All speakers want to become better speakers. The challenge that we face is that we just don’t know how to go about doing this. We can hire coaches, we can attend classes, there is no shortage of things that we can do. However, it turns out that if we truly want to become better, there one thing that we can do. Take the time to video record ourselves. The camera never lies.
Say Hello To The Camera
Speakers need to understand that seeing ourselves on camera can be painful at times. However if you’re one of those people who avoids it at all costs, you may miss a valuable tool for finding a way to share the importance of public speaking. We need to understand that video shows us the things we wouldn’t see otherwise—both good and bad.
You can learn from the pros when it comes to producing videos to share online as a part of your growth as a speaker. Video communication—whether it’s through vlogs (video blogs), webinars or how-to’s—has become common language of the internet especially since the Covid-19 virus came to town.
It’s All About First Impressions
The good news is that many of the speaker skills that you already have (eye contact, posture, filler words) apply directly to video. Your core stuff really works across platforms, whether you’re giving a speech, appearing on a panel or appearing on TV. The one critical difference for video is that your audience isn’t in the room. Your listeners will view your message on a device, which means it competes with other content for their attention. We need to understand that we are just one click away from losing our audience. The people watching us can delete our presence from their life with the touch of a finger.
This raises the stakes for your first impressions. Your message must compel your audience’s attention in the first few seconds. You’ll want to say less, and say it better You need to ask yourself, ‘What is my headline? What is the single most important thing I want my audience to remember? Remember that you have to be very direct. Brevity is key. What you are going to want to do is to start with a succinct statement, or key message, and then elaborating from there. Speech writers call this the “inverted pyramid,” because the writer or speaker provides the foundational issues first and then fills in lesser details. Based on what you say at the beginning, the audience will decide whether they want to keep listening. Once you have your talking points down, now it’s time to start rehearsing.
How To Rehearse for Video
In order to record yourself on video, set up a smartphone or a video camera and record a rehearsal of yourself or, if needed, have someone help. We need to realize that the camera picks things up that we may not notice when we’re in a room with people. It may detect eye contact, facial expressions, body language and clothing fit that can escape our notice.
What you are going to want to do is to start with eye contact. Take a careful look: do your eyes dart around, or do you have a steady gaze? What you are going to want to do is to aim for close to 100 percent eye contact. What this means is that you will want to speak directly in to the camera and looking at it the whole time. This may feel unnatural at first, because we typically have less consistent eye contact during interpersonal conversation than we’d need to have on camera; the problem is that any breaks in eye contact are more noticeable on video. Our goal needs to be that we can look into the camera in such a way that the viewers feel like we’re looking directly at them.
What All Of This Means For You
Becoming a better speaker is something that we are all striving for so that we can share the benefits of public speaking. Although this is a good goal to have, exactly how to go about making it happen is somewhat of a mystery for most of us. The good news is that it turns out that there is a simple way to make this happen. If we are willing to take the time to video tape ourselves giving a speech, we can discover a number of things that we may not be able to detect any other way.
Although we may not like seeing ourselves on camera, it is something that is important for us to do. Video communication has become a common way of connecting with audiences. The skills that you already have as a speaker can serve you well on video. We do need to realize that we have to make a special effort to keep our audience’s attention so that they don’t turn us off. This means that the first impression that we make is that much more important. In order to make a good first impression, we need to have a key message. When we are rehearsing we need to take careful look at our eye contact and how it works with video.
Having another set of eyes that can tell us how we are doing as speakers is a gift. Recording ourselves on video allows us to see ourselves as others see us. This gives us the ability to determine what we are doing that is both working and not working. By taking the time to record ourselves we can finally see ourselves the way that our audience sees us. This is what it will take to allow us to move our speaking skills to the next level.
Question For You: Do you think that you should show your video recording to anyone else?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
So the interesting thing about a speech is that they don’t all look the same. In fact, sometimes a speech make look completely different from what you might think that they should look like. When you find yourself in a situation where you want to sell an idea to an audience, sometimes it might make sense to use the importance of public speaking and engage yourself in a debate. This allows your audience to see both sides of an argument and with a little luck they will agree with the arguments that you present. What we need to know is just exactly how to go about speaking during a debate.