Connecting to your audience – especially when you’re physically not in the same room – is critical to successfully getting your message across.

So when it comes to recording and sending video messages, how do you make the person on the other end feel like you’re talking directly to them?

Maintain direct eye contact.

When recording videos with a webcam or an iPhone, it’s natural for most people to look at the screen and not at the camera. However, when that gets translated on your viewer’s screen, it makes it look like you’re looking at their chest or to the side of them, which comes across as rude. If you want to make a solid connection, don’t look at yourself or down at your notes– no matter how tempted you are!

30% of consumers admit to spending more than 50% of their video calls staring at their own face.

– Zogby Analytics

Maintaining eye contact with the camera builds a stronger connection with your viewer. Here are some tips to make it a little easier:

Tip 1: Find your spot with your finger, then hit record

Looking directly at the camera seems like a no-brainer. In reality, most people just don’t know exactly where to look. How do you find the right spot? Move your finger in front of your device’s camera lens to pinpoint where you should be looking. Keep your eyes there the entire time.

Tip 2: Trick yourself to look at the camera

Put something with eyes, or a tape a picture of someone above your camera. That way you look at that object when you’re talking, which will translate as if you’re looking directly in the lens.

Tip 3: Use sticky note prompts

Again, the goal is to try and eliminate distractions so you spend more time looking directly into the camera. There’s almost nothing more distracting that listening to (and watching) someone shuffle paper and constantly look down at their notes while they’re talking on screen. Ideally, you’ve thought through what you want to say and hopefully rehearsed it before hitting the record button, but if you still need a little help, take time to position sticky note prompts on your screen or tape notes close to your camera lens. That way you can reference important points without breaking too much eye contact. Try it out. You’ll see these easy eye contact tricks can help to make your video message seem infinitely more sincere to the person on the other end and get you better results in your next video email campaign!