The camera loves some, but not many. It loves you if you make a living being in front of one, but not if you make a living behind one or two. How then, can you make a video without looking awkward and stiff? How can you take a relationship from the small screen to the big screen? I’ve had the fortune (and misfortune) of working in television newsrooms for news to educational programming for 8 years. Whatever your level of expertise is with the medium: Be it a simple Facebook Live, a promotional video for your business, or an on-air talent for television – here are my best tips for breaking down any barriers between you and your audience:
Use appropriate language and tone.
- Use appropriate language and tone for the audience. If your audience is composed of first-year university students, it may not be a good idea to use words like “disseminate” or “cognizant,” as many would find these confusing. If you’re talking to a group of teenagers, it’s probably best not to talk down to them or use language that sounds too academic.
- Use simple, clear language. Your goal should be to communicate your message in a clear, concise manner. To do this, you might want to avoid using jargon and stick with words that people are familiar with.
- Avoid jargon. There are plenty of wonderful words out there that everyone knows and understands. It can sometimes be tempting to use uncommon words when speaking on camera, especially if you’re trying to come across as knowledgeable about the subject matter at hand—however, doing so can only serve to confuse viewers who aren’t familiar with what those words mean (which could be most or all of them). You don’t need any fancy terminology here! Just keep things straightforward instead.
Practice, practice, practice.
To help you get over those nerves, practice your speech in front of a mirror or record it. Practice in front of someone you trust to give you honest feedback. (“Really? You thought that was good? Because I clearly botched the part where I gestured like this…”) Practicing with a timer will help you speak at the right speed, and practicing with a teleprompter can also be helpful. The more times you deliver the speech, either out loud or to yourself, the more comfortable you’ll become. That’s why we recommend our speakers watch themselves on camera as they answer their questions too!
Look at the camera.
If you look off to one side, your viewers will not be able to connect with you as well. They’ll feel left out and confused, and they may even assume that the video is only intended for a select audience. If you are using a teleprompter, make sure that you look at the camera and not the screen.
Keep in mind that if your camera isn’t at eye level, then looking directly into it may be unnatural for you. In this case, try having your eyes drift about 45 degrees off the center of the frame (make sure this angle is comfortable).
Be yourself and be confident.
The first thing you should do when speaking on camera is to be yourself. Whether you’re talking to a crowd, a team of people or an individual, it’s important to be comfortable with who you are and what you’re saying. Even if the situation feels awkward, just let it happen and have fun with it! Another thing that will help you feel more comfortable while speaking in front of others: don’t be afraid to make a mistake. If something goes wrong, so what? Mistakes can be funny sometimes (especially if they’re not yours). Just roll with whatever happens because the audience really doesn’t care that much about your speech in the end anyway—they’re too busy thinking about their own lives.
As far as body language goes, I would recommend maintaining good eye contact throughout your entire talk. You don’t want to look like you’re reading from notes or staring down at them every time someone asks a question; instead go back and forth between looking at different people in order for everyone involved feels included during the conversation. Also try not to cross your arms too much because this makes even confident speakers appear insecure about themselves which turns into an uncomfortable situation fast! Lastly remember that being honest about everything will give off an air of authenticity which helps keep everyone engaged from start until finish!
You should be clear and to the point. Practice being short, concise, and direct.
Avoid unnecessary words, use short sentences, and make your point in the first sentence.
Your call to action could involve asking viewers to watch another video of yours or subscribe to your channel.
It could also be a request that viewers comment down below.
There are a few tried-and-true ways to ask for subscribers or comments:
You can ask viewers directly or say “Comment down below!” Or you can try an indirect approach by saying something like “If you enjoyed this video, hit the Like button and subscribe!” That way it doesn’t sound like you’re begging for attention—but still gives them a good idea of what they *should* do if they want to see more from you.
Find a quiet location.
Find a quiet location. In order to create the best video, you need to be heard clearly. Find a place without a lot of people walking around or talking in the background. People can get used to background noise and not even notice it, but it will make your audio sound bad when you are editing your video.
It’s best if you can find an empty room with a soft carpet so that your voice won’t be echoey.
Even though you want to speak loudly enough for the camera to hear you, try not to shout into the microphone or speak directly into it because this will pick up every breath and mouth sound.
Practice speaking quietly as well as loudly so that you don’t have uneven volume in your videos.
One way to do this is by asking someone else if they can hear you easily from a few feet away, or by recording yourself and listening back on headphones.
Keep your energy level up.
A lot of people get nervous when they’re asked to speak in front of others. I don’t blame them; it’s an intimidating proposition—especially if you’re not used to speaking up in public.
But all that awkwardness can be avoided if you just work at keeping your energy level up.
Start by practicing with a friend or family member, or at least one who won’t laugh at you for sounding like you’re about to do the “tomahawk chop” from the movie Braveheart (which is actually a very cool move).
Next, keep your voice steady and soft while speaking on camera. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time and pausing to think before speaking, but try not to hold it in any longer than necessary. If you really want to sound like a pro, practice using your hands while communicating information:
pointing out some important things with your hand, gesturing toward someone or something else with your open palm, and then letting go to gesture again with a finger, pointing at something with one finger then holding it for a second before letting go so that the point continues on its own (or adding emphasis by touching other fingers together), and so on. Seeing how these moves look and feel can help give you better control over what comes out of your mouth next time around.
Give yourself permission to have a bad day.
- Give yourself permission to have a bad day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the business of creating content, and to get down on yourself when things don’t go as planned. Sure, you might not like how something turned out the first time around—we’ve all been there—but remember that it’s just videos! And the beauty of video is that it can be re-done.
Don’t let yourself feel like a failure if you stutter or mess up a take. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes.
The real problem would be not allowing yourself to do it over again until you’re happy with the result.
Let’s face it: nobody likes picking themselves up after a fall, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary for growth!
# 3. How did you feel about your writing style and tone?
I enjoyed the writing style because it was straightforward and easy to follow. I disliked my tone at times because I am not always so formal when I write, but that is the point of this assignment. To be able to expand my skillset, I tried to focus on being formal as well as using vocabulary that I normally would not use in ordinary writing situations. The helpful prompts are a great way to start thinking about what type of content or blog we are going to write about and how we want our audience to perceive things such as the characters, narrative, or advice that we give.
# 4. Were there any specific challenges you faced while working on this assignment? If so, how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me was keeping a consistent voice throughout all three blog sections. Although I could have done better, I think it is important for readers to see that people who write professionally or for blogs can sometimes change their point of view depending on the subject matter they are talking about and/or who their audience is meant to be (anyone).
Relax your face at the beginning of each take by smiling and rolling your shoulders back to reduce tension in your features.
- Smiling will force your mouth to widen and relax your cheeks. Your face is often the most visible part of you when on camera, so it’s important to make sure that you’re relaxed and natural-looking.
- It’s advised that you make these movements a part of your routine before speaking on camera. While some people are naturally calm and collected, others become sweaty and jittery at the sight of a lens pointed at them; the more you can do to help yourself get into a comfortable mindset, the better.
If public speaking makes you anxious in general, here are some other ways you can manage those fears:
- Memorize any stories or anecdotes beforehand so that they feel like second nature when sharing them with others. The best speakers seem completely unrehearsed because they’ve spent so long practicing their presentations behind closed doors.
- Use breathing techniques to calm yourself down before addressing a crowd or starting an interview on camera. Inhale deeply through your nose for three seconds, then exhale out of your mouth for another three seconds; repeat this until you feel less nervous. This simple trick is often used by fitness trainers as well!
Practice makes perfect when speaking on camera
- Practice in front of others. The best way to overcome your fear of speaking on camera is to do it again and again. After each experience, you will become more comfortable with the process. Find a small group of people at work or family members that you trust to give you honest feedback about how you come across and what you can do to improve.
- Practice in front of a mirror. You want the person watching your video to focus on what you are saying, not be distracted by your facial expressions. If you are uncomfortable, it will show on your face, so practice looking into a mirror and seeing how comfortable or tense your facial muscles look when delivering certain lines. As an alternative, have someone record you while practicing different takes and then watch them back to see how they turn out.
- Work on body language enhancements. It is important to use hand gestures when speaking because they help reinforce what we’re saying with visual cues for viewers’ eyes as well as our ears—this can help hold their attention throughout the entire video instead of having them tune out halfway through because they’re bored! Practicing hand gestures helps break down barriers between ourselves and the audience; it also makes us less tense when talking on camera which translates into more natural-sounding speech patterns.”
When you’re on camera you naturally need to pay respect to the speaker and your audience. You have to be informative, likable, and confident because if you’re not then what’s the point of being on camera at all and just better off staying as a voice-over artist.
I hope these 10 tips really helped you and that we see more of you on camera in the future! Oh and don’t forget to let me know if I missed any, I would really really really appreciate it!