How to present in front of the camera

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Online video now accounts for more than 50% of mobile traffic; 75% of business executives watch work-related videos at least twice a week; and 54% of senior executives share work related videos with colleagues at least once a week.

Whether you like it or not, video presenting might soon be the new public speaking. Just like any other new media practice, you’re better off embracing a new trend than ignoring it.

The good news is that – like public speaking – video presenting gets easier with practice and effective presentation is within your reach.

Here are some tips to get you started…

Practice

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Chances are you have at least a mid-range video camera in your phone right now. Get used to the camera, record a practice speech or presentation to it. Over time, the object will become demystified – it will be just another audience member for your presentation. You’ll be astonished at the difference in quality between your first, second and third recording. Even film stars require multiple takes!

Plant your Feet

Just like in a job interview or presentation, over-thinking body language is not recommended. But there is one way to ensure that you look and feel more secure: Plant your feet. In everyday standing conversations (from the coffee rooms to board rooms to the pub), we tend to alternate between the legs we stand on. Don’t do that with a video presentation: Plant both feet strongly. You’ll stand firmer, look more certain and – most crucially – feel more confident.

Don’t Worry about your Hands

This is a contentious one: Some experts say to keep your hands in one position; others say to use them occasionally to emphasis a point. But we would argue that you put it out of your mind. The most important qualities in video presenting are comfort and confidence. What you do with your hands is one more thing to think about, so don’t think about it. Someone under-thinking hand movements might wave them around too much; while over-thinkers tend to be stiff and self-conscious. Hand-waving is by far the lesser of the two evils.

Keep the Language Simple

Mastery of language is essential for business, but many confuse long words with good communication. We’re sure you’ve seen emails, job applications and presentations where the person has tripped over long words and compplicated sentences. This problem is even more acute in public speaking and video presentation. Only use words that you would use yourself in everyday conversation. Learning the meaning and pronunciation of exotic new words is a noble pursuit, but this is not the place for it. Clear, simple language will be easier to understand and to deliver.

Stay on Topic

Public speaking usually has the security blanket of autocues or cue cards. This is often absent in video presentation, leaving you to deliver your expertise in a more informal, less structured manner. Some speakers tend to ramble or go off topic when left to their own devices. Try to avoid this by remembering the points you’re making. Start each new topic with a single point; then explain that point, and no more. Again, this will become easier with practice.

Know Your Audience

Unlike in a live presentation or public speaking engagement, follow-on questions for clarification are usually not available; neither can you read an audience’s reaction in real time. (Skype presentations are an exception – most video presenting will be pre-recorded.) Before preparing a video presentation, think about who you’d like to watch it. Will it be mid-level execs, consumers, top-level execs, industry experts who will understand jargon, or a specific demographic? This preparation will not only make your video more engaging and valuable to its target audience, it will help with your own confidence too.

Watch the Experts

Now for the fun part: We would suggest that you check out video speakers to take cues from them. TED talks have countless examples of good public speaking and video presentation; the most popular YouTube corporate videos will show you how it’s done; and we’d also recommend watching how the best TV presenters deal with the camera. From the slick, current-affairs presenters to the less formal chat show hosts, they balance the need to address the camera without becoming intimidated by it.

Video presenting can be daunting at first, but with just a little preparation and practice, it can be harnessed and conquered; a relevant tool and a modern, engaging way to reach existing and potential clients.

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