Presenting on a big stage with a live audience can be a rush. You get immediate feedback by looking at people’s faces or body language. You hear laughs at your jokes, and gasps at the aha moments you drop on them. There’s an energy in the room, and you can connect directly with your audience, both physically and emotionally.
Presenting on video is a very different experience. You don’t have anyone to look at, because you’re staring at a camera. No one is laughing at your jokes, because the crew needs to keep quiet for the best audio. You can start to feel incredibly self conscious with no one to react to your performance.
Edios Media has worked with a lot of different presenters over the years, and we’ve learned that everyone has the same anxiety and insecurity around being on camera. Even if you’re experienced at speaking on large stages, the cameras, lights, and crew staring at you can create an intense awkwardness. But there are ways to mitigate this! Here is what we would tell you if we were producing your online course:
Being familiar with the material you need to deliver is key. Don’t just read them quietly – say them out loud so you can flag sentences that might be problematic. The more you practice, the more fluid you’ll sound when you’re in front of the camera. And don’t try to memorize them. If you have a teleprompter, it’s wasted effort! It’s ok to make mistakes or to need multiple takes. A good editor can seamlessly piece your performance together to make you shine.
When working with a teleprompter, you need to read the punctuation. But what does that mean? Take a slight pause when you see a comma. Make sentences that end in periods declarative and powerful. Be excited when you see an exclamation point! (Parentheses usually sound like an aside.) Reading punctuation into your delivery allows the learners to hear the cadences present in the scripts, and allows you to sound more natural.
Most people look good in blues, greens, or reds. Luckily, these colors also look good on camera. Try to stay away from black or white – they tend to blend with the backgrounds. Small patterns like a tiny stripe or polka dot will cause the camera to moire, which could be distracting to viewers. Jangly jewelry will pick up on the microphone. Keep your hair out of your face, and make sure you have powder or blotting papers available to prevent shine. But make sure you’re comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, it will show up in your performance. A scratchy tag, shoes that make your feet hurt, hair that keeps falling into your eyes – all of these can be easily avoided.
We often ask our on-air talent to stand for several hours over the course of a few days. This takes a lot of stamina. You will get tired quickly if you don’t take care of yourself. Eat well, get a good night’s sleep, and keep hydrated during the day. Throat Coat tea, hot water with honey and lemon, or water will help keep your vocal cords strong without causing stomach gas. Some almonds or fruit for a snack will keep your energy higher than a candy bar. Take regular breaks to sit down and relax.
Pushing against your natural inclinations will show up on camera. If you’re an introvert, that’s ok. If you talk with your hands, great! Unless you’re a professional actor, we do not recommend you try to “perform” the material. Be yourself, with whatever quirks, eccentricities, or general awesomeness that entails.
We have a ton of respect for anyone who goes on camera. It can be incredibly intimidating to stand with lights and equipment pointing at you, while you try to speak like a normal person when staring directly into a sterile camera lens. Working with a team like Edios, that has your back, who is there to cheer you on (and has a few shooting and editing tricks to help make you a star), is the best way to ensure you provide the strongest performance at a consistent level throughout your online course.
-Elizabeth Madariaga, Co-Founder & Executive Producer, Edios Media