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The thought of being recorded on video, especially when it will be broadcasted on television, gives most people the heebie-jeebies.
I can understand the heart-pumping fear of having to stare into that lens. I was scared of the camera for a long time but I learned to overcome that fear quickly and become extremely comfortable speaking in front of the camera.
Whether you’re a broadcaster, a spokesperson for a company or municipality, or just someone being interviewed for a program, you too can become a natural speaking in front of the camera.
It’s not rocket science but it takes a dedicated effort, much like exercise.
Through 5 easy steps, you can drastically improve your on-camera presence and charisma.
1. HAVE GOOD POSTURE
Improving your posture will instantly help you to appear more trustworthy, charismatic, and comfortable. It also will help you breathe a lot easier, which is something people often forget to do if they’re nervous when the camera is rolling. Better posture just makes you feel better!
Practicing better posture in your daily life will make this easier when it’s time to go on-camera.
- Throw those shoulders back and focus on not slouching. This shows authority and confidence.
- Move that head around. Let it sway naturally when you speak.
- Get the hands out of the pockets and use them to show emotion!
- Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground (tip: I prefer to stand with my feet planted slightly wider than shoulder length. Think the “power stance”).
2. TREAT THE CAMERA AS YOUR BEST FRIEND
You’re speaking to an audience of viewers. Someone will be watching. The best way to connect to a viewer is to speak as if you are talking directly to them. So be yourself!
I understand this can be a difficult concept to grasp when you are staring at a glass lens. It’s a lifeless being after all. It’s like you’re talking to yourself, really.
So talk to yourself!
Find a mirror and talk to yourself, or talk to yourself in your car. Talk about your day. How did your day go? Were you happy or stressed out? What caused you to feel that way? How did that make you feel?
The point is to get a better feel of your voice, your facial expressions, your unique mannerisms. Speak with emotion!
You’ll be embarrassed at first. That’s ok. It feels weird initially.
But you are your best friend. At least you should be. Once you become comfortable talking to yourself, talking to a camera will be just as easy.
3. BE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR SUBJECTS
This may seem obvious, but you can’t fake passion. And without passion, you will come across as lifeless and disinterested on camera.
Know your subject like the back of your hand. Ask questions, search online, participate in online discussion of your subject.
Research should be easy if you are passionate about a subject.
4. PROJECT YOUR VOICE
This is for most of you. If you are one of the few people that actually needs to tone the energy down when you’re on camera, you’re lucky. For most of us, we need to up the energy.
For whatever reason, projecting your voice on the louder side plays well on camera.
I preach being “comfortable” on camera, but I don’t want you to mistake that for being nonchalant and loosey-goosey.
The voice is one of your biggest weapons to improving your on-camera presence, so don’t let it be weak and soft!
There’s no need to shout, though. Really, the only way to get a feel for the right amount of volume is following Tip #5
5. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!
The best and most efficient way to getting better on camera! Seriously.
This is how I became the youngest television news reporter in a top 10 news market in the country.
It wasn’t because I was a super intelligent guy. It wasn’t because I was some prodigy. It wasn’t because of my supernatural, Jedi abilities that controlled my employer’s minds and forced them to hire me.
It was because I blew everyone out of the water in my age bracket in terms of camera confidence.
And I learned that skill through constant, consistent practice.
Like riding a bike, like learning to swim, like studying for an exam…the more you do, the better you’ll get.
The more you record yourself on camera, the more comfortable you’ll get on camera. Period.
If you have a cell phone that records video, a webcam, or an actually camcorder you should use it as often as possible.
What should you talk about? In high school and college, I loved talking about sports. So that’s what I did…a lot. Thousands of hours of talking.
Find a topic you like and talk about it on camera. Be comfortable talking without a script. Just hit record and go.
After you’re done? Watch it. It may be cringe-worthy. Who cares!
Practice will make perfect. It did for me.