New research indicates that by 2019, the world will be consulting video more frequently than they are consulting written articles now. The advice to move marketing primarily to video is everywhere and thus the demand for presentations by video is steadily increasing. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video seems to capture a person’s attention. The trend is evident by the prevalence and continuous popularity of YouTube.
You may have noticed that recently I have embarked on a new mission to help presenters by diving into the world of videos myself. As a person just like you, I’m not used to being on video camera and talking to an intimate object is difficult to say the least. Since I believe in the motto that you should learn from the mistakes of others, here are the lessons I have learned being on camera:
- You are overly critical of yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I would get started and stop just a few sentences in because I wasn’t ready. Overcome this by really preparing what you are going to say and practice multiple times until you feel confident that you can shoot the entire video in one take.
- Practice Aloud. Because you are overly critical sitting alone in your office talking to a camera, you tend to practice in your head because that makes sense and you don’t feel like a fool. The problem is that words don’t sound the same in your head as they do when they are actually coming out of your mouth. In order to overcome the stopping and starting over shenanigans, you have to practice those words aloud even if you feel foolish. (Hearing what you are saying also helps you remember what you plan on saying too.)
- Imagine you are talking to someone. I struggled with my first few videos because I’m used to talking to real people, not cameras. Since cameras do not show emotion like people do, I don’t have any way to gauge the reaction of the listener on the other side of the screen. My way to overcome this obstacle is to imagine how my clients would react, or what my friends would say. Even imagining a person’s face was very helpful.
- Practice takes. Believe it or not, you are going to need practice takes. When recording videos on my computer (I have a Mac), the camera is set up so that you can look at the middle of your screen like you were on video chat. When recording videos from my smartphone, I appear as if I’m staring off into space if I’m not looking straight at the camera. It appears that every device is a little different and you need this information to make eye contact with the invisible person watching the video of you.
- Appearance doesn’t matter as much as you think. My first few videos, I found myself very self-conscious about my appearance. Being a lady, I felt like I had to go all out and get dressed. I took a chance one day, armed only with mascara and my hair in a messy bun, and shot a quick video and I had much more engagement with my audience than videos where I was all dressed up. I have found that as long as your attire looks professional, it really doesn’t matter whether your hair is in place. (This is not true for media interviews like those on newscasts.)
- Environment is key. I found myself elevating my laptop upon stacks of books and checking the lighting in the room to see how it affected the video. It helps to check all of these things because nobody wants to see up your nose when the laptop is too low and people are not going to pay attention when they can’t see you because the room is too dark or it’s casting a shadow across your face. It actually makes it feel more natural for you and allows your audience to engage with you. Check out all of these elements before you press the record button.
- Scripts & teleprompters don’t work. In a few of my first video’s I thought it would help me get through the script if I made my own teleprompter. I got out the poster board and wrote out my script in big print and had my office manager flip the boards for me. The problem was that in the video you could see my eyes looking down or over at the board and the message also didn’t come out as I had hoped because reading and speaking are not the same thing. You must be familiar with and practiced for it to be genuine.
- Video is delayed. You may have experience with this if you have worked with microphones but the same thing happens with video, it’s a split-second delayed and you have to accommodate the delay by slowing the rate at which you speak.
What are others tips and techniques that you have used or noticed others utilized when speaking on camera?
Check out the new Speak Simple video series.