Video is becoming an essential tactic in any marketing strategy. The great thing for small businesses with smaller budgets is that you don’t need an overly produced video to get great results. However, you do need to be able to present yourself and your brand well on camera.
The key thing to remember is that MOST people feel weird or awkward at first on camera. You may not notice because some people deal with it better than others, but everyone has their own challenges to overcome when they are stepping in front of the camera.
Here are nine tips to help you get better on camera:
Tip #1: Ease into it
If you are uncomfortable appearing on camera, then start by doing voice over work with images or slides running on the screen. Once you have mastered creating a voice narrative and you are comfortable with that, then move on to being in front of the camera.
Tip #2: Imagine a dialogue
Imaging you are having a dialogue with either the camera, or someone just off camera to the side. Pretend it’s your best friend or someone you are extremely comfortable with. If you’re having a hard time imagining someone reacting to what you are saying, have a friend actually sit in front of you while you are talking on camera. That way you can get the visual interaction you are looking for. You will find that after the first couple of times you will feel more comfortable doing it on your own.
Tip #3: Ditch the script
No, I’m not talking about winging it. Preparing in advance what you are going to say is great, but reading a script or holding yourself captive with exact wording isn’t so great. What works best for my clients, whether it is for a media appearance or a branded video, is to create a key messaging document and possibly cue cards with some keywords on them to jog your memory if you forget something. If someone is interviewing you, also create a sample Q&A document where you prepare for the questions you think you may receive. In most cases, you can also ask to get a sense of the questions ahead of time.
Tip #5: Keep energy in your body movement
Sometimes standing is the best way to go. It forces you to engage your entire body (so you don’t fall over). If you do choose to sit down, make sure you sit tall so that you can breathe properly and so you look actively engaged with what you are discussing. If it is on brand for you to be relaxed and chill out on a couch, that is great! Just make sure you don’t fall asleep. The important thing is to keep your energy up. If you are a hand talker, let your hands fly. If you don’t know what to do with your hands, then let them fall loosely to your sides if you are standing or let them rest on the table if you are sitting. Crossing your arms or contorting yourself in an odd stance will make you seem closed off or will just be distracting.
Tip #6: Keep eye contact natural
On one end of the spectrum, you may stare down the camera without blinking or looking away the whole time. On the other end of the spectrum, you never look at your designated spot (either the camera or the person who is interviewing you), letting your eyes wander and/or stare at your lap. You need to find a happy medium. Make eye contact but allow for natural breaks and allow yourself to blink regularly as you would.
Tip #7: Breathe… Just breathe
Remember to breathe throughout your video. If you are speaking too fast or without the natural speech pauses you would normally take, take a pause and a deep breathe to calm your nerves.
Tip #8: Be yourself
Unless you are playing a character role, just be yourself. Your personality and drive have gotten you this far so why not let it shine, especially if you are using this to market yourself or to establish yourself as the face behind your brand. Being yourself also extends to what you are wearing. You should feel comfortable and not out of character in what you choose to wear on camera.
Tip #9: Practise, practise, practise
Practise in front of a mirror so you can see your facial expressions and body language. To get used to the topic and tone, don’t be afraid to also practise while you are doing everyday tasks. You are going to put a lot into your video work, so go easy on yourself. Don’t be overly critical in the beginning. We all have to start somewhere, but chances are the video you have just created is much better than you are willing to give yourself credit for.
Candace Huntly is Founder and Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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