Acting the part is half the battle

There are always plenty of things to consider when making a licence application: Can you show you’re a competent, experienced person? Have you got all the issues around safety, security and personnel in place? Are all the dots and crosses in place around the premises, the hours requested, the hygiene?

If you’re working with Complete Licensing, we will guide you through all of these processes and, of course, make sure there are no issues around your application. But there’s something else you can do to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible – look and act the part.

Common sense will tell you that a scruffy T-shirt and five-day stubble are not going to get the licensing authorities onside, but smartening up is just one aspect of what you can do to make the right impression at a hearing – in person or on camera, and whether you’re an applicant, a witness or even an observer.

Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and present yourself in the best way, and to appear respectful and courteous during the proceedings:

  • Look the part
    Wear something suitably formal, such as a suit and tie, or a smart business suit – something which says ‘I am a serious, responsible, professional person’. Avoid sportswear, loungewear, or nightwear (at least far as is visible if you’re in a remote hearing; obviously, if you’re appearing in person, head-to-toe smartness is the order of the day).
  • Be well prepared
    Give yourself time to read over all the papers beforehand, re-read your statement (if you have one), test your camera and mic before the hearing so you can resolve any glitches.
  • Take a moment
    A pause will give you time to think, breathe and relax a little. It will also give your audience a chance to reflect on what you are saying.
  • Minimise distractions
    Should you feel self-conscious about seeing your own image on screen, keep it out of your eyeline and concentrate on your audience instead. It might help to imagine that they are directly in front of you, rather than focusing on a screen full of faces. If you’re at an in-person hearing, remember that the licensing committee and officers are simply there to listen and assess, and make fair judgments based on what they hear. Anyone in authority who has a vested interest in the hearing will have declared so beforehand.
  • Adapt your body language
    Try to remain animated but not overly so – it’s best to keep physical gestures subtle but confident, and to keep your hands relaxed. If you’re seated, sit straight but don’t be too rigid. You might feel more comfortable standing in front of the screen – just don’t wander off-camera.
  • Be careful of bandwidth
    Always turn off your mic when not speaking, it reduces feedback and reduces bandwidth load. You should practise turning your mic on and off before the meeting. It might also be asked that you turn off your camera when you are not speaking, something else you should practise before the meeting.
  • Positioning is important
    If you’re in a remote meeting, don’t stand or sit with a window as your backdrop. Computer cameras adjust to the amount of available light so you will appear very dark. It’s better to face a window and use natural light if it’s a daytime hearing. It might also be worth investing in a lamp designed for remote lighting – they give off a less harsh light and create a better ambience.
  • Get your angles right
    Cameras below the eyeline are not flattering. Make sure the webcam is level with your hairline.
  • Set the scene
    A calm, uncluttered background is always the best bet. Clear away visible distractions, and make sure there is no disruptive background noise.