Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Body language: the other window to the soul

Since we're on the subject of appearance, let's talk about something else that conveys your true feelings besides your eyes.

Body language.

Think about it: you've got ten or fifteen seconds in every package that you're on camera, and if you can't be at the top of your game, if you can't convey your entire life force in that short period of time, you're going nowhere.

Anchors, meanwhile, have to be at their best for 22 minutes, and often at the end of their day. And when you consider it, how much of that 22 minutes are you actually on camera?

I can hear my father in my head, spouting one of his many comments on my appearance. "Stand up straight, you don't work in a belltower. Go wash your face, you look half asleep. If you move any slower pigeons are gonna land on your head."

Your appearance, your "voice" so to speak, is a big key to your success. If you stand there slump shouldered and look as though you're just trying to get through the standup, you're not going to convey any energy. If you do a walking standup where you just...amble...along... you're not making a good impression. Power walk. Have a purpose. Look excited. Throw your head back and look like you have the world by the tail. Back to my father again. "Jeez, you're on television, for God's sake!"

When you're on camera, anchoring or reporting, you need to grab the viewer by the throat and not let go. It's as if you're saying, "Listen, I've got this kick ass story and you're really gonna want to see it." Only you're not just saying it with your voice, but with your body and your eyes.

Every time you're on camera is an opportunity for you to move up the ladder. Never, ever phone it in. You never know who's watching, who might call and ask to see your last three stories.

They say, "Look alive!" in the military.

Honestly, it's not that hard, and it can pay great dividends.


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