How to effectively deliver presentations to camera
It’s quite a normal to feel out of your comfort zone when you are talking in front of a camera for the first time. It really is a very different experience from when we’re talking to another person or a group. Everybody feels nervous. It used to surprise me that even the most confident person will often freeze up in front of the camera when presenting for the first time
Don’t Panic! Practice my six top tips and you will deliver knockout presentations to camera like a professional! So let’s get started!
My number one tip is simply this: turn the camera into your best friend. When you are presenting to camera and looking directly “down the barrel” of the lens, imagine your best friend standing right there in front of you. Although the camera is still there, we can trick our own mind. It’s much easier to chat with your best friend than to talk to an inanimate object!
Pretending that you’re actually having a conversation with your best friend will work better than any other technique I know.
My second tip is to practice in order to build up confidence. As you know the material you will be presenting, you can practise your presentation before hand. It’s a great opportunity to warm up and feel more confident about being on camera. You will be less inclined to think about the words and instead you can focus on the delivery. This helps you to be able to present convincingly and with less mistakes. Keep in mind not to practice too much as this can make appear too rehearsed and it’s important to still appear natural and spontaneous
There are two ways that you can practise. One way is to simply stand in front of a mirror and just look at yourself. See what your hands are doing, what your face is doing, how you’re standing, how you are projecting yourself.
The second way is to record yourself and review the footage. A web cam or smart phone is perfect for this and enables you to objectively review your performance without being tied up in the moment, as you would be in a mirror. By reviewing your presentation you will find out little ways that you can improve; facial expressions, intonation and energy levels for example.
My third tip is to ignore false perceptions. When you review video footage and see yourself on screen for the first few times you will think, “Wow, that doesn’t look like me”. The reason for this reaction is that we are used to seeing ourselves in a mirror, which actually flips everything around. Everything that we see on the right is actually on the left and vice versa. Our poor brain gets confused when we actually see ourselves on the screen for the first time because it’s the reversal of how we’re normally seeing ourselves.
So don’t worry about that, again it’s completely normal. If you recognize that your brain’s just playing tricks then you can ignore it. In fact when you actually see yourself more often on screen you will just get used to it anyway.
Related to this is that we don’t sound like we normally hear ourselves. When you are listening to your own voice you are hearing the sound travelling through your skull, which changes the nature of the actual sound waves. When you hear your own voice on camera it sounds more like what other people will hear.
Again, it’s just one of those things that you need to get used to and not be concerned about. Don’t let hearing your own voice and seeing yourself on camera put you off actually presenting to camera.
Tip number five tackles that danger of being very flat or two-dimensional on camera. You are standing in front of the camera as a live human person but the camera meanwhile is creating a digital copy of you. When the camera does that there’s a certain amount of the part that makes you human that gets “sucked out of you”. Basically the camera will squeeze out a large part of your personality and can therefore make you seem very flat and two-dimensional.
So tip number five is to counter this effect by simply lifting your energy levels for the camera to then capture you as you really are.
A useful technique to find the right level of enthusiasm is to film yourself with different levels of energy and pick the most suitable. First of all, try being really flat for the camera and then try being over the top. Then try somewhere in the middle and review the video footage. See how far apart your performances are and adjust accordingly.
This is the best way to find your perfect level of enthusiasm to come across with a good amount of personality and energy without being over the top.
Tip number six might sound pretty basic but is very important, smile! People like to do business with people; they don’t do business with businesses. One of the reasons why video works so incredibly well is that you can engage your audience and they can see you as a real person. They get to know, like and trust you. By smiling, you’re going to be a lot more engaging and interact better with your audience.
You can certainly smile at the beginning and end but please don’t talk with a permanent fake smile. If you can bring a bit of sparkle in your eyes and your voice the rest of the time then this will keep your audience connected.
Don’t get too uptight about being in front of the camera, just relax a bit more and let’s see some teeth okay? Remember you are just chatting with your best friend!
The sixth and final tip is that it’s okay to make mistakes. Whenever we step up and make a presentation to camera, we always make mistakes! We sometimes forget what we’re going to say, we stumble over words, we don’t deliver with the same energy that we’re planning to. Whatever mistake it is, its okay. Making mistakes is just human nature so it is important not to get too hung up about it.
When we’re filming our clients presenting to camera, it is usually the third or fourth take that is the one that we use. The first two or three takes are actually just warm-ups. We film them anyway but the best take almost always comes after a few practice runs.
So don’t worry about not being able to present to camera perfectly first time and this will help you feel more relaxed and therefore more likely to make less mistakes anyway.
Now you have six great tips so you too can present to camera like a professional. Those first few times you will no doubt be a bit unsettled but it just seems to get easier and easier every time you get in front of the camera.