C-Suite Network™

Best Practices Leadership Marketing Skills

Dressing Well for the Camera

Video is the new black. It has forged to the forefront of marketing campaigns and is seen as the best platform to get your message out. Written content and audio are still great, but video brings in the component of both visual and audio communication. As noted in my book, I.C.U., The Comprehensive Guide to Breathing Life Back Into Your Personal Brand, humans are wired to interpret things visually first. It is the most dominant of our senses. So how you appear on camera matters. There will be a time when you will be in front of a video camera, whether it is creating video marketing content, being interviewed as the CEO of your company, or presenting to an audience. I want to make sure you are prepared to bring forth your best self visually.

I partnered with Nancy Morrisey, Vice President of Mirage Productions in New Jersey to gain insight on what her production company recommends to video clients. “No black, white, or vertical stripes” is Nancy’s first piece of advice she offers her clients. Below is a collaboration of her input and my 20+ years of expertise as a brand manager, personal brand strategist, image consultant, and professionally trained model.

Color and Pattern

  • BEST COLOR CHOICES: Gray, Navy, Light Blue, Royal Blue, Brown, Purple, Pink, Pastels
  • COLORS TO AVOID: Black, White

Mid- to deep tone colors work best. It is a good idea to do a pop of color. For example, if you choose a gray jacket, put a royal blue or purple shirt underneath, or a red or purple necktie.

If possible, know what the background color will be. If there will be a green screen, then you must avoid wearing green.

Red and orange can be hard on camera as they have a tendency to glow. If you choose to wear red, make sure it is a dark red.

High contrast such as black and white together is very hard on camera and can cause problems for the camera to balance exposure properly as is the case of wearing all black or all white. The same black and white contrast principal holds true with contrast between your skin coloring and clothing color. If you have very light skin, avoid wearing a dark color and vice versa.

Solids work best. Stripes, pinstripes, herringbone, corduroy, and polka dots cause a camera to jump and create a moiré effect making the garment look like it is moving.

If you will be on set, I always recommend bringing one backup outfit. You never know if you will spill something on yourself or have a wardrobe malfunction. Also, sometimes you do not know in advance what the background will be and you don’t want to clash with it. So a backup outfit comes in handy.

Shape, Fit, and Line

Make sure your clothing fits your shape nicely and smoothly. Any wrinkling or bulging will only be emphasized on camera. The tighter the clothing, the larger you appear. Anything loose or ill-fitting will add weight to you and make you appear sloppy. Clean lines and silhouettes are always best. Avoid plunging necklines. Wear something that is comfortable to you. If you don’t, that will come across in your body language on camera. It can be hot under the lights, so wearing a lighter weight fabric will keep you from sweating.

Ladies, if you are going to be sitting during an on-camera interview, check your skirt length in a sitting position beforehand as the skirt length will rise up a bit when you are sitting.

Accessories and Grooming

Minimal jewelry is always appropriate. Shiny jewelry can be hard for a camera. However, as Nancy encourages, if you have an heirloom or special piece of jewelry, by all means, wear it.

Hair should be smooth and not fussy. Flyaway hair is easily seen on camera. In a pinch, hand lotion rubbed on your hands can quickly smooth flyaway hair.

Gone are the days where heavy makeup is required. Keep it simple and do wear a lip color, but keep it in a matte finish. No shiny lip gloss or lip balm. You will want to keep some translucent powder or blotting tissue on hand to touch up any shine.

Cameras can pick up on every piece of facial hair, so be sure you have shaved properly or plucked stray hairs.

Facial Exercises

It is good practice to warm up your mouth with facial exercises. This helps alleviate any nervous twitching of the mouth and allows your face to relax and smile. The facial exercises I was taught in modeling school are the ones I continue to use today. Say each vowel out loud and open your mouth as wide as possible as you are saying the vowel, stretching your mouth and facial muscles as much as possible. Repeat this over and over until you feel loosened up. This is also a tip to use before stepping onto a stage to speak.

Stay True to Brand

The rules above are meant to be a guide. Staying true to your personal brand is always encouraged.

I help executives create a powerful image and brand so they look and feel confident wherever they are. Contact me at sheila@imagepowerplay.com to schedule a 20-minute call to discuss how we can work together to grow your visibility through my return on image® services.

Growth Management Personal Development

Executive Leadership Tips to Reshape Company Culture

For many leaders and senior-level executives, the phrase “company culture” may sound like a soft, feel-good slogan, but in fact research shows that having a positive work culture is a hard core business practice.

Maybe you’ve actually bought into the importance of your work culture, however, it’s tempting to look for the “hack” for creating your optimal company culture. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just click on the ‘download’ button and, after just a few short minutes (depending on your wifi connection), voila, your new company culture would be installed?

Company culture is created slowly and improves slowly, like a good thick gumbo. Like most southern Louisiana cooking, it’s not finished in the blink of an eye, and it will take some time – and effort – to perfect a recipe.

If your employee engagement is down, gossip is running rampant, and your team members are not trusting one another, efforts will need to begin with a cohesive, committed, collaborative leadership team. Notice I didn’t say you should start with a strategic plan. That’s where many team leaders start, and that’s their first mistake.

All of the strategies and all of the plans in the world won’t work if your leadership team is pulling against one another instead of all rowing in the same direction.

I work with executive leadership teams to help them to function effectively so that they can achieve results in a much shorter time frame. Once we’ve accomplished that, then we get to work on strategy.

Think about what kind of experience you want to create for your customers and then what kind of environment you want to cultivate for your employees. The two are intertwined.

Try these steps to reshape your company culture:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Southwest Airlines experienced a major computer outage right before my flight. Needless to say, there were delays, passengers were, uh, cranky, and stress was high. Once in flight, our flight attendant had everyone in stitches, served drinks on the house, and literally turned what could have been a nightmare into a pleasant experience. Southwest has worked hard to build a fun company culture. Team members are given latitude and encouraged to express their sense of humor. Throw some spice and spirit into your workplace culture wherever you can. Throw a mini office parade next time your team hits a mile-marker, complete with noise-makers, music, and beads to toss.

Place people over profits. Your team members will treat your customers no better than you treat your employees. Take an interest in your people. Ask what they’re working on, struggling with, what stresses they face. Talk to them about their learning and growth goals.

Know what business you’re in. Zappo’s is not just in the shoe business and Harley Davidson is not just in the motorcycle business. These CEO’s are all about creating exceptional experiences for their customers. Ensure that your employees understand the business they’re in and this will drive the company’s work culture.

Provide challenging work. Studies show that ease is actually a path to dissatisfaction. In fact, when it gets easy, we tend to check out. Provide work that allows team members to stretch their super powers and use their strengths to make them feel valued.

Ask employees what you could be doing better. Don’t assume that no news is good news. Ask for feedback. Ask how the work environment could be improved. Ask what employees like and dislike about their jobs. Ask, ask, ask. Then listen, listen, listen and then take action to make improvements.

Improving your company culture can seem daunting, but you can do it by consistently applying these practices over time. The message must come from you, the leader, and be consistent throughout all levels of the organization. Oh, and in case you didn’t pick up on that, consistency is the key.


  • What are some areas where you’d like to improve?
  • What would you add to this list?
  • How you created a positive company culture in your organization?
  • Leave a comment below and share your insights with our community.
Growth Management Personal Development Technology

Do or Don’t Do, Complain is Not an Option

Recently I wrote an article about why compliance is good and how it can drive security. After I wrote it I saw a conversation on LinkedIn where security professionals talking a lot of crap about compliance and I thought, “ was I wrong?” That was a fleeting thought and I knew I wasn’t wrong in what I had written, but I also knew that we can’t keep complaining about the situation, talk shit, or roll our eyes; we actually have to do something that will impact change or we are just part of the problem.

So what can we do about making a change so that compliance has a positive impact on security?

Let’s start with the reason compliance gets such a bad wrap. Security professionals don’t see compliance help improve the security posture of an organization and organizational leaders see it as a cost for something they don’t understand.

It looks something like this: 1) the organizational leaders have a bad attitude about it, thinking “it won’t happen to me” and do the bare minimum for compliance in order to stay in business and avoid fines, 2) businesses are run by business people and they may not truly understand there is a difference between compliance and security, and/or 3) due to the attitude or lack of understanding they don’t provide the resources needed (people, budget, time).

For the leaders, let’s be real anything that can happen to the other guy can happen to you too. If Target, Sony, Whole Foods, Equifax, and so many more it would take an entire article to list them all (you’ve read the headlines) can be hacked, so can you.

For the security and compliance professionals, if executives don’t understand the difference between compliance and security are we really doing our job? Are making their lives easier or harder? Are we just selling them something and leaving or are we really advising and consulting?

No one this world is immune to bad things happening, but these two groups together can do something to improve the odds.

When these two groups come closer together in understanding, conversation, collaboration, and implementation we will actually start to move the needle.

The point of this short article is not a big how to list or more checkboxes. It is an awareness piece. If you are reading this as an executive you have a responsibility to learn more about how compliance and security are implemented in your organization. You must provide the necessary resources.

If you are a security or compliance professional how can you help your clients navigate this so that it isn’t so hard, so expensive, and so daunting? What can you do to help them operationalize security and compliance and make it part of doing business?

I don’t have all the answers, no one does, but we have to start talking about it. We have to stop complaining and start acting. We don’t have to know how we just have to know it’s possible and that is’t important, but we have start having different conversations. What problem are we really trying to solve and who wants to take real responsibility for solving it?

If you want to further this discussion I welcome a conversation, I want to help come up with the answers that I don’t have. I can’t do it alone because there are much smarter people than me out there. But until enough of us come together to solve the problem and for that matter identify what the problem really is, not much is going to change.

Email sharon@c-suiteresults.com so we can talk in more detail.

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