Talking in front of the camera can be a really daunting experience, it’s something that doesn’t come naturally to most people, even those who are used to speaking to a room full of people.
After all we haven’t evolved to converse with inanimate objects, apart from the occasional rant at your computer.
However, there are a few things you can keep in mind to ensure your performance looks as natural as possible. While it is almost guaranteed you won’t get it at first, with a bit of practice and patience you can become fluent in front of the camera in no time.
Moderation in all things. This is particularly true for how you use your body while speaking on camera. Don’t stand with your hands in your pockets or glued to your side, no one wants to see a person standing rigidly. At the same time, don’t flail. Keep your arm movements to a minimum and try not to spend too much time with your arms further apart than your shoulders.
Keep head movements small, this is especially important if the shot is a close up, you don’t want your head to keep wagging out of the frame.
Breathe and Relax
This is fairly self explanatory but something which is a lot easier to say than it is to do. Don’t worry, with a bit of practice this will come easier and before that point it is perfectly fine to take some time to compose yourself. No one will tell you off for taking a few seconds out to get your head together. Most importantly, don’t hold your breath. Which will make the next point easier.
After you have spent some time keeping your breathing regular this becomes much easier. While a lot of the time a conversational tone might be appropriate for your video, most of the time a conversational speed will not be. You should speak a little slower than you normally would to make sure you can properly enunciate and so that you don’t stumble over your words.
Tone of Voice
While sometimes a video will call for a more formal tone one thing that is never called for is a monotone voice. Put some energy into or no one will watch. Most of the time a happy conversational tone will work well.
But not too much. Don’t grin ear to ear and don’t talk like you’re baring your teeth at the camera. A relaxed comfortable smile, that is all that is needed, it will improve your video no end. If it helps, some people like to pretend that the camera is a friend of theirs or a member of their target audience, this helps them to put on their ‘talking to a human’ face.
Whatever you do, don’t be Gordon Brown
This is obvious, but don’t forget it! You don’t want to start crying half way through your video, and you don’t want to end up with red eyes.
Know What You Are Going to Say
This is possibly the most important part of being comfortable in front of the camera. Being confident that you know what you are going to say will take away so much of the stress from worrying you are going to forget or mess up your lines. You don’t have to know the script off by heart but at least have practiced it enough that bullet points will remind you of all of your words.
Hopefully this has helped you mentally limber up before you go in front of the camera. Don’t worry if you make mistakes, and don’t worry if it takes a few goes. With a bit of practice it will start to become second nature.