If the last few months of remote working has taught us anything, it's that we can all do with a little help with speaking on camera. Getting to grips with talking to a lens rather than another person can be tough. With these seven tricks, you will be feeling like yourself in front of the camera in no time.
1. You are who you think you are.
If you hold back, convinced you’ll fail when you get in front of the camera, chances are you're not going to be happy with the final result. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: I think I am bad, therefore I will do badly. The negativity reinforces itself.
Instead, recognise that although you may not be the best presenter in the world, you are an expert in your topic. In the words of Zach Basner, Creator of Film School for Marketers:
“I do have the ability to be helpful, at this moment”
When you get in the spotlight, it's not about being the best on camera, it's about helping your audience.
2. Don’t stop, won’t stop
When you start a take, don’t stop halfway through with a cut. Keep the camera rolling until you’re done. This doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to try again, do as many takes until you’re happy, but DO NOT stop.
People will typically use cuts when they make mistakes, mispronounce words, or forget lines, and this can make the video seem robotic and disingenuous to viewers. It also takes longer to record and makes the post-recording process a lot more time-consuming.
It’s difficult to get it all right first try but with practice and the right headspace, you’ll get there.
3. Smiles and expressions
You already know the power of a smile, so you don’t need me to tell you. But how can you get that natural grin on your face from the get-go? Start smiling before the camera starts rolling. Hold the smile - 3,2,1 - go.
You can feel the difference! It looks and feels smoother as well as giving your audience a great, friendly, first impression.
As for expressions, use your hands as visual aids to get your messages across, or as body language expert, Mark Bowden puts it, “the truth plane”. Have open palms and arms like an aeroplane, inviting your audience into what you have to say.
I bet you’re sitting down right now, naturally slouching, relaxed. That’s great, but when it comes to presenting on the video you need to have a strong posture to really project your voice. If you can get this from your chair, go for it! But for the rest of you, up on your feet, and test it out; you’ll see the difference straight away.
Secondly, look like you’re interested in what you’re saying. This means looking at the camera with your whole body, not off into the void. Eye contact is still just as important on video as face to face.
5. Script vs outline
In short, you should be using outlines all the way. After all, is there anything more ironic than someone saying you can trust them and they are there to help while reading the words off of a script? Exactly.
Using an outline allows you to prove your expertise and confidence in an area by riffing about something for a few minutes. It’s always great to write down some points or brain joggers to keep you going but keep your videos genuine and human because that’s what people connect with.
Don’t let your mouth move faster than your brain. Take it easy, because when you have something good to say people will listen.
As soon as you slow down your speaking and give yourself a good pace and flow you’ll notice how think words, like um and ah, will be banished, making your message cleaner and more confident.
7. Stop trying to sound smart
As Zach Basner said in his talk at INBOUND 2020, this is the cardinal sin of being on video. Have you ever watched a video from an MD or an industry expert and immediately not liked them, irrespective of what they are saying? It’s because they come across as superior and you feel alienated. After all, nobody likes the smartest guy in the room.
However, this is such an easy mistake to make, even if you don’t mean to, so just simplify your message and translate it in a way that makes sense to who you are talking to.
At a glance: how to look better on camera
As with anything, presenting on camera is a skill that you can learn. Some people are naturally better than others, sure, but remember these seven steps and you’ll be a pro in no time:
- Get yourself in a positive headspace.
- Keep the cameras rolling, you’re a one take wonder.
- Be smiley and expressive.
- Keep good posture and body position.
- Use an outline, not a script.
- Don’t let your mouth outrun your brain. Pace yourself.
- Get on your audience’s level, and don’t talk down to anyone.
For more tips on becoming a video pro, get in touch with the FINALLY team today.