Presenting to camera doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In fact, some people suffer from “stage fright” even if they are not usually shy. There are so many examples where no matter how much one may prepare they still get tongue-tied as soon as the camera starts recording. The moment where you suddenly become aware of an “invisible” audience focused on you can be pretty nerve wracking. The result is that people fail to communicate a well-created presentation or message.
5 Tips to help with on-camera presenting
Presenting is an art form which is often underrated. With more and more live video streaming options where one can immediately put their rookie presenting skills to the test, many overlook the fact that possessing a higher level of presenting skills are key to helping you stand out from a “sea of noise” and appear much more professional. However the good news is that you can learn these skills no matter which type of personality you have; whether you’re the most shy or are boldly confident.
Here are five tips for enhancing your on-camera presenting skills whether for TV, Online or Live Streaming broadcasting:
Take a moment to compose yourself
One of the most common mistakes some people make is that they start talking too abruptly from the moment the camera starts rolling. This is mostly the result of being too nervous. The best thing to do is to take a moment to anchor yourself before the camera and take a few seconds to compose yourself before speaking. Take deep breaths and find your comfortable position first. This small technique will signal to your brain that you are prepared and confident.
Give and Take Theory
If you wish to leave a positive impression on your viewing audience, use your time on-camera to give instead of taking. Show them that you are speaking for their benefit and not for selling an idea, becoming popular or solely to make the viewers like you. They’ll see right through it! Just be authentically you and speak from the heart. Your passion will flow.
Preparing carefully gives you confidence that you are not going to forget your script or loose your train of thought when presenting to camera. The original presentation could be lengthy but you need to reduce the content into sections or shorter parts to retain your audience’s attention. This should also help you during your prep because it’s usually easier to remember section by section in your mind. If helpful, keep some small notes nearby as a prompt but only if you really, really, really need them!
Our clients will tell you that during training I can be very strict when it comes to having notes. Why? Because not only are they proverbial comfort blankets (in my opinion), you’ll also find they can be counter-productive because you will rely on them more than relying on your own thoughts. Notes make you look-away from the camera and gives the impression to the viewer as if you don’t know what you’re talking about or that you’re not very confident in your delivery. If they can sense this they will not warm to you easily. The more confident you come across on camera, the more comfortable your audience will be whilst watching you.
Many people get confused about how to hold themselves before a camera. The nervousness makes some people go stiff and other might fidget in the same place or sway from side to side. Prepare for intonation and how you are going to hold yourself. Before you begin recording walk around the room as it gives you a way to get rid of nerves. Keep your palms open at waist level when expressing yourself as it shows you have nothing to hide from the viewer. Anchor yourself in to the ground and simply go for it!
When it comes to presenting to camera maintaining eye contact with the lens will make the viewer feel as if you are speaking directly to them rather than to a large (worldwide) audience. It will help you to engage your viewers and retain their attention. However, it is not easy. I will like to add here from my own experience. Believe me; I know how difficult it is to hold eye contact. The trick is to look directly into the camera lens as if sharing eye contact with a friend, and imagine you are talking to only one person. It may take some time to get used to but the more you do it and review yourself back, the better at it you’ll become.
Presenting to camera is tough. It takes the time to perfect. Practice in private and show close friends or family members whose opinions you trust. Try not to ask the opinions of super critical people as this may steal some of your confidence away. A great presenter has the ability to improvise and talk without prior notice. However, it takes experience and learning to reach this stage. Take time to watch other presenters you rate (and some you don’t rate so much) and use these findings to develop your craft to become a recognised expert in your field.
I’ll sign off by saying when I first started as a presenter almost 20 years ago I learned from the “school of hard-knocks”. There were no presenter training programs I could join (like there are now) and I was thrown in at the deep end. In other words I got my first mainstream TV presenting job on a Friday and less than a week later was live to millions of viewers across the UK. I was a complete rookie at the start and had no idea what I was doing. I was not afforded scripts or an autocue (teleprompter), and could only make quick notes, practice a little and then adlib (without the notes) – all on live TV (which is also very technical)! Many mistakes were made which was often cause for great embarrassment – especially in front of the nation. And although I can wholeheartedly laugh at myself now it was so cringe-worthy at the time. Many years later with a great deal of determination and practice, I think it’s safe to say I’ve become rather good at it! So be encouraged… My heartfelt advice is to work hard, practice lots, and continue to review yourself often. Bottom line is if I can get to where I am now with zero experience at the start, then so can you!
Until next time, keep shining in the spotlight!