Going on Camera? Don’t panic! Prepare!

More than 75% of people suffer from glossophobia, the fear of public speaking – a phobia that also translates to a fear of being on camera.

People are afraid of what they will look like on camera, how their voice will sound, and how they will remember what to say. All valid fears, but you can put them to rest if you take time to get ready.

We all form an image of ourselves from looking in the mirror – but the rest of the world sees us differently. And unfortunately, most of us are not as young or thin as we imagine. But, the more you see yourself on video, the more comfortable you will be – and the more comfortable you are, the better you will appear on camera.

So, what should you do? We’ve all heard the usual tips. Don’t wear stripes, stand up straight, use makeup to take the shine off your forehead, and remember to smile. These are just common sense.

The most important thing you can do is prepare.

Whether you’ve been asked by marketing to record a piece for the corporate website or you’re booked for a media interview, or you think you might be asked for a sound bite at a conference, the first step is the same. Plan what you’re going to say in advance.

A quick statement on camera doesn’t require a lot of prep, but for a more formal interview or point-of-view piece, you need a script – or at least a progressive set of key points that tell your story. Then, you need to read your script out loud. More than once.  Before the shoot. Unless you are a veteran, you will not sound natural if you read from a script or teleprompter. Practice ensures that when you get in front of the camera, you know it cold.

Recording yourself will allow you to do your own critique – prior to the inevitable YouTube posting. Imagine that you’re talking to a friend and focus on a point off camera so you’re not looking directly at the lens. If you’re not comfortable talking to yourself, set up your kids, pets, or a stuffed animal as an audience.

Watching yourself on video is hard – remember that image of the younger, thinner you? But there’s a reason professional athletes use video to improve their performance.  You will see for yourself if you need to slow down, stop saying “um”, look at the camera, stop twitching – or smile.

Listen to yourself as if you were hearing it for the first time and you didn’t know anything about your topic. This helps you figure out what to say, but also how much to say. Most videos for the web are no more than 1 minute and 30 seconds in the final cut – and that’s only about 300 – 350 words. If you have an important point to make, get to it in your first couple of seconds.

Video is becoming the most popular content across media channels, from blog selfies to corporate websites.  If you’re up for an on-camera moment, there’s no need to panic. A little prep will get you ready for your 1.5 minutes of fame!

Posted by Linda Jackson    |    May 11, 2017