Video impression is essential in building your brand and online presence. During this pandemic, most of our interactions go through online and improving screen presence should be considered a priority. Joining Elizabeth Bachman on the show, Shelley Golden, founder of Shelley Golden Style and creator of The Zoom Makeover, shares her leveling points for improving online engagement and trustworthiness. Join in to pick up some tangible tips that you can quickly apply to your upcoming online meetings and conversations.
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Uplevel Your Screen Presence With Shelley Golden
Elevate Your Confidence, Trustworthiness & Brand
My guest is Shelley Golden, who is an International Stylist. We’re going to be talking about how do you look great on your video calls. Before we start, I’d like to invite you to check out where your presentation skills are strong and where you might need a little bit of help through our free assessment at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you could see where your presentation skills are strong, a little bit of support might help you get the results, and the recognition that you want.
Shelley Golden is one of my favorite people. She was one of the first people I interviewed on this show on how to improve your video presence. I’m so happy to bring her back to talk about how your video presence and how you show up affects the way you are perceived, how you can increase rapport, and how you can help people take you seriously. Shelley Golden is an international Personal Branding Image Consultant. She’s a fashion stylist and a Certified Color Consultant with years of experience. She’s the owner of Shelley Golden Style. The website is ShelleyGoldenStyle.com.
As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, Shelley created the Zoom Makeover, which is a five–step process to help you up–level your online screen presence to create a more professional image, increase engagement, improve rapport, and elevate your brand by aligning everything in your Zoom box. Shelley is from 4th generation at a clothing and fashion business. She’s lived in Europe and the Middle East for fifteen years. Her rich experience as an image consultant, fashion stylist, costume designer, costume historian, tailor, and certified color consultant puts her in a unique category. She understands what it takes to create a powerful and successful image, both in-person and online. She’s one of my favorite people and I consult her all the time for advice. This is now for the interview with Shelley Golden.
Shelley Golden, welcome back to the show.
Thank you. I’m so glad to be here.
I‘m so excited to have you here. The interview that I did with you in April of 2020 when we were all starting to work from home has been one of the most downloaded interviews that I have. I want to ask you how your thinking and styling have evolved since we’ve been working from home and it looks like the work from home is going to continue. Before we do that, I’d like to ask you about your dream interview. If you were to share the stage with somebody who’s no longer with us, who would it be? What would you ask them? Who should be listening?
If I had to share the stage with somebody at this point, the name that popped into my head is Coco Chanel. She was radical, a fashion designer, and an influencer up for a time in the ’20s. Why do I bring her up? Her name has been popping in my head. We’re in COVID. We’re all stuck inside. Everybody can’t wait to get outside. I’m a costume historian. I think back to 1918 when they had the Spanish flu. It was World War I and the Spanish flu. Many people died. What happened after that? The Roaring Twenties. In the clothing and social spheres, it was radical. It was almost like the Summer of Love. It was like Party City in terms of clothing.
Chanel played a huge role in this. These dresses and skirts were the shortest. There were more arms and legs exposed than ever in history, except for maybe the Garden of Eden if you believe in the Garden of Eden. Women’s clothing had no shape to them. It was a little bit like boyish, they called it at that time. No courses, freewheeling, dancing, singing, and sex. We were like, “That sounds great at this point.” I’m relating 100 years ago to what we’re hoping will happen once we’re out of COVID. Coco was a huge influencer in the shapeless course of this clothing hung on a woman’s body. They bound their breasts flat to give that flat look so she could drape all the different jewelry altogether. If you think of the way people are dressing now, it’s very androgynous. It‘s not that men are dressing more like women. Women are starting to wear men’s clothing. Jeans and T-shirts are men’s clothing.
That’s been going on for decades.
It was more and more. That was what was happening. If you walk down the street, you see so often if a man and woman are walking, they’re wearing practically the same clothing. They have different shapes underneath, but it’s a black T-shirt and blue jeans. That’s why I would want to interview her to see where her mindset was coming out of this COVID period into this exciting influential period of the 1920s.
The other cool thing about Coco Chanel is that I would be interested in interviewing her later in life looking back on that, what did she see, and how did the little black dress, which I believe was in the 1950s. Those little black dresses, the ’50s, ’60s?
Yes, there are definitely in the ’50s, but a lot of that started in the ’20s.
Shelley, let’s get back to the work that you do with The Zoom Makeovers. They‘re makeovers for those of us who are online on computers, talking to videos all day long. What you look like and your background, how does that increase your online engagement and improve trustworthiness?
The way we look, as I call it, in our Zoom box tells everything. It’s our painting. It’s our business card. It’s the shape of our business card. Sometimes it’s square. Sometimes it’s a little more rectangular. It’s our calling card. When you were designing your business card, you were designing the logo. You’ve got the colors, shape, and format. How big is your name? Do you have your picture on it? It’s the same calling card. When you and I are in a meeting and people are talking to us, we’re sharing information, giving presentations part of a group, they’re not just looking at what’s in the middle of the Zoom box. They’re looking at the entire Zoom box. What’s behind you matters as much as you.
I mentioned this in our previous interview and I’ll say it again. I lived in Amsterdam for ten years. When I lived there, I studied the Dutch masters and the impressionists. Especially with the Dutch masters, there was always a foreground, midground, and background. They showed you where they want you to look with subliminal lines. Even in my box, I’ve got this little round flower. I have my new pink, lightweight, little round glasses. We had a circle on the edge of the cabinet. It’s tic-tac-toe diagonal. It’s subliminal, but you see the tic-tac-toe once I pointed it out in my eye to the middle. I also have another tic-tac-toe. Again, where do I want you to look? I want you to look here. I’ve got this rectangular plane. I’ve got another rectangular plane here. Again, connecting the dots, my eyes are in the middle. I’m forcing you to look at me. I’m also forcing you to look down at my torso so you can read my nonverbal cues. That’s super important. The background also says a lot about you.
Why do we need to take the time and the effort to do this? How does it affect our business?
The way it affects our business is that it helps people engage with you. The one thing that we’re missing is we’re missing that interpersonal communication. If we can increase it in any way, that’s ideal. What I aim for is that it feels like you and I are sitting on the other side of the table, chatting. That’s what feels comfortable if you can see me with a light on my face, well–lit, something that looks nice behind me, but isn’t distracting. There is no reflection. There’s not a light that’s shining. It’s not a mess behind me. When you want to talk to somebody and engage with them, the last thing you need is to go, “Look at that messy room. Look at that horrible piece of art.”
We do. I noticed how messy people’s backgrounds are. Yes, it‘s true.
The whole family is walking back and forth there. It was like, “Are those kids? Are they ten-year–old kids or fifteen-year-old kids?” You want to eliminate all the distractions. Having a neat background is important. Quite often, people have certificates or diplomas on the walls behind them that often if you’ve got a light on your face, it’s shining on the piece of glass, reflecting the light. It’s distracting. You want to eliminate the distractions, including the reflection in your glasses. My little trick is to have the lights on your sides at 10:00 and 2:00 crossing over your face. It hits both sides and doesn’t hit your glasses.
Another thing that’s nice to have in your background if you can, if you have a real background or sometimes if you have a physical backdrop, you can as well, is to have some plant or flower. The reason I say that is when we want to calm down, chill out, and reset our brains, we go for a walk in the forest or nature because it’s green. Plants are calming. Whether you have a tall plant or a short little flower like I do, it makes the whole environment warmer. You and I are going to sit, meet, and have a drink or talk about business. We would go to someplace that has a nice ambiance. We’re not going to go to someplace cold that has no ambiance unless that’s the ambiance that you’re in the mood for at the time. There are some plants and flowers. It feels nicer. It’s inviting people into your home and that’s what you want. You want to invite them into your home. Make them feel like you’re sitting on the other side of the table.The way you look at the Zoom box tells everything. It's your painting. It's your business card. Click To Tweet
That makes me think about one of the things when I’m working with presenters. In your presentation, only 7% of what people perceive from you comes from your words. The other 93% is how you show up. The visual is so important. How you show up affects how people perceive you, both consciously and unconsciously. This is so much more than style. This is also how do we elevate our brand, for instance. How do you do that?
First of all, when you look good and are dressed well, people will always pay you more money. If they think you’re successful, they will pay you more money. If you stand out, if they can read not only your face but your nonverbal body language, they will engage with you more and then perhaps hire you. You’ll have more trust if they can read your nonverbal communication as you’re sitting back. First of all, you shrink. It doesn’t necessarily feel like you’re sitting across the table if I were sitting up close to attention. You want to elevate yourself. You want to lean in and elevate your brand. The brand is the way people remember you. If you want people to remember you like this, “She’s always not caring,” versus someone who’s leaning in, interested, and right there, it elevates your brand. They will remember you as someone who was interested, present, and paying attention to you in what you’re saying and engaging in important dialogue.
That also matters whether if you’re in a corporate environment or an entrepreneur. It also affects whether people take you seriously or they respect you. Certainly, I have seen people who are getting paid a great deal of money to do what they do. They show up incredibly sloppily at their meetings. I thought, “How are we going to respect you if you show up looking like a schlub, looking like you didn’t bother to brush your hair?” Is there a difference between the way we speak online in America and internationally? There are so many people who are doing international calls these days.
Again, it’s fine–tuning. It’s small differences. I’ve been in the international community. You’re in the international community. First of all, you need to make sure that your diction is very clear. That’s important because even if there’s just you and the other person on the call, you want to make sure that you’re enunciating very clearly that they can understand you. Also, for women, I quite often recommend wearing a little bit of lipstick, a little bit of lip color so that they can read your lips in case there’s what I call a little nano–blip. The sound went out, “What did you say?” Sometimes you don’t want to interrupt something like, “Did she say this? Did she say that? Now, she’s onto something else.” Elizabeth, you and I have talked about this a number of times if you want to be able to see your lips and see that you’re talking.
You also want to respect different cultures. It’s better to be a little bit more formal if you’re dealing internationally because you don’t know who else is going to be seeing this whether it’s an interview, a meeting, a podcast, or whatever it may be. It’s better to show up generally in international circles, especially in Europe. Quite often, homes in Asia are a little more minimalistic. You don’t want to have too many blingy things in your background. It’s better to be a little more simple in your background and in your choice of what you have back there.
Books are always a great idea. I’m a big fan of bookshelves. If you have bookshelves behind you, I have a couple of tips. First of all, you don’t want to have all dark bindings because what happens is that it becomes a black hole. If you have books with different color bindings, you might want to stagger the colors so that people can identify that they are books as opposed to too much black. Even if it’s dark brown or navy blue, you want to stagger them.
Additionally, one of the things I try to do is I was talking about perspective and trying to always focus on your eyes. If you have bookshelves, sometimes you only have them on one side or both sides. If you put the tallest books on the outside and clip the shortest books closest to your eyes on an angle, it’s a little bit like having an arrow pointing directly to your eyes. Angle it down from tallest to shortest, with the shortest next to your eyes.
Let’s talk a little bit about green screens. I work with a lot of women in tech. They’re working from home. They have a kid behind them on the other side of the green screen who’s doing his Math homework. I have a branded green screen now. Shelley helped me design the outfit. Shelley was my stylist for this. I’m now thinking, “Maybe I should change the background and put flowers on it.” How do we think about green screens and branding?
Are you asking about virtual backgrounds or actual green?
I was talking about a virtual background on a green screen.
The green screen is just the green screen.
The green screen is the surface on which the virtual background is projected.
Many people need a virtual background. As you said, they might have kids on the other side. They might be in their garage because that’s the only place that was available in their home. Many of us are working from home these days. A couple of things, you don’t want it to be such a bright color that it’s so distracting. You don’t want the image to be big and distracting that people are going to be checking out the image and not being able to pay attention to you because they’re so distracted. Quite often, this is one of the things that Elizabeth and I spoke about. When you put your branding like Elizabeth has Speakers Who Get Results. When you put them on your branding, I often say, “Take your hands. Put them like this. It’s like, ‘Okay, I give up.‘” That’s where you want your branding.
Your hands next to your face.
Put your hands up in an, “Okay, I give up. Don’t shoot,“ type of position where your hands are, which it would be next to your eyes. That’s where you want the wording so that people will see the wording. Again, it’s right next to your eyes. You want people to be looking at your eyes, in the small little bullseye between your eyes and your mouth. That’s an ideal place. I have mine in a lower position which is above my shoulder. I have it strategically placed there because I have another rectangular plane on the other side of me. I have this painting. I wanted to create this diagonal so that my eyes would be in the middle of these two rectangular planes.
There are two more mistakes on that particular subject because I see them a lot. Sometimes, people put these screens that you see like the Academy Awards and different companies. They’ll have their name very small all over. It’s distracting. I don’t think you need that in a Zoom, Webex, or Teams situation. If you have your branding listed once, that’s good enough. Another issue that I come across is so often that people are making a gray background and putting their branding on that. The problem with usually light gray is it washes you out. It takes all the color. It sucks all the color out of your skin. Everybody that I’ve ever seen on a gray background looks a little bit washed out. I would stay away from gray, very bright colors, and white.
I was surprised to discover that pink, which looks great on me in person, turns into white on the screen.
Yes, especially light pink. Anything like light pink, very light blue, even creamy colors, or anything that’s light will always look light because the camera is looking for the lightest thing and balancing out the light from there. You think I have a red jacket on. I have a fuchsia jacket on, but it looks red on the screen. Of course, it’s in the pink family. You need to be very careful of your light colors. You also want to be very careful of wearing any dark-dark colors unless you have a light background behind you. Why? Again, you want to be in the foreground so that people will focus on you as a separate entity. If you’re wearing something that’s dark, unless you have a white background, you’re going to blend into the background. People won’t be able to read your nonverbal cues, which is important in being able to convey your message, create that rapport, and build trust so that you can elevate your brand.Elevate your brand and yourself. These are the ways people remember you. Click To Tweet
Shelley Golden, this has been amazing. What you need to do is check out her website at Shelley Golden Style to see all examples of the work that she does. I know so many people who have had Zoom makeovers with you and you said, “You look great.” She said, “Yes, I hired Shelley Golden and she helped me fix it.” I read across people who know you all the time. The last time I saw them, they looked scattered and now they look fabulous. It was because of the work that you’ve done. Shelley, if there is one thing someone could do to start thinking about how to address the way they look, increasing rapport, engagement, and building up their personal brand on a video call, what would be one thing? Where could somebody start?
The most important thing and it’s the first place that you want to start is having a light on your face equally distributed on both sides. I see people all the time. They might have either a ring light. It’s reflected in their eyes. They might have light coming in from their window. It’s only on one side of your face. When the light is even on both sides of your face, it‘s easier to build a relationship and have a rapport with somebody because they’re not distracted with, “I could see that one side of her face is dark and one side is light.” It eliminates that distraction. That’s the one piece of advice I would give to anybody who wants to start. Get some lights, 10:00, 2:00, a little bit higher than your eyes. Angle down toward your face.
Shelley Golden, you are my go-to person for style and question and all of this. I’m so happy to have you back on Speakers Who Get Results. I’m delighted to have you. I highly recommend people checking out her work and what she does. This has been the Speakers Who Get Results show. I want to remind you that if you’re curious about your presentation skills and where you are strong, you can take my free assessment, my free quiz at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. It only takes four minutes. That’s where you can see where your presentation skills are strong and where a little bit of support might help you get the results and the recognition that you need. Thank you very much, Shelley.
Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure. You are also my go-to person.
This has been Elizabeth Bachman. I’ll see you at the next one.
- Shelley Golden Style
- Zoom Makeover
- Interview – Improving Your Video Presence: Beyond The Basics For Your Video Calls With Shelley E. Golden
About Shelley Golden
Shelley Golden is an International Personal Branding Image Consultant, Fashion Stylist and Certified Color Consultant with more than 20 years of experience and is the owner of Shelley Golden Style. As a result of COVID 19, Shelley created The Zoom Makeover, a 5-step process to help up-level your online screen presence to create a more professional image, increase engagement, improve rapport and elevate your brand by aligning everything in your zoom box. As 4th generation in the clothing and fashion business and having lived in Europe and the Middle East for 15 years, Shelley’s rich experience as an image consultant, fashion stylist, costume designer, costume historian, tailor and certified color consultant puts her in a unique category to understand what it takes to create a powerful and successful image both in-person and on-line.