How to present yourself well on video

Market research has stepped blinking into the dazzling world of online video surveys. But some of us are still grappling around in the dark when it comes to presenting well on camera.
Writen by 
February 10, 2020

Whether you are representing your own business or that of a client, video presentations are a window to the personality of the company. They are mechanisms for direct communication to customers, so presenting well on video is crucial for transmitting a positive message to target groups.

First impressions are hard to shake-off; so you need to get it right first time.

There are two main areas you need to think about before turning on your camera: The way you look and the way you sound.

The way you look


Do your hair. Put a little makeup on. Wear appropriate clothing. This may sound like a lesson in narcissism, but your consumers will make a judgement within a split second of seeing you. If you look like you've just woken up, or you're wearing inappropriate clothes, they're sure to notice. And if you create a negative first impression, your chances of getting any creative feedback are slim.


Whether you're shooting your vox pop with a webcam or smartphone, or you're using a professional film studio, you need a lot of well-positioned light. To achieve a crisp, flattering image you should be lit from the front with soft lighting, rather than from behind or the side. Try shutting out any external lighting affecting your frame. Close any blinds, or turn off glaring overhead lights and position your soft-glowing lamp so it's just out of frame, but shining squarely on your face. Your face is the window to your business and needs to be the main focus of your video presentation. Consumers need to see your facial expressions clearly so they can connect better with you and the business you represent. If you'll be referencing something in the background of your video, you need to ensure this object is also well-lit, with a separate lighting system.


Your research questionnaire video can be heavily affected by the colour of your clothes. Unless you're using a professional studio with expensive equipment, you should generally choose to wear lighter rather than darker colours. If you wear dark clothing, the aperture of your camera will open wider to let more light in to balance the gloomy tones. If you set your lighting correctly but wear a black shirt, the camera will adjust and consequently over-expose the image. A white shirt will shrink the aperture, allowing the lighting to do its job. Try to steer towards plain clothing too, as often webcams or smartphone lenses cannot pick up huge amounts of detail and may be confused by complicated patterns.

Your face

Look at the camera lens. It's so important to maintain eye contact with the recipients of the video as this will give the impression you're talking directly to them. The only way to achieve this illusion is by looking into the camera lens as if it were the eyes of the person you’re addressing.

And Smile. Because if you smile you'll instantly inspire a positive attitude, helping your recipient form a more honest connection with you. By forming this intimate connection through your video presentation, you're more likely to generate honest consumer insights.


Consider your positioning within the frame. When addressing the camera, you want the lens to be level with you. Don't set it above or below you, instead imagine the camera lens is the person you're talking to and place it at eye-level.

You also want to frame the shot at a suitable distance. You want to be far enough from the lens that your audience can see your hand movements, but close enough that they can detect your facial expressions and see into your eyes. Ideally, you want to place yourself at the top of the central horizontal band of the frame, as this is where the eye is naturally drawn. So a great shot for a survey with video would be a 'medium' distance shot, framing your head and your body down to the torso. Also, it’s often a nice idea to stand slightly off-centre, leaving some space to the side, in which you can later insert graphics or text.

Take a look at this tutorial for guidance on framing your shot:

The way you sound

Smile and be confident

Smiling will positively influence your voice and will engage your audience. When you smile  your pronunciation is clearer and your tone of voice is friendlier. When you sound happy and confident, these emotions are likely to be replicated towards you and the product/company you’re representing. Smiling and exuding confidence illustrates you are someone that should be listened to and what you are saying is interesting. Conversely, if you seem shy and melancholy, your market research video is likely to be much less engaging.

Speak clearly and slowly

Address your recipients calmly and with a steady pace. Be sure to enunciate your words properly, so no meaning is lost along the way. Mumbling is the worst thing you can do when posing your online video survey; if your audience cannot understand what you're saying, they will not be motivated to respond.

Keep content simple

In the small amount of time your recipients are interacting with your video, you should give them a clear idea of who you are and what you want. Establish the brand's personality, but don't move off topic. Explain what the company does, but leave out any industry jargon. Detail the purpose of your market research survey, but don't ramble. Speak in clear, punchy sentences and use hand gestures to clarify meaning or stress a point. Try to maintain a consistent volume as your recipients will not want to adjust the volume on their device once they've started listening to you.

Be direct

You should speak directly when recording your mobile market research video. Be jovial where appropriate but speak with purpose at all times. While you should certainly introduce yourself and your company, you should generally keep this section to around ten seconds long. You might choose two or three main points and then take your time to express them clearly and slowly.

Try using an external microphone

To enhance your sound and reduce interference you could consider using an external microphone. Your device's built-in microphone will do the job, but external apparatus will give your video a sleeker sound and added clarity. If you're using a smartphone, you could simply use the microphone built-in to the hands-free kit. If you're using a laptop or a tablet with a USB port, there are plenty of great USB microphones available on the market today.