For my first TV job, I had the unusual and good fortune of having my parents within my station’s viewing audience. They were able to watch their daughter fumble her way through the steep learning curve of her trade.
I will never forget calling my mom after I anchored my first newscast. Here’s roughly how that conversation went:
Me: Mom, how did I do?
Mom: Oh, Karin, your hair looked great!
Me: Mom, no one cares about my hair.
I was hoping for a glowing critique of my anchoring skills. The assessment of my hairdo was not what I was expecting. I thought it was totally inconsequential. How wrong I was!
Many years and a TV station later, I had my “eureka” moment. On a whim, I decided to chop off my long hair into a short, modified pixie style. When I went on the air that night, the phones lit up at the station. It seemed everyone wanted to weigh in on my new ’do! In fact, I was told by the station operator that she couldn’t recall another time when the phones were busier. Thankfully, the comments were mostly positive, but it was an eye-opener, for sure.
Whether you are a man or women, you may not give a whit about how your mane is managed, and you may never go near a makeup counter—but messy hair and a washed-out face is not likely to give you the credibility boost you are looking for. Your lack of interest in hair and makeup could diminish the impact of your performance if your viewers can’t stop wondering if you bothered to look in the mirror before your appearance.
Vanity is not the driver—your mission is. Don’t let your message be lost because of concerns over the bangs over your eyes, or in the makeup around them. While the way you look should not be more important than your message, if your look is so distracting that it runs contrary to audience expectations, the power of your words will be muted.
Learn More: On-Camera Coach
If you found this information valuable, check out my book, On-Camera Coach: Tools and Techniques for Business Professionals in a Video-Driven World, now available from Wiley Publishing. On-Camera Coach aims to take the mystery out of communicating through the camera and provides specific tips and techniques that can make your message sing—and you, the messenger, feel confident in a job well done.