I confess: I am not a natural presenter.
The first time I stood in front of the camera ready to film one of our video blogs I felt apprehensive, awkward and self-conscious.
If you’re making your own video in house you’ll most likely need some of your team to be in it. But, most companies are not made up of teams of presenters, to whom being on camera comes easy.
I’ve thought about it and I think the problem for me was that, in order to be lively and engaging on film, some exaggeration is required. You need to speak louder and with more animation than in normal, everyday life.
What looks good on camera can make you feel mighty stupid when you’re doing it in real life. And if you’re feeling stupid whilst you’re making your video, it will come across to anybody watching.
Well, the good news is it definitely gets easier with practice. After a few attempts I did start to feel more comfortable standing in front of the camera.
But, before that happens there are a few tricks that really helped me out.
1. Accept mistakes
You’re going to get it wrong.
(Music: Fluffing a Duck – Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com))
Accept this and move on.
Even the professionals don’t get it right first time. Multiple takes are just par for the course. Trying to get it right first time puts too much pressure on you. And the more pressure the more apprehensive you’ll feel.
Relax. Just make sure you’ve allowed enough time for reshooting and there’s really no reason to worry.
2. Get someone to smile behind the camera
When you’re making your own video it’s important to look happy about it. If you aren’t enthusiastic about your product or service, your consumers won’t be either.
Producing a natural smile is pretty tough, though, especially when you’re already feeling nervous. People can spot a fixed, fake smile a mile away.
How did I get around it? Well it was actually fairly simple. I asked Terry who films our videos to smile at me while I speak.
I have found that when somebody smiles at me my knee-jerk reaction is to smile back at them. It’s not something I think about; it’s just automatic behavior. And, when I came to look into it, I found that most people are the same.
Research has shown that smiling is contagious. Sociability is so important to human evolution that our brains are simply hardwired that way. When someone smiles at you, you smile back.
3. Read through
Read through the script and listen to your intonation. Knowing which words you’ll stress and what kind of tone you’ll say things in before you hit record will stop your phrasing feeling stilted and unnatural.
4. Move around
Stumbling over your words? Stop. You’re thinking too much.
Concentrating so hard on getting all the words right means you, again, put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
A bit of movement can help you to get out of your own head. It gives you something else to think about and you’ll often find that the words flow more freely that way.
I first discovered this during the filming of our Dual Encoding video in which we asked for Beta testers. Unbeknownst to me Terry had hatched a dastardly plot to throw something at me at the very end of the video.
Now, you might find that this would distract me, throw me off and make me mess up the line. Here’s what actually happened:
Because I wasn’t really thinking about it.
5. Don’t worry (too much) about the script
When you’re making your own video it can help to have a basic script in place. You should put in place the points you want to make and in what order you will make them.
But, if you try to match that script word for word when you film the video you’ll run into trouble.
So what if you say “also” instead of “and” or “video” instead of “video file”?
Seriously. Stop sweating the small stuff. If it makes sense run with it.
In fact, switching up a bit of the wording can be a good thing. You’re talking how you would in normal conversation. It’s much more natural and engaging to just be yourself!
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