be my workplace and I've gotta spend time and effort in making it look really good. Well, yeah, you have really, if you want to come across well on screen, spend a few minutes making a few simple decisions around what's behind you.

Paul Ryan (14:59):

Now you can use, as Deborah's got tonight, a wonderful virtual background. I think they work really well. I also think what works fantastically well sometimes is the blurred background option that you have on Zoom. As long as you are well lit, it can look really, really good. If you are in a situation where, well, it's, it's, it's your library. Just organize things and place yourself centrally, uh, and position yourself in the middle of a couple of things behind you so that you are nicely positioned and centered between things that are gonna help focus the viewer on you. Alright, I think that's about it for now. We've talked about background, we've talked about four foot from the camera. We've talked about no leaning. Excuse me, I should have turned off my camera alerts there. Alright, good. So as you can see, this is pretty easy.

Paul Ryan (15:52):

The next thing to remember is if you've got natural light, use natural light. Of course tonight we are, uh, it's nighttime. Lemme go back to my other camera, but look at the lights I've got going on here. Look at that. That's to go on my face. That's to go on my face. And over there, well you'll see what that's for in a minute. But the point is, light is really important. There's something interesting - if people can see you, yes, they're more likely to want to hear you. It's as simple as that. Now the thing about being four foot from the camera, like I said, is it's gonna help your audience see more of you. Body language. I talked about this whole notion of 55% body language. We communicate how we're feeling and our energies and we enunciate and underpin what we're saying by our body language. So let's help our audience by not being like that lady. Yeah, with the bad light. Uh, and the switch on her left earhole, don't be just a talking head four foot from the camera. Try ladies and gentlemen to be seen from your midriff upwards. Okay? That would be my suggestion, alright? Because the more your audience can see of you, the more they have a chance of understanding you. Alright, now then here we go.

Deborah O’Sullivan (17:08):

Paul, I’ve got a quick question here.

Paul Ryan (17:09):

There we go.

Deborah O’Sullivan (17:10):

Something about, do I need all this high-tech equipment?

Paul Ryan (17:15):

No, you don't need any. I mean really, if as long as you've got, you could do this on a laptop, on a desktop, on a, on an iPhone. Um, as long as you're well lit and the camera is still. Now this is a really important point. If, if you're working from a phone, great, Zoom works brilliantly on a phone. My one concern is when people don't have the phone static or they're holding the phone, okay, cuz this is, this is not gonna help you come across well. I mean, my goodness, if you're giving a presentation, forget it. I mean it's just not gonna work. But if you're having an interview and you are wandering around holding the phone, it's not the best. So you don't need high tech, but you do need to make sensible suggestions. All this stuff I've got here is to support me in my business.

Paul Ryan (18:06):

Put your laptop on a cheap old box in the kitchen with light on your face and you are doing everything you can to make yourself look really good. However, there's something else. 55% body language, right? How many times do you see people, we talked about this already, but leaning in like this or leaning in like this or looking like this when they're doing the zoom meeting? All the time. We've gotta make decisions so that in that first moment we look really good. Oh by the way, there's just one more point I want to make about position and cameras. Can you see I don't have a lot of room above my head? Yes. This is to help me, uh, take control of the on-screen image that I'm projecting. Look what happens if I just do that. Yes. Can you see how diminished I am - or that?

Paul Ryan (18:57):

You see how diminished I am. So we're going to look at our body language because as well, there's a lot of people that get very nervous about speaking online. And I quite understand it's weird. We are suddenly plunged into this world where, apart from anything, if we're not careful, we have to look at ourselves talking, which is very, very uncomfortable for most people. I'm an actor, I can't stop looking at myself. But let's talk about, let me just flash up a little slide for you ladies and gentlemen as I prepared it for you. And what we're gonna do is we are going to rewrite our body language. Okay? I'm gonna keep look at that chap. Do it. Uh, can any of you actually sit with your legs perched behind you underneath the back of the chair Like that? Amazing. Alright folks, so posture really matters.

Paul Ryan (19:46):

There's a relatively new science called embodied cognition. And what it basically states is the state of the human body determines the state of the human mind. But what you do, you will feel. Now, I'd love it if you would at home, if you can join in with this, alright? I'd love you to join in. We're gonna do a little experiment. Hello, I'm over here. Now we're gonna do a little experiment, okay? Now I'm guessing that we're all having a really nice time, right? We're having a nice old laugh. Deborah's lovely, I'm amazing. We're all smiling. What I want you to do if you're sitting on a chair is I want you to put your bottom in the back of the chair. And when I clap, my hands don't overdo it just slouch for me. And slouch. I mean look at Deborah. See, see what happens to her energy as she slouches.

Paul Ryan (20:32):

Look at my energy. What happened to your energy when you slouch? I guarantee it went down. Energy's going down. Focus going down, okay? We're not energized, we're not up. Also in that position, and loads of people zoom like this, don't they, loads of people be at their computer zooming like this, loads of people. In an interview. If it's a normal conversation, it doesn't matter so much, but if it's an interview, it's really important that you are energized. So how do we do that? Okay, quickly, I'm just gonna share this slide with you cuz I, I, yeah, listen, thing is Deborah, I spent a lot of time on these slides and I want people to see him cuz otherwise what's the point? Do you know what I mean? Here we go. This is something called ready, steady, go. Now it's dead simple. I love what I teach because, uh, I use what I teach.

Paul Ryan (21:21):

What I'd like you to do this time is I'd like you to perch on the front of your chair. Like really perch. I don't mean halfway through, I mean perch on it. Like you're afraid you're gonna fall off. Okay? And then I want you to place one foot slightly behind the other. You can see my feet there, one foot slightly behind the other. Like you are in starting blocks. Yeah. Like you're in starting blocks. Well, hey, and I want you to sit upright, really important. And I want you to sit for now with your hands on your lap. Palms up, okay? Now this is what I call ready steady go. And it's so simple. I want you to try and do it for me now. Ready, steady, go. And notice how much taller you are sitting in the seat. Look at Deborah now, my god, she's beaming, the energy coming off her is incredible! But you'll feel this change if you use this stuff. Now let's see what happens when I go online. Should we see? Here we go. Now, I guarantee when I started today, I was using ready, steady go plus one other element, which I'll share with you. Um, but look, as we said before, not too much headroom. I'll go through the list again. Uh, camera four foot from the face up, uh, camera in line with your eyes. Marvelous. And now I'm sitting in ready, steady go. You can see that I look energized. How about this?

Paul Ryan (22:43):

How about that? Or this or normally actually that. It's not the same. If you've got an interview online and you want to create that magic first impression, make a few decisions to empower that moment, to help you stand out above all the people who are going for that position, okay? And it's as simple as sitting in ready, steady go. And if you're doing, by the way, it's worth saying, I use ready, steady go before every audition I ever go for and every interview I ever have with whoever it might be. And in the corporate world now, you know, if I'm going for a meeting, like the pressure's quite high cuz it can mean quite a lot of money dear. And we all need to earn a bit of money, don't we? So I make sure I sit upright and ready, steady go. It helps me breathe, it helps me think.

Paul Ryan (23:34):

Alright, now have another little look. We want you to take on board the amount of times I'm inviting you to share screen with me and then jump out of the slides. Alright, we've got a pen, we've got two chickens and we've got a pair of eyeballs. This is simple. Alright, what does any of this mean? Has he gone completely mad? Has the man gone berserk? Possibly, but listen, it works for me so I'm sure it's gonna work for you. There's something, there's something really interesting about chickens. Alright, we're gonna do chickens and we're gonna do it now. It sounds weird. Did you tell them all to bring two chickens, by the way, Deborah? No. Ridiculous. Alright, here it is. This is so simple. It's weird, but it, this is something of my own invention by the way. You'll be glad to know. So chickens. We're in ready, steady go.

Paul Ryan (24:22):

And instead of having our hands on our laps like this, we put our palms on our thighs and we make sure we've got room for a small chicken under this arm and a small chicken under that one. It's simple. Okay? Simple as that. You can see that Deborah quite clearly. Can you? Yeah. Okay. Superb. Now let's do the same thing. Now let's do the same thing. Here I am. I'm getting ready for my Zoom. I'm perched. I'm in ready, steady, go. I've got the camera four feet from my face. It's at my eyeline. I've got a wonderful background and I've got no chickens. Everybody, I want you to close your eyes and when I ask you to open them, I want you to open them. Close your eyes now please. And open your eyes now. It's amazing, the difference, isn't it? You see, oh, Deborah's doing her chickens as well. It really is a fantastic way of empowering you on that screen. Alright? And it's dead, dead simple. Two chickens. That's all you need. Alright? Right. I'll show you again. No chickens, not bad, but one might go from bad to really best practice. Bad. Well bad could be this, couldn't it bad? Does this happen in interviews, uh, where people turn off their camera? But do people turn off their camera in interviews? Not in

Deborah O’Sullivan (25:44):

Interview for sure. And so it is funny cuz we've got a couple of questions actually come through, which I was saying, but, but no, there is. Um, well

Paul Ryan (25:51):

Maybe we do that at the end then.

Deborah O’Sullivan (25:52):

Okay. Alright.

Paul Ryan (25:53):

Alright. So what bad practice this. Hello? I want a job. Hang on a minute. Bad. Great. Look at that. Makes all the difference in the world. Now there's something else in that slide. There was a pen. Remember? Have I got a pen here. I was hoping that I'd have a, that doesn't matter. Um, <laugh>, this is a very, very big pen. If you, you can do this with your finger, actually, in fact, let's do it with our fingers cause I'll probably break my jaw on that pen. The magic marker. We're all gonna do this. It's weird, but again, I want you to try it and I want you to go with it. We're gonna take our finger, we're gonna put our fingers between our teeth, making sure that our lips do not touch our finger. We're gonna hold the finger there for the count of 10. Then we're gonna take our finger out and leave our lips in the same position.

Paul Ryan (26:45):

Alright, good luck everybody. Off we go. And 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. What are we doing? What are we doing? We're smiling. Actually Debs is going ‘Oh, wasn't smiling. I dunno what you mean’. We're smiling. We're smiling. Now we faked to smile. But guess what I'm prepared to say. For those of you that joined in with that, doing that is not gonna make you feel sad, downhearted, miserable or depressed. Absolutely not. What you've done is you fooled your endocrine system to give you a burst of endorphins. Cuz your endocrine system doesn't know the smile is fake. It just recognizes that the corners of your mouth are turned up. So boom, you get a little bit of endorphins and that's gonna make you feel what? Guess what? Happy or happier? Certainly less nervous. No, I'd say it's gonna shift your mood. If you have a smile on your face, you'll have a smile in your heart.

Paul Ryan (27:45):

It's a bit nauseating that, but it's true. Now let's, now I'm gonna do the best practice thing again and I'm gonna change something at the end. I'm gonna put everything in. Then let's see what happens when I change one thing. Ready steady go, chickens, smile. Now look - not quite the same is it? Business is serious, going up for a job is really serious. Absolutely. But while business is serious, it very rarely has to be poker-faced. And when we are online in an interview or in real life, it's worth remembering. What people really want to do is like you, they're on your side. They want, you know, you, you gotta want to help them feel comfortable in your company. Be okay with you. Yeah, like you, why not? And you know, the smile is a wonderful thing because if you do it to somebody, they will do it back to you and on screen

Paul Ryan (28:49):

I cannot tell you the number of times I've had people going, hello, my name's Michelle, and I'm gonna be giving a a talk today about how wonderful it is. Oh my god. Put a smile on the front of it. You know, why not? Gonna make you feel better? Gonna make your interviewer feel like you are relaxed. You know, um, one of my directors who I worked with, brilliant bloke called Paul Clayton, he said, “I've done many, many auditions in my life, Mr. Ryan. And you know, the ones I hate, the ones I dislike the most are the people that come in and you feel sorry for them Mr Ryan, but they're nervous and you've got to look after them. So all of a sudden you're not holding an audition, you're babysitting” <laugh>. There was a bit of a big impression there, sorry about that. But he's got a point, hasn't he?

Paul Ryan (29:33):

You know, when you come in online, sitting in this gonna make you feel and look confident. Yes. So that when you, before you said a word, in fact your audience is gonna feel on side, they're gonna pick up on all that positive body language signals that you're sending out. And before you said a word, come on side. Alright? So there's lots of things there online that are gonna really empower you. Now, Deborah. I'm just gonna go back to this slide cuz it cost me all of eight pence to buy the set of eyes. Here we go. See those eyes, those eyes, those eyes. What are those eyes? Oh, blow me. We're running outta time. Well, what are they all about? Well, let me tell you something. Eyes are vitally important. The windows of the soul, of course, but online it's utterly crucial that you make sure you do what I've been doing throughout the whole time.

Paul Ryan (30:27):

I've been speaking to you and talking with you in this webinar. What have I been doing? I've been looking right at you. Why? Because I'm looking at the lens of my camera. Now, what most people do and are still doing when they're on Zoom, they'll be looking down at the person who's speaking to them. Yes. Or they'll be looking at a whole roster of eight people. And I understand the instinct, it's because you want to pick up on the body language signals that they will be putting out so that you know your message is landing well. Well guess what? Online it don't work well like that. What you'll have is eight or nine people or two people sitting there going mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative>. You won't get all the body language signals that will tell you how you're coming across. The best thing you can do, whether you're in an interview, whether you're giving a presentation, here's the rule.

Paul Ryan (31:20):

When you're talking out loud, look at the camera. When you're listening, look at the talker - as simple as that. Now it's a broad rule. You don't have to stare when you're speaking and look at, it's not a, it's absolutely locked down, but it's something to give you the freedom to know that when you are looking at the camera, you are connecting directly with the person you are talking to. For example, it's not the same now, is it? I don't have that same connection with you because I'm simply, I'm looking at my audience, but I'm not looking at my audience. Okay? So listen, that, that is a really, really big one. You forgive me, just get my glasses. Um, that's a really big takeaway and I, I want out of everything, I want you to think about that. I'm gonna share this screen with you.

Paul Ryan (32:09):

Now. I know Deborah, you, you've sent this out or you will send this out? Yes, I'll send it out. So through everybody you sent it out. Okay. No, we will. But here they're, oh you will. Okay, fantastic.

Camera at eye level, stop people looking up your nose and at your ceiling.

Sit a meter from the camera - allow yourself to be seen from the mid torso upwards because as well, when you gesticulate all that wonderful body language messaging is gonna be read and understood by your viewer.

Put yourself in the center of the of the frame with not too much space above your head. Look at people on the news tonight. See how much headroom they've got. It's not that much.

Use natural light if possible. Um, don't sit with your back to a window.

And look like Deborah said, you don't need to spend any money as long as you've got a decent laptop.

Paul Ryan (32:54):

Don't spend anything. And if you need a bit of light on your face, grab a light from somewhere in the house and just put it near you so you can be seen. Organize your background, declutter. The plainer the background in my view, the better. And the big one is please look at the camera to create eye contact. That really is for me, perhaps out of everything (but that and the chickens) uh, the most important way of connecting with your audience. So listen, unbelievably, that is half an hour, so I believe there are some questions, Deborah. Is that right?

Deborah O’Sullivan (33:28):

Uh, yeah, there's actually quite a lot. So let's see how many we can get through, shall we? As I said at the beginning, we'll follow up with anyone's that we don't answer, um, by email. So, sure. Um, people don't need to feel we are missing out. So a couple of times people, different people have asked, are there any specific clothes or colors that you should wear during an interview online?

Paul Ryan (33:49):

Okay. Really, really good question. I did, uh, a one-to-one with, uh, a woman who I've been working with. She's out in Switzerland and she, we did a live, uh, workshop over in Switzerland and then I've been doing one-to-ones with them individually. And brilliant public speaker, uh, black hair. She wore a black roll neck, but she was in a black room and all I could see was her head and it looked like she was floating. It was very odd. Try and have something that's contrasting bit like what I'm doing now. Yes. Um, contrasting, remember if it's an interview, dress like you're going to work, that's really important. How do you want people to perceive you? Well, a part of the signaling that we're putting out is, is the feathers, if you like, that we are wearing, our adornment. So dress appropriately, dress well and dress professionally. Next question.

Deborah O’Sullivan (34:42):

Um, what about the use of headsets with mike? Um, this person says, I use mine all the time as I feel it helps with the sound, but I've noticed not so many people do this anymore. Is this okay?

Paul Ryan (34:52):

Well I suppose a good question to ask is if some of the people, um, that are listening to you, how is your sound? Some of these things work brilliantly. I've got a friend, it sounds like he's broadcasting from radio four. I mean it's absolutely brilliant. Other people, they're not so good. And actually because the microphone's too close there clipping the microphone, they're making it buzz the whole time. Ask your friends how it's coming across, set up a Zoom with a pal and ask them. If it's a fashion thing you're worried about. I wouldn't worry about it. If it helps you to be heard, use it.

Deborah O’Sullivan (35:25):

Just a little tip there I would add is if you wear earrings, um, and AirPods, that can do an a really annoying clicking for the listener. Ah. So, okay, so

Paul Ryan (35:36):

To watch out for that,

Deborah O’Sullivan (35:37):

Yeah, you wouldn't have experienced that Paul <laugh>.

Paul Ryan (35:39):

Well, you'd be surprised, but no, you're right. I I haven't actually,

Deborah O’Sullivan (35:44):

Um, there's a, a couple of questions about the distance from the camera. So, um, somebody saying, um, they, what about writing their notes or writing a tool or having to type on their laptop? How does that work if you are this far away?

Paul Ryan (36:01):

I suppose the point is that if you are in an interview, um, you won't be taking notes really. Or you might want to. I'll tell you what, if I were taking notes now, look, I I this opening sort of situation is your, it's your opening. It's your, it's your default starting position. Once you've struck rapport with your interviewer or your interlocutor, then you can uh, make yourself more comfy. You know? Do you mind is if I take some notes? Great. Okay. And I'll tell you this much, don't forget during my presentation to you everybody, I've been four foot from my camera and I've clicked and I've done it and I've come back. Yes. So it's, it's eminently possible if you are doing a meeting where you do have to type, well that's it. You just have to cope with that, don't you? And do your best.

Deborah O’Sullivan (36:46):

Yes. Cool. Um, someone said, I'm sometimes in meetings where there's, it's optional to have the camera on or off. Do you have any advice?

Paul Ryan (36:59):

Well, you know, this is a, a a, a very common kind of mistake, I think, people make in that they do turn off their cameras if they're in a big meeting. I don't, I don't know about that as a good idea because it's gonna stop you engaging cuz you're not gonna be, you're not gonna feel like you're on show. You're almost making yourself an absent guest. And also if you are in a meeting and there's, I kind of, I've run, um, webinars and I insist that people turn on their cameras partly cause I need to see their body language. But also cause I say, listen, I wanna engage with you and I want you to engage with me. So I would advise against it. If it's optional, great. Choose the option to stay in the meeting. Be seen, be seen. Always be seen. My advice.

Deborah O’Sullivan (37:46):

Okay, cool. Um, another one that's quite a popular question, um, I can't see without my glasses on, but always get a reflection from any lights, any suggestions? Oh yes,

Paul Ryan (37:55):

Yes I have. Because I do believe, um, we had this issue the other day, didn't we? But look, here we go. You can see that I've got a little bit of reflection on my, on my lenses there. Um, actually not, not as much as I'd like for the purposes of this. How annoying. Um, but here's a trick. If you take your glasses and just tip them up. Can you see that Deborah? Can you see what I've done? Yeah. So that's a normal position and I'm just rocking them forward. And actually what that does, it prevents the, um, reflection from appearing at all. Sometimes you can look a bit of a twit cause you haven't quite done it, right? Yes. But if you can do that, then actually all of a sudden it takes that worry completely out of the, uh, of the equation. And that, that is my invention. So clever me. There you go.

Deborah O’Sullivan (38:38):

<laugh>. Um, just finally, cuz I think a couple of people might have missed the earlier conversation. There's a few people asking about your thoughts on backgrounds, um, ie, the Zoom backgrounds, the virtual backgrounds.

Paul Ryan (38:53):

Yeah. What I'd say is the time is now over for wonderfully animated backgrounds of an Hawaiian beach. You know, all of that. If it's a work call, a work Zoom, avoid that. If, if you can, for me, the plainer the background the better. I love a virtual background as long as you're well lit. Okay. And, uh, and I like as well the blurred background. Here's a quick tip for you though, actually stay there everybody, if you want a heavenly glow behind you that makes you look even more like you're in a TV studio. See if I can do this here. There you go folks. There's a light behind me. I wonder if you can see, hang on a minute. Let's make that really gorgeous. Hang on a minute folks. Sorry. So did, I showed this to Deborah the other day and I nearly landed on the floor. But look, can you see how suddenly I've got this wonderful glow behind me? It, it lends an even greater professional image and look to my image online. So that's another little trick for you. Again, you don't have to spend a lot of money on a, on a studio light. Any light against that back wall will light it and enhance your image.

Deborah O’Sullivan (40:05):

Brilliant. Thank you Paul. Um, we're out of time. Um, there's a few questions we haven't answered, but as I said, we'll follow up with those, um, by email. Thank you for your time. Um, that's been brilliant. I've actually got a <laugh>, I've got a comment here saying you are really funny, but in a good way, <laugh>.

Paul Ryan (40:22):

Oh, that's, well I take that as a huge compliment. Thank you

Deborah O’Sullivan (40:25):

<laugh>. So, um, thank you everybody for joining us today. Um, I hope you've got some benefit from all of that wonderful advice that Paul's given us and we will follow up with Q and As, a little short questionnaire for your feedback and we'll let you know when the recording is live. So if you want to rewatch this then you can. So thanks very much for joining us and have a lovely rest of your evenings. Bye.

Paul Ryan (40:50):



41 min read