Thursday 21 October 2021

Look Good, Sound Good, and Be Good on Video Calls!


Help your audience better understand you and what you're saying.

Have you been on a video call when a speaker talked so fast that you couldn't understand what they were saying? Or, when they spoke so quietly, you couldn't hear them, even after turning up your volume up to the max?

It soon became apparent. The speaker was rattled! 

Their gestures were frenetic. They stared wistfully at some distant planet as their voice grew shaky! Soon 'ums, you know's, and, as I said before's' were salted between meaningful content.  

Friday 17 September 2021

Canadian Election 2021 Leaders TV Debates Media Interviews - What Did Their Bodies Say?

What does body language tell you about what a politician is really saying? Quite a lot, actually. 

Through the years I've been asked many times by various media to analyze the body language of federal or provincial Canadian party leaders as they debated each other on TV, radio, or online.

They are thrown into a boiling cauldron where every facial expression, every blink, every gesture, every turn, and every nuance is magnified by a forest of cameras.

Go to Page 2 to click and listen to each interview.

Political Theatre

Debates are live which means anything can go wrong at any time and usually does. A political debate is a high form of theatre for political junkies.

That is why leaders are coached, rehearsed, and then coached again. In Canada, the process is elevated because the leaders must participate in two debates, one in French and the other in English.

In every debate, one or more of the leaders rise above the rest. The greatest fear is saying something boneheaded, assuming a weak physical position or making an odd gesture that could win or lose the election.

When I am asked by the media to analyze body language, I note subtle - or not so subtle - signals that could make the difference in shaping people's impressions in Election 2021. I try to be unbiased.

While the purpose of a debate is to focus on ideas, they also provide great content for 24 hr news cycles and social media. The goal of each leader's PR team is to capture that one clip that will rocket their candidate to the front of the line.

Thursday 29 July 2021

11 Power Reads Just for You. Top Brandit Posts for 2020/2021! +BONUS

11 great summer reads for summer relaxation.

I love helping people! In fact, I can truly say that helping others is one reason I get up in the morning.

There is no doubt the world of COVID turned lives upside down. Our family was forced to separate geographically due to dramatic changes in the economy.

I know company owners whose businesses thrived during COVID. They were able to pivot quickly to making PPE early into the lockdown.

But, as time progressed, they lost employees due to the disease and were hit by severe raw product shortages. So, if you weren't negatively impacted in some way, you were fortunate.

A Time for Learning

Many used COVID time as growing time. The forced quarantine was a time to learn. I am grateful that more people have read my Brandit posts and engaged with my content on Twitter and LinkedIn than ever before.

Top 11 Posts

Below are the most-read Brandit posts of 2020-2021 for you to enjoy once again. If you enjoy reading them, please comment.

While the numbers are gratifying, I appreciate most the telephone calls, emails, or blog comments from readers like you.

I've also received personal comments during social occasions, which is so cool. The conversation usually gravitates to blogging in general and analytics in particular. Below are the basics.

Thursday 8 July 2021

Yahoo! Tips to Help You Survive the Post COVID Calgary Stampede Networking Marathon

Networking happens everywhere at the Calgary Stampede!

Written by Robyn T. Braley 

First impressions are everything. But so are last impressions. Make sure both are the best that they can be! Don't be known as, "That cowboy, cowgirl or buckeroo who ..."

Throwing up on the boss’s spouse during an awkward attempt to hit on him or her is not how you want to be remembered after the companies Stampede barbecue. It's just not!

Stampede is hard to describe to people who have never been there. The Calgary Stampede is more of an all-encompassing, fully engaged experience, than an event confined to a single geographic location. Stampede is close to being spiritual, in a cowboy sort of way. 

For decades the Calgary Stampede was billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth. This year, not so much. 

We don't know what to expect as far as attendance in 2021. There will be thousands, just not many, many thousands for this year's scaled-down version.  

Harsh Realities

Lower attendance and a scaled-down Stampede are not due to a lack of interest. It is because of travel restrictions and the inability for visitors to plan ahead due to the unknowns of COVID that the total attendance will be limited. 

Thursday 1 July 2021

15 Reasons Why I am Proud to Be a Canadian

Written by Robyn T. Braley

I can't believe another Canada Day is here. For many, July 1st is also the official launch of summer. They book off several days and celebrate with friends and family in the mountains, at the lake, in local parks, or in their backyards.

July 1st, 2021 takes on special significance as most provinces have targeted this day to seriously lift COVID restrictions. It's a great Canada Day, eh?

Some reading this are Canadians living in other parts of the world. Wherever you are, Happy Canada Day!

Others reading this are not Canadians, although you live here. Many of you are reading this as citizens of other countries. 

You may have observed that Canadian's aren't usually pushy or loud about being Canadian. However, we feel our patriotism deeply. We just don't always talk about it.

We love our nation and are proud to be Canadians. What moves me the most is listening to the stories of new Canadians – either recent or from decades ago - explaining what it means to be a citizen. It is easy to take for granted the many benefits and blessings offered by our country.   

Tuesday 15 June 2021

You too can be a Garage Sale Guru! Tips for Garage Sale Success


Your basement is filled with treasures. Well, you call them treasures. Your family calls them junk. 

There are so many things taking up so much space there is no clear path to – well – anywhere!

The die is cast. A date is chosen and the process of organizing your garage sale begins. 

Click For Full Post - Tips, Ideas, Background

Find answers to these 5 key questions.

  1. What is the secret for a successful Garage Sale?
  2. How do I decide what to sell? 
  3. Do I really need to price each important?
  4. How important are signs?

Saturday 5 June 2021

Beware! The Ultimate Canadian Donut Rush

Canadians are very Canadian when it comes to loving donuts!

On a recent world donut day, I was listening to the Calgary CBC Eye Opener as hosts David Gray and Angela Knight helped us celebrate.

Listeners were texting and emailing their favorite sweet treat. As the volume increased the tone of the messages became harsher and there was a real danger the conversation might spiral out of control and into a full-on viral donut war! For the record, mine is an apple fritter.

The idea of a revolution caused by donuts would be hard to imagine in any part of the world but Canada. We love our donuts!

Monday 31 May 2021

Position Your Body on Video Calls and Look like a Pro

How you position yourself on video calls directly affects engagement. 

Written by Robyn T. Braley

How you look on screen is determined by lighting, camera position, and what you wear. Conference speakers and tutorial presenters may even require light facial makeup in some situations (Note shiny bald spots). But, it's how you position yourself that makes the greatest impact. 

We have now spent 18 months locked in a virtual world. While COVID protocols may soon be further relaxed, video calls will be with us forever! That means we must constantly strive to look and sound better in the virtual world. 

Why? Let me repeat. First impressions are everything in Virtual Land.

In my last post about lighting, I stated the obvious. People who see you on a zoom call consciously or unconsciously compare you to TV Anchors.

That’s not a bad thing. Television professionals spend many hours refining every element of their look and performance so that viewers will only think about what they are saying. 

Side screen, off-screen, floating heads, and nose hairs don't cut it. 

Onscreen body positioning involves trial and error to find what is right for you in your space. In my previous 2 posts, I talked about lighting and sound. But, getting those elements right doesn't matter if you're too close or too far away from your webcam.

Body positioning is the secret sauce that will make you look like a pro. In the virtual world, perception is reality!

Thursday 22 April 2021

Video Call Lighting - 12 Tips to Make You Look Better

Tips to help you improve the way you look on video calls!

Lighting options, light positioning, light influencers 

Written by Robyn T. Braley

First impressions are everything! The quality of your video call lighting will determine how people see you.

People form an instant opinion about you based on how you look online! If your image is too dark or too bright, that makes a statement. Ultimately, lighting influences how others receive the messages and ideas you try to communicate.

Before getting stressed about lighting though, relax. Solutions may be simpler than you think.

My tips will improve the quality of your video calls. All you need is an open mind and the patience to try different options. 

Some lighting tips cost nothing. Others cost less than $100. 

In This Post

  • Natural Lighting
  • Available Lighting
  • Home-made Lighting
  • Professional Lighting
  • Light Diffusers
  • What to Wear

Sunday 28 February 2021

Seven Easy Steps to Improve Your Voice Quality on Video Calls

Written by Robyn T. Braley

The New Reality

Video conferencing has become a matter of necessity due to the COVI9-19 experience. As it became commonplace, we began to better understand the communication needs of the virtual space. 

Whether you speak to an audience of 1 or 100, your sound quality makes a statement about you. If people can't understand you, they can't engage with your ideas and opinions.  

Audiences will make allowances for poor visuals but will not tolerate shoddy audio. My purpose in this post is to help you improve the sound of your voice on video calls. 

Thursday 28 January 2021

55 Original Quotes to Uplift, Inspire and Chase Away the COVID Blues

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Those who follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook know that I write original quotes. I’ve written about 700 and add to the list almost every day.

My plan was to post periodic articles featuring them. However, the need for other content always seems to take precedent. With the news we’ve had recently, now is the time.

If you need to be encouraged, inspired, or amused, this post is for you! Perhaps you are experiencing deep sadness and need to be reminded there is hope. Or, maybe you just need a laugh.
If you are active on social media, please cut and paste any of my quotes and post them as your content. I've made it easy by dividing them into topics and including my name with each one. 

We are living in yet another COVID-19 lockdown—world economies have punished some while rewarding others. Political systems that are considered unshakable are under threat from insurrectionists. Our outlook is made worse by the paralyzing fear of the unknown. 

Think Differently 

A timely quote can cause you to think differently. A few wise words can inspire you to turn your life around and take a new path. 

In a moment of desperation, a simple phrase can give you hope where none existed. In a moment of great accomplishment, a quote can sum up in a few words what you are feeling inside.