How to Increase Your Executive Presence on Video

As the coronavirus spreads across the country and social distancing becomes necessary, more businesses are instructing employees to work from home.  Also, more interactions are taking place via video, as are an increasing number of job interviews. Now is the time to consider how to enhance your executive presence in this medium.

video-callWe communicate through nonverbal, tonal, and verbal behaviors.  Nonverbals constitute an estimated 60% weight on messaging, tonals about 30%, and verbals 10%.  Thus, if you are depending upon your verbals alone to carry your entire message, you are relying on a very small part of the communication process. The following are methods to increase your executive presence on video and not be caught off guard by the experience.


  • Physical environment:  Make sure that what the other person sees is free from distraction.  A neutral color background, absent any clutter, is best.  Clean off your desk.  Remove personal items, including family pictures.  Do have a new pad of paper and pens available.
  • Dress:  Wear medium dark clothing.  This will set you off well from the background.  Be well-groomed.
  • Posture:  Sit with both feet flat on the floor, not cross-legged.  Don’t sit back with arms folded (this can be perceived as arrogant or too casual).  Lean slightly into the table or back into the chair to give an appearance of squaring your shoulders to the camera. This will show confidence.
  • Hands:  Keep your hands on the table, one flattened over the other, elbows out slightly.  Do not put your hands under the table. This will round your shoulders and can look like a loss of confidence.
  • Eye Contact:  Show you’re engaged by raising your eyebrows slightly as you speak and looking directly forward.  A furrowed brow can look angry.
  • Gestures: Use to emphasize points.  Avoid random or distracting, wide-open fingered gestures, which can make you look nervous.


  • Medium volume and rate are best.
  • Vocal variety:  Emphasize words with feeling, such as enthusiasm.  Avoid sounding monotone, which may convey disinterest.
  • Articulate:  Speak clearly.  Don’t drop off the end of sentences.


  • Be conscious of the other person’s listening style.  Some people want less information and others want more.


  • Before the interview, sit at your desk; breathe in and out twice, which calms the senses, makes your voice strong, and releases the tension in your shoulders.

These techniques can help you can gain a competitive advantage by appearing confident, credible, and competent.

Maxine Dolle

Maxine Dolle

Maxine Dolle is a partner at Dolle & Lee. She has over 25 years of experience in management, marketing, customer service, training, and coaching. Since 1999, she has focused her consultancy on communication skills within organizations.

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