CMO Huddles

5 Ways to Be a More Telegenic CMO

May 14, 2024 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

This is an open plea to CMOs. It’s time to be telegenic. Every day you’re on camera with peers, employees, partners, and customers. And every day you’re representing your company brand and your personal brand. And each time your face is blurry or bleeding into your virtual background or you sound like you’re underwater, you’re doing yourself and your company a disservice. You’re simply not communicating like the pro that you are.

It’s time to be ready for your close up. Here’s how:

Tip #1: Invest in an external camera

While built-in cameras on laptops have gotten better, most only have one setting which is often quite close. An external camera will give you the option of a wider frame, putting some distance between you and the camera, improving the odds that you’ll be in focus. This should also help if you are using a virtual background (more on those soon). My recommended camera is the Logitech Brio ($159 on Amazon) for both lens quality and ease of use. The main thing to look for is the 16:9 frame option and 4k resolution.

Tip #2: Fix your lighting

If you have a light source behind you, rotate your desk 180° if possible. If not, you’ll need extra lighting in front of you. Otherwise, you’ll always look washed out. In terms of lighting, I’m a fan of LED lamps that you can rotate or swivel. I use the Desk Lamp E7 with Clamp ($79 from Uplift) and have an extra long-neck desk lamp just in case it’s getting dark outside. Warning: If you wear glasses, don’t buy a Ring light!

Tip #3: Upgrade your audio

Ever wonder why radio announcers all sound great? For one, they aren’t using earbuds or cheap-tinny sounding headsets. Nope. They are using a high-end condenser microphones which are also the faves of podcasters. I use the Heil Sound PR 40 on a simple mic stand that runs through a Tascam pre-amp. Besides giving your voice a richer texture, these mics don’t pick up other sounds in the room which means you can listen via your computers speakers. If you want a simpler solution, a dynamic mic like the USB like the Shure MV7 will plug right into your computer and still sound better than your earbuds or a wire headset.

Tip #4: Assess your background

Since many CMOs are working at home, you’ll often see them using virtual backgrounds. If there is no way for you to be in a natural setting (always first choice), then pick a virtual background carefully. Some are simply impossible to work with because of the coloring or patterns or your available lighting. Simpler is usual better. Here again lighting is key - have enough lighting options to find the combo that makes your face look natural.

Tip #5: Get more bandwidth

All of the above will go to waste if your internet connection is slow. At a minimum, you should have 100 Mbps download & 25 MPS upload speed (test here). Ideally, get yourself in the 400 Mbps range both and up and down. Not only will your video and audio broadcast clearly but also you’ll be able to work faster on every internet-based task.

You’re articulate and a gifted communicator. It’s time to make sure you’re equipment isn’t diminishing your talents.

Written by Drew Neisser

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