Recognise this face? It’s you.
To be precise, it’s you the last time someone suggested at a meeting that “we really need more video, and we really need someone to do it.”
And all eyes looked at you. Maybe it’s your job. Maybe you suggested it yourself one time.
Or maybe they just don’t want to do it either.
Anyone who tells you that presenting to camera is easy is lying.
The first time is really, really hard.
But, it’s really only the first time that it feels very bad.
It’s the driving-a-car cliché. When you’ve never tried it, it looks terrifying, complicated and chock-full of risk – the crash feels inevitable, there’s so much to remember, and the fear of failure is extreme – enough to put the whole idea permanently back on the whiteboard.
But imagine how much you would already have missed if you never put the car keys into the ignition.
The opportunity to speak on camera is exactly that, an opportunity.
And it’s yours for the taking.
Here’s how to run right at it, and practice every time you get a chance.
1. Mirror, Mirror…
If you’re the kind of person who ducks when you’re passing a mirror in a department store, you need to spend some quality time with your own reflection.
Find a large mirror, plonk yourself in front of it, and give yourself a good talking-to.
Spend ten or fifteen minutes speaking to the mirror on a chosen topic. Notice your slumpy posture, the way your mouth turns up on one side, and just how difficult it is to maintain eye contact with this person you know so well.
Then forget about all that silly stuff, and take a note of the five things you notice about yourself that you like. Move on from the things that you don’t.
Spending time with your own reflection and learning to look yourself straight in the eye does away with a lot of the anxiety about how you appear to an audience.
Liking yourself, and being comfortable with who you are, are key to getting over the big hang-ups that everyone has when it comes to hearing and seeing themselves on camera for the first time.
2. Jot down a simple script
Not even the most seasoned TV pro would dream of winging it without at least a few notes – so why would you even consider it?
Writing a script feels kind of tedious, and you’re likely much more focused on getting the whole thing over and done with already.
Which makes a script seem like another obstacle in the way.
But writing down the words that you’d like to say will reap huge benefits.
It weeds out the rubbishy bits. It puts a logical shape on the ramblings.
It gives you somewhere to go, never mind your audience.
And you can hang on to it for dear life once that red light goes on.
It’s your seat-belt on the rollercoaster.
It’s your map in the wilderness.
It’s your…you get the picture.
A very simple script for a very simple video piece might look like this:
So an introduction, three decent points, and a call to action.
Be very clear about what you want your audience to do at the end of your video.
You can develop that structure further to look like this:
Which sounds like this:
“Hi, my name’s Niamh and I’m a trainer in video for social media.”
“People often ask me what kind of camera they should buy for vlogging.
Mostly people worry that they’ll need an expensive camera to make their video look professional.”
“But that’s not necessarily the case.”
“If you use a good app on your smartphone, you can get many of the advantages of an expensive video camera, namely manual control of settings like white balance, exposure and focus.”
“Manual control of video on your phone is crucial because it will stop your camera ‘hunting’ for focus and light while you are filming.
“If you’d like to learn about those Apps, and how to use them, you’ll find out more on one of our training courses. Use the form below to get in touch. Thanks for watching and talk to you soon!”
Disclaimer: No Emmy awards will be received for this one, but it gives you the idea of a simple structure with logic and purpose.
And any script is better than a wing and a prayer.
3. Record, delete, repeat.
You’re only practising if you’re recording too.
Set up to record your first piece to camera on your laptop camera before you go near a more formal set-up.
And then record it and delete it and re-record it and delete it again, until you feel totally bored with the whole shooting match.
Remember, now you’re bored, so that’s different to scared, right?
You might even consider staying on the laptop set-up if it’s working well for you.
Lots and lots of very successful people are delivering content in this way.
Here’s Ryan Holmes, the CEO of Hootsuite, using a baked-beans-basic set-up for his company updates.
You know by now, the only way to Make Heebie-Jeebies History, is to just do it.
So the next time video is raised at a meeting, raise your hand.
What are you waiting for?
Niamh Guckian is the Founder of Go Motion Academy
Providing Training in Video for Social Media & Digital Marketing