One of your colleagues recently asked:
Do you use any sort of tool so you can read your content while maintaining eye contact/enthusiasm with the camera? I’ve seen some iPhone teleprompters but haven’t got anything. I’ve done some test video shoots and I’ve realized that is kind of a pain to scroll naturally through a Word doc with the talk track. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Video is challenging for a lot of people. Some people are natural pros, and others seem to freeze up or become self-conscious once the camera starts rolling (or the smartphone starts recording).
But I’ve learned how to relax in front of the camera, so I’m going to share a few video tips with you on what works for me.
1. Ditch the Script
Teleprompters are cumbersome, but I know a few people who love them for longer videos. For me, I find it easier to:
- Create main bullets that I want to cover
- Ditch the script (which is always hard to nail down)
Whenever I create a script, I wind up tripping over my words and sounding completely unnatural.
Letting the ideas and concepts flow naturally while still hitting on the main points I want to cover works much better for me.
So, no, I don’t:
- Use a script
- Use a teleprompter
While I encourage you to try to not use a teleprompter at first (most people don’t need one), you have to do what works best for you. That may mean experimenting. Trying without a teleprompter and trying with one.
2. Break Long Videos Into Chunks
Filming a 10-minute video shouldn’t take an hour. When I first started creating content, I made the mistake of trying to film longer content in one sitting. And then, I would retake the video again and again until it took an hour or longer to film.
Now, I’ve found that filming in tranches works better for longer videos.
Break your video into chunks and piece them together during editing. If you stuttered or misspoke during one clip, you can re-film the associated tranche.
3. Work on Becoming More Confident On Camera
“Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.”―Theodore Roosevelt.
If you’re just not confident in front of the camera, it will transcend into your videos. When talking to other creators, you’ll find they too often were not comfortable or confident on camera from day one.
How do you become confident? Here are five tips.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. It may sound cheezy, but it’s 100% true. For me, watching myself on video the first few times was difficult. I never watched myself because it felt weird, and I was very self-conscious.
I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling.
However, not watching my own videos was a mistake. Reviewing your content allows you to:
- Learn what you’re doing right
- Identify areas that you want to improve upon
You want to be objective with your own videos, but do not pick yourself apart. Creating content is challenging. Just picking up your camera to record is a step in the right direction. Have fun with your content and experiment.
And guess what?
You don’t have to post the videos that you don’t like. Simply being in front of the camera is going to teach you so much about yourself as a creator and make the next videos so much better.
2. Be Prepared
I want to let you in on a little secret to being more confident on and off camera: be prepared. And being prepared doesn’t mean that you have to have a script, either.
- I make bullet points of what I want to cover.
- Other people may need to have a script, and that’s perfectly fine, too. Do what works for you.
Taking either approach will mean that you’re prepared. And that’s what is most important.
When I started filming videos, I would first come up with a topic. Then, while I was getting ready in the morning. I would practice what I wanted to say out loud.
Speaking out loud helped me get my thoughts into words before the camera started rolling. I was prepared, and that helped me feel more confident when I finally started recording.
3. Choose the Right Location
Here’s a tip that’s often overlooked: set yourself up for success location-wise. If you’re uncomfortable filming around other people or having people hear you recording videos when no one is home.
If you have kids, ask your spouse to take them out for an afternoon.
Create a space where you feel comfortable filming, especially when just starting. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you will be in front of the camera.
4. Pretend You’re Having a Conversation
Some people freeze in front of the camera. They trip on their words because they’re afraid they’ll be judged. But my advice to you is to ignore the camera.
Whenever you look into the camera, pretend that you’re having a conversation with a friend who makes you feel comfortable.
Not only will this help you speak more confidently and naturally, but it will also make your audience really feel like you’re talking to and engaging with them.
If you’re too focused on the camera and the fact that it’s recording, you’ll lose that connection, and your videos will feel cold and robotic.
5. Focus on Your Posture, Voice and Eye Contact
If you want to look natural and feel more confident in front of the camera, focus on these three crucial things:
- Eye contact
People who watch your videos want to feel like they’re connecting with you. How do you create that connection and keep people engaged?
- Make eye contact! Look directly at the camera.
- Sit up tall! Keep your chin up and your shoulders back. Your posture can help you exude confidence.
Confidence is the key to speaking in front of the camera and creating a true connection with your audience. But building up that confidence will take some practice. Prepare your talking points, find a location that you feel comfortable in and forget the camera is rolling.
You’ll find that you don’t really need any extra “tools” to get your message across and engage with your audience.
That’s a wrap on this Dear Katie question.
Now I want to hear from you. Do you have a question?