How’s Your ‘Thumbnail’?

TEDx for BLOGI just finished shooting a quick video message for a client. If you have ever had this experience, you know that once you are finished and ready to post the video on YouTube, you are offered a selection of ‘thumbnails’ from which to choose. A thumbnail? is internet slang for a small freeze frame (picture) from your video.

I am always amazed how the thumbnail options from which I have to choose are almost inevitably ones that are less than flattering. My mouth is wide open, my eyes are closed, or I have an expression on my face that would frighten small children!

Then I started thinking about this a bit more deeply. The only reason those thumbnail options are offered to me is BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I LOOK WHEN I AM SPEAKING!

I’ve always been animated – especially when I am speaking on a topic that excites me. Some might argue that this animation is an asset in my profession as a speaker. ?But what about in my life in general? How’s my thumbnail in everyday life, I wonder.

I caught my reflection in a window the other day. I had a ‘concerned’ look on my face. I had, indeed, been thinking of something important in my life – something serious – and it was literally ‘written all over my face’. I wonder what people who saw that expression thought of me. Might they be drawing conclusions about my friendliness and my approachability?

How about you? How’s your thumbnail, right now? Is it a picture of approachability? Is it a message of openness? Is it one that inspires confidence from your manager? Is it a thumbnail that engages trust? Is it a face that the people you care about hope to see?

I remember hearing Maya Angelou?being interviewed a few years ago. My children were ‘tweens‘ at the time. She said something that really resonated with me. ‘Do your eyes light up when your child walks into the room?’ I had to take a real, hard look at myself as a parent when I heard that. I think – often – I was so focused on what needed to be done, that I forgot to pause and just appreciate them walking in the door (so that my eyes could light up with gratitude before I started barking orders about what needed to be done).

I also thought about whether or not my eyes light up when I see my husband, when I get together with my girlfriends, and when I meet with a client. I hope they do.

I am certainly not suggesting that you have to walk around all day every day with a huge smile plastered on your face, just so people don’t think you are cranky. I am suggesting, however, that you increase your awareness of what’s written all over your face. What would your face communicate if it were suddenly freeze-framed?

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment here. Even better, send a photo to, post it on Facebook or Linkedin (tag me at Deri Latimer – and connect with me, if we are not already connected), or post it on Twitter with #mythumbnail and tag me @derilatimer.

A TEDx speaker and organizational consultant in all things people, Deri Latimer provides inspiration and information to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!



6 Replies to “How’s Your ‘Thumbnail’?”

  1. Great reminder Deri! I became aware of this when I worked at a bank and this girl I was just finishing training told me how much I scared her when we first starting working together. I was shocked, to say the least, and asked her why she was afraid of me. She said I always looked really serious and intimidating…sometimes my eyes were like razors! I couldn’t believe it. I like to think I’m pretty low key, friendly and approachable…but what’s going on inside definitely wasn’t matching what I was showing to the world. I try to pay more attention now and thought I was doing better, but then I think about all my funky thumb-nails…

  2. Great ‘thumbnail’! When I attended GMC, the pastor’s wife’s eyes alighted each time she would greet me … I’m sure she greeted others just like that, but every time we met, her eyes danced with joy. She made me feel missed and so welcomed each Sunday morning.

  3. Love the photo! Mine would be similar but without an awesome hair-do. I can get pretty animated when speaking as well. My best friend lovingly calls it my “muppet mode.” I can go from brooding and serious to muppet in seconds. A good reminder that I need to work on my thumbnail. Thanks for the insightful post as always!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *