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body language

Stop touching your face in Zoom meetings

Body language is essential to get right whenever you’re presenting.

Even though we’re only seeing the top third of your body on Zoom (or Microsoft Teams or Google Meet), how you appear up there matters.

This is especially true when you need to be perceived as a leader.

This is not about lookin’ good.

It’s about gaining the trust of your audience.

Whether you’re giving a sales presentation, talking with a client, leading a meeting, or giving a media interview — here are three things I highly recommend you stop doing.

Touching your face

When we touch our face it tells the audience we’re nervous or uncomfortable.

We want to come across confident so our audience trusts us and the company we represent.

Touching your hair

When we fiddle with our hair or move it away from our face, it again makes our audience less confident in us.

Make sure your hair is always away from your face and it doesn’t move into your eyes so you don’t have a tendency to touch it.

Looking at other monitors

You wouldn’t stare out of the window or at your phone during an in-person meeting, would you?

This is why we shouldn’t look away from the person we’re meeting with and at another monitor.

You’ve seen it, you’ve felt it, you know how rude this is.

Making these small tweaks makes a huge impression on audiences.

Whether it’s an audience of one or many.

One specific VP told me recently his team is much more engaged now when he speaks.

And it happened right after he enacted the “stop touching your face” (for him, he touched his beard a lot) and “stop looking at other monitors” rules I created for him.

He says his team is more engaged.

That’s all it took.

Worth a try, right?

P.S. Want more tips? Be sure to sign up for my LinkedIn newsletter where you’ll get exclusive tips on strengthening your mindset to become a better communicator. Click here to subscribe to Thought Leaders Amplified on LinkedIn.

P.P.S. I created a training for health care professionals who need to discover their message and story, deliver it clearly, succinctly, and confidently, and present in a way that intrigues, entertains and keeps the audience’s attention. Share it with your friends in health care. Check it out even if you’re not in health care. The tips and tricks are universal. Click here to learn more.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

The ripple effect of communication issues

How are the people inside your company communicating with your customers?

Or future customers?

I was on a call with a $12 billion company today.

I’m sharing this in case you have the same issue.

They hosted their annual meeting recently.

Many of their execs had to give presentations and they quickly realized… several of them were having issues presenting and getting their message across.

These are well-regarded individuals inside a Fortune 100 company.

They’re smart and know the industry in and out.

But they have an issue.

And it’s costly.

They are not confident or convincing when it comes to presenting.

So they called me.

They need to be prepared before they present again in a year – but more importantly, the concern is:

How are they communicating on a daily basis?

In front of customers? Potential investors? Their team?

There’s a ripple effect when it comes to communication.

Whether it’s your receptionist who takes inbound calls and walk-ins, your sales team, all the way up to your leadership — your message should:

  • establish trust,
  • be confident,
  • show empathy,
  • and it should make people want to do business with you!

If your message is being miscommunicated, at any level within your organization, that’s a potential client or customer — gone.

Potential referrals — gone.

Potential media or speaking opportunities — gone.

It’s all interconnected.

As you’re reading this, think to yourself for a moment.

Could you possibly have a communications issue inside your company?

Don’t dismiss someone as having stage or Zoom fright.

They may have a bigger communications issue.

It’s fixable and a little work now will save (and make) you a lot of money quickly.

P.S. Worried your organization is struggling like this Fortune 100 company? I created a training for health care professionals who need to confidently show up on camera, attract more patients, move up in their careers, and let their expertise shine. Share it with your friends in health care. The tips and tricks are universal. Check it out even if you’re not in health care. Click here to learn more. Want training that’s more specialized for your industry? Let’s connect and make it happen.

P.P.S. I just published a new video on YouTube sharing with you some easy adjustments to make before recording a video or going live. This might be something you haven’t considered. Check it out here.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are three more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call here to speak to our team about how we can help you.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

5 Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Improve Telehealth Appointments for Patients

A lot changed about how we do our jobs during the pandemic. For healthcare professionals, a watershed moment arrived for technology that was slowly trickling in for years. 

All of a sudden, telehealth appointments became the norm and many felt unprepared for how to best connect with their patients in this new virtual setting. Even when the pandemic is over, telehealth is here to stay. The genie is out of the box. We now know it can be done. And isn’t it nice not having patients show up late because of traffic?

As an experienced media and public speaking trainer, during this pandemic I’ve found myself specializing in helping healthcare professionals present themselves from their computers — whether that be with patients in telehealth appointments or in media interviews and public speaking engagements for online conferences. 

We’ve seen all the mistakes on TV. Cameras too low, cameras too high, dark rooms, terrible sound, distractions, and others I’m sure you’ve noticed.

This isn’t about looking good. It’s about making sure you connect with your audience. Making sure you do what you set out to accomplish with that telehealth appointment or media interview.

What are some ways you can improve your online presence and get better results?

Make it a great experience for the patient

This is what it’s all about. Your patients are coming to you with a health issue. They’re seeking comfort. They’re seeking guidance. And everything you do in a telehealth appointment should be supporting the goal of making the experience positive for them. Even though you’re connecting with your patients online, you want to make them feel cared for in the same way you would in person. 

Experiencing a technical issue? Don’t panic! Consider jumping on a phone call instead and cut out all of the video distractions. Good sound and connecting with the patient are what’s most important here. Also don’t spend a ton of time complaining about or apologizing for any technical issues, that only takes time away from the patient’s time and it can start eroding their confidence in you. Address it once and then move forward with the appointment. Recently, I had a telehealth appointment where the head of the department kept apologizing for the tech issues and disparaging technology in general. It made the experience frustrating for me and he came across as out of touch, so it was harder to trust him. Telehealth is here to stay – learn it, love it, and definitely don’t complain about it!

Be aware of your lighting

When you’re interacting with a patient in person, they’re able to easily read your body language and facial cues. They can clearly see your eyes and connect with you. This helps you establish trust. When you’re meeting with a patient virtually, it’s important to make sure they can see you so that they can read these same cues over video. If your face is in a shadow or your patient can’t quite see your eyes, it’s going to be very difficult for them to feel connected to you and to trust you. Lighting is crucial to how you appear on the screen. You want to make sure there aren’t any windows behind you. Your light needs to come from in front of you. If you can, use natural light from a window. But if that isn’t an option, try soft lighting from a lamp you place in front of you – and be sure to avoid creating any shadows with your monitor or phone. These lights from Amazon are a really affordable option… under $100 and I’ve used them for years. If you wear glasses, try to avoid those commonly used ring lights. You’ll see the halos in your lenses and that’s distracting.

Invest in a quality camera

In the same way that good lighting is an essential part of how you appear on the screen, the quality of your camera will impact how well your patients can see you. Cameras built into computers aren’t the best quality, so you’ll want to invest in one that makes you look as close to how you do in real life as possible. This Logitech 1080p camera is about $80 and I recommend it to all my clients.

Once you have a camera, where you place it is key! You want to set it up at eye level so you are looking right into the camera – and right into the eyes of your patient. It may feel a little weird at first, looking at a camera instead of your patient on the screen, so make sure you practice looking directly into the camera and talking to it. Beware of putting the camera too low or too high – we don’t want to look up your nose or have a meeting with your neck or chin (or your boobs)! 

Don’t forget about sound

Do not forget about sound. Clear communication is such an integral part of building trust with your patients, which is why you want to make sure you’re using a quality microphone so they can hear you. The sound of your voice can deliver a message that you care. We need to hear all the depth and range. During the pandemic, I had a family member who was very ill and I attended many telehealth appointments with them. There was one healthcare professional who was having sound issues during the entire appointment – her microphone was buzzing, she was cutting in and out and we kept mentioning it, but she couldn’t understand us. It was so frustrating because my family member was so sick and on top of that we were having to deal with not being able to hear what the doctor was saying. After the second time this happened, we just started making the trip to the office. This definitely isn’t how you want your patients feeling, so make sure you invest in a good microphone. AirPods work great. The mic is good and they are less distracting than a headset. 

Dress… not distract  

Just like you would for an in-person appointment, you want to present yourself well to your patients during a telehealth appointment. When you’re on camera, there are a few considerations to keep in mind that are a bit different from in-person. For clothes, you want to avoid high contrast patterns that don’t translate well. Go for rich, solid colors instead. Should you wear your white coat? That depends on the resolution of your camera and the background. If your camera has a low resolution or your background is predominantly neutral, you’ll want to avoid wearing your white coat as it won’t show up well. This is another reason to invest in a better camera. As far as accessories go, avoid loud jewelry because remember that quality microphone you ordered? It’s definitely going to pick up the sound of your bracelets clinking together when you gesture with your hands. That will be very distracting for your patients.

Above all else, when you’re thinking about ways to improve your telehealth appointments ask yourself, “Will this improve my patients’ experience and my connection with them?” That’s the goal: to create an environment where your patients feel cared for and supported, even though you’re not sharing the same physical space.

Interested in doing some one-on-one work on your telehealth technique? Let’s connect!

My new healthcare media training online class is launching soon. To get on the waiting list, sign up here!

Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy winning media and public speaking trainer. She consults Fortune 500, healthcare, small businesses, tech companies & others on how to grow their business, attract better employees, increase brand equity and help their people be more confident by delivering more impactful messages to audiences.

This May Offend You… But If You’re Doing It, You Are Offending Potential Customers

My husband and I closed on a home a few weeks ago. We lost it at first, but the sale ended up going through. You can learn from what happened to us. Here’s what you can do so you don’t let a sale slip through your fingers.

For the past two weeks, I’ve hosted all kinds repairmen (they were all guys, not being sexist) and salespeople to give us quotes on everything from windows to a new lawn.

Overwhelmingly, I found that companies need to get serious about something they’re probably too afraid to address.

I’m not afraid.

So today, we’re getting serious about stink.

I know… it’s tough to talk about. You may have a co-worker who wears WAY too much cologne or perfume — or an employee who smokes what smells like a pack of cigs right before every meeting. It’s something you HAVE to talk about. Especially if you have salespeople. Which we all are, right? No matter what you do for a company – you’re selling that brand.

Tuesday, there was the guy from a hugely popular appliance store in the Chicago area who showed up wearing what smelled like a bottle of cologne.

Later that afternoon, a plumber came in smelling like he was STILL smoking. It was oozing out of his pores.

This is a big deal. You may have a client who won’t want to work with your company again because of that one representative.

You may not close a deal because a company won’t want to work with the “stinky perfume lady”.

This is not off the table to talk about with your employees or to even address in an employee guide along with wardrobe. It’s a piece of public speaking and sales that cannot be ignored.

I talk more about it here:

Do you have a media or public speaking question you’d like addressed? Join me live every Thursday at 1pm central on Facebook for new topics and live Q&A.


Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary 30 minute consultation with Kathryn!

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas

I was in Vegas last weekend. My husband and I wanted to get away for some pool time before a busy June hit. (It was also my birthday weekend.)

I dumped a few hundred down some slots and he made a hefty deposit while playing the tables. Thank you, Steve Wynn.

We flew in Thursday and didn’t hear about the terror threat until we landed that afternoon. Law enforcement was already boosted by the time we hit the ground. Vegas was a target because an ISIS propaganda video called for lone wolf attacks showed several Las Vegas Strip properties.

No one was really talking about it inside the casinos. Possibly because they were on vacation and drinking too many of these tasty little watermelon and vodka punches. I do know security was ramped up. Kathy Griffin also talked about it during her show. (This was three days before the President Trump beheading video.)

In my head – I was prepared for anything.

I wore sandals at dinners and shows instead of the heels that remained in my luggage. I kept my bag packed and my phone charged. (Speaking of purses… take a look at the tiny little chair waiters bring you for your bag during dinner? They’re really looking out for the girl who doesn’t want to place her handbag on the floor.)

It might be the news producer in me or because I spent three years in law enforcement… or was it all those years in Girl Scouts? I was ready.

My husband? He thought I was being a little ridiculous. But – you never can be too ready.

It’s a little like the bag I bring along on shoots for my clients. I have makeup for men and women. Deodorant, tape, body tape, things to stick in your bra to make your clothing look better, hair ties, blotters, eye cream, my favorite all-natural throat lozenges (ask me about them, they’re amazing)… you name it. You never know what your client will need. My job is to be ready and make them look and sound as best as possible.

Are you ready for your next emergency?

Ready for when the media calls?

Ready to perform?

Ready for your next boardroom pitch/interview/meeting/public speaking event/Facebook Live?

Here are some quick tips on how to prepare that I recently shared live on Facebook (please don’t mind the random thoughts and special appearance by my dog Mariel – when we’re live on Facebook, anything goes!):

I have an entire summer of ways you can get in the media or improve your public speaking — so make sure I’m making it into your inbox and not your spam! Not signed up for my free tips yet? Head on over to this page to start learning how you can get yourself noticed (and make more money).

PS: If you’re going to be in Vegas anytime soon… make sure to catch the Fogerty show. Worth every cent and more. Here’s just a taste of him performing with his sons. What a moment.

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Are you touching yourself?

It’s a very important question.

You could be doing it – and have NO idea.

Most people don’t.

They do it in meetings, at their desk, in interviews, even on stage!

It’s really not a good thing.

I had a client who did it at the beginning of his media training with me yesterday… and with my help, he stopped. You can too.

Do YOU touch your face? At work, in meetings, during interviews or on stage? You shouldn’t.

Not only is it gross because you’re transferring bacteria, allergens and viruses to your face — but it’s also a dead giveaway that you’re uncomfortable with the situation.

When you rub your face, you’re calming yourself down because there are nerve endings there. Giving yourself a good temple rub in the bathroom is okay… but don’t do it in public IF you care what others think.

People absorb all the things you do PHYSICALLY while you’re speaking to them. They take that in as content. Not just what you SAY.

If you don’t really care what people think of you – then rub away. If you’re in sales, have a leadership role, looking to move up or own a company… you DO care… and it’s definitely something to work on.

This is why I record my clients on video. Sometimes they have no idea what they look like while they’re talking until they see what I shoot. It’s much easier to fix issues when you’re aware of them.

Try shooting video of yourself.

Positive body language could definitely help you become a more effective leader.

Would you like help? Click here for a free strategy session on the phone or on Skype.

No one at work will tell you this (especially if you’re the boss)

Some people talk with their hands.

Some people talk with their hands a little too much.

They’re in the middle of a room – yet, it’s like they’re waving down a plane. Distracting? Yes.

Have you ever been in an audience or watched someone online and found yourself watching them act like they’re conducting an orchestra? And you don’t remember a word they said?

What you’re DOING with your face, hands and the rest of your body can either ADD or DETRACT from your message. They may not hear a word you’re saying because of what your body’s doing.

You may have no idea you even have this issue. Most people won’t tell you. We’re all too nice. ESPECIALLY if you’re the boss.

Your non-verbal communication will contribute (or is contributing right now) to your success or failure.

Kasia Wezowski is the founder of the Center for Body Language and the author of four books on the subject. She recently wrote about this for the Harvard Business Review.

In the article, she specifically broke down body language from the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. The Center for Body Language conducted an online survey with 1,000 participants.

“… both Democrats and Republicans—watched two-minute video clips featuring Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at campaign events delivering both neutral and emotional content. Webcams recorded the viewers’ facial expressions, and our team analyzed them for six key emotions identified in psychology research: happy, surprised, afraid, disgusted, angry, and sad. We coded for the tenor of the emotion (positive or negative) and how strongly it seem to be expressed.  This analysis showed that Obama sparked stronger emotional responses and fewer negative ones. Even a significant number of Republicans—16%— reacted negatively to Romney. And when we analyzed the candidates’ body language, we found that the President displayed primarily open, positive, confident positions congruent with his speech. Romney, by contrast, often gave out negative signals, diminishing his message with contradictory and distracting facial expressions and movement.”

Are you sending out positive and open signals? Or are you sending out negative and distracting signals?

Let’s take a look.

The Center for Body Language studied successful leaders across a range of fields and identified several positions which indicate effective, persuasive body language.

Here are its findings:

Body Language - The Box Demonstrates Trustworthy Truthful ImageThe box

“Early in Bill Clinton’s political career he would punctuate his speeches with big, wide gestures that made him appear untrustworthy. To help him keep his body language under control, his advisors taught him to imagine a box in front of his chest and belly and contain his hand movements within it. Since then, “the Clinton box” has become a popular term in the field.”

Body Language - Demonstrates Commanding Dominant Posture

Holding the ball

“Gesturing as if you were holding a basketball between your hands is an indicator of confidence and control, as if you almost literally have the facts at your fingertips hands. Steve Jobs frequently used this position in his speeches.”

Body Language - Wide Stance Demonstrates Confidence, Control

Wide stance

“How people stand is a strong indicator of their mindset.  When you stand in this strong and steady position, with your feet about a shoulder width apart, it signals that you feel in control.”

Body Language - Palms Up Demonstrate Honest, Accepting Posture

Palms up

“This gesture indicates openness and honesty.  Oprah makes strong use of this during her speeches. She is a powerful, influential figure, but also appears willing to connect sincerely with the people she is speaking to, be it one person or a crowd of thousands.”

Body Language - Palms Down Demonstrate Strong, Assertive Posture

Palms down

“The opposite movement can be viewed positively too—as a sign of strength, authority and assertiveness. Barack Obama has often used it to calm a crowd right after moments of rousing oration.”

This is why I record my clients on video. Sometimes they have no idea what they look like while they’re talking until they see what I shoot. It’s much easier to fix issues when you’re aware of them.

Try shooting video of yourself. How did you stand? How did you use your hands?

Positive body language could definitely help you become a more effective leader.

Would you like help? Please click here for a free strategy session on the phone or on Skype (so I can check out your body language).