Watching yourself perform on camera can be a painful experience, even after years of on-camera interview experience.
As tough as it may be, there’s just no escaping that video is the thing; for customer outreach, new business development and even reputation management. It’s not just media spokespeople that find themselves on camera. Businesses can use video to create positive public sentiment stories, enhance recruitment, give a behind-the-scenes look at their process or products and even capture their philanthropic efforts. All of that’s great, but the most important thing for any video project is that it’s worth someone’s time to watch it. To help you deliver video that really works, here are 10 tips for improving your on-camera personality for any type of video project:
1. Wear The Right Clothing Colors
Have some (moderate) fun with your wardrobe and be sure it reflects your personality. Choose solid coral colors (blue, green, gray, deep purple) without logos or patterns. To make a slightly more formal statement, a suit and tie or blouse and skirt is just fine. Keep jewelry to a minimum. No need to make a statement with the hardware. Let your message do that work.
2. Sit Up Straight
The camera exaggerates everything because there is nothing to distract the viewer. If your posture is poor, viewers will think you’ve checked out and lost interest. Your body should convey energy and intelligence without being stiff or robotic. It’s important to note that the camera drains energy. It makes many people appear dull and uninspired, so remember to turn on the high beams during interviews or on camera appearances.
3. Watch Your Body Language — Everyone Else Will
Unusual tics tend to show up when the video camera comes out. Sweeping hand gestures, blinking, squeezing fingers together, bouncing or swaying legs and wandering eyes are common blunders. Find a good place for your hands so they aren’t distracting to viewers. Don’t be afraid to use small hand gestures to emphasize what you are saying, just keep them under control.
4. Smile With Your Eyes
A warm and genuine smile does wonders for coming across as sincere and confident. Consequently, flashing a smile is only one aspect in regards to smiling. The eyes will dictate whether a smile is real or forced. For video’s, crow’s feet are a good thing!
5. Use Your Natural Voice
Be yourself and speak to the camera (or the interviewer) like they are your best friend. Not only is this voice more natural, but also it’s what viewers expect. You want your video to reflect who you are, not who you think you should sound like. Be sure to use your natural voice to tell your story by being mindful or your inflection and volume.
6. It’s How You Say It
You might be an expert on a topic, but the last thing you want to do is improvise your sound bites and messages. Have a plan in place regarding what you will say and how you will say it. Be sure to craft stories, anecdotes, and facts/figures to support your message. Remember, pacing matters. If you rush through your message, you risk bruising your credibility. When you speak quickly, the message you deliver is: what I’m saying doesn’t really matter. Choice of words is also key. Simple and clear is always better than $20 words anyway. Enunciate and avoid vocal fillers at all costs especially hesitation phrases such as, “Soooo…” at the beginning of sentences and other nonfluencies: “ummmm…,” “you know…,” “uhhh,” and “like” all fit into that category.
7. Look At The Camera As You Would Your Mom
If you are asked to speak directly to the camera, don’t be afraid of the lens — it won’t bite. Just look into it with the love you’d give your mom. Don’t look around the room; darting eyes screams, “I’m nervous and desperately searching for the exit!” Blink naturally; excessive blinking signals a lack of sincerity or nerves. Don’t be afraid of flubs, either. There’s nothing wrong with stopping and starting over…the editing process will be your friend.
Dry mouth is the enemy of talking. Get that frog out of your throat with water that has a large amount of lemon squeezed into it. Taking a water break can also be a way to step away from the camera and calm your nerves. And keep your lips moist with something other than your tongue!
9. Get Into The Right Headspace
Don’t go in front of a camera full of nerves and sweaty palms. Do whatever is necessary to help you relax — stretch, take five deep breaths, meditate, do jumping jacks, or listen to calming music. Sit in front of the camera only when you’re feeling calm, cool and collected. Your zen state will add to your confidence.
10. Breathing Is Good
Deep calm breathing is necessary to be confident, relaxed and articulate on camera. Take slow deep breaths before you go live, and continue to breathe easily when the camera’s on. If you find yourself breathing or talking too quickly, it’s time for a break.
Improving your on-camera personality is time well spent. Rather than falling victim to nerves or environment, take control and step into the lights with confidence.