I have these two friends who are amazing leadership trainers and speakers. Every time I hear them speak I am just plain jealous. They do it with such ease and I when I try, I get scared to death. But . . .
By Steve Moran
I have these two friends, Dennis MacIntee and Denise B Scott, who are amazing leadership trainers and speakers. Every time I hear them speak I am just plain jealous. They do it with such ease and I when I try, I get scared to death.
But . . .
I am not content to say “Oh well, it can’t be helped.”
Particularly frustrating is that I have discovered I am at my very worst when I am solo in front of a video camera and, currently, I have some solo videos I need to produce. This is both weird and frustrating since I can just keep doing and redoing until I get it right. In talking with Pam McDonald, writer and copy editor extraordinaire for Senior Housing Forum about my frustration, she suggested a one-on-one session with an acting coach.
Off to School
This past week I spent three hours with Charlie Holliday who runs the Mosaic Acting Academy with the very specific goal of helping people get better on camera. Maybe some of my experience will be helpful to you as you speak in public.
People want eye contact. In venues where it is small enough it is actually better to get down at floor level to speak rather than stay on a stage. If you are in front of a camera, you want to be looking at the lens (though not staring). You might even think of the camera as another person who is a part of the conversation.
If videotaping people doing something together they need to be as tightly together as possible. This might mean chairs touching. It will seem awkward but will look great. This means getting the camera in close. You will even notice that often on interviews the very top of the head of the tallest person will be cut off . . . but you never actually noticed that before.
Video Trick: If it is one person talking into the camera sit or stand at a 45-degree angle. It will make you look better . . use your good side.
Be hydrated before you get in front of the camera.
Don’t know what to do with your hands . . . hold a cup with water in it. It will help even if the audience can’t see the cup.
Through the lens teleprompters can be a big help and are not terribly expensive.
Another teleprompter cheat — one I didn’t know about but tried and liked — is a simple bluetooth earpiece that is small enough to be invisible to the camera. With that piece of equipment, you then record your script into your phone or a tablet (I’m using my Kindle Fire).
When you are ready to video tape, you hit play on the tablet and as the words come through your earpiece, you just say them to the camera.
When standing in front of the camera put one foot forward and put your weight on the back foot.
The big take away is that great public speaking is hard work. Those who are great at it may have some natural talent they were born with, but in essentially every case, they spend a lot of time working on their craft so they can look like it is no big deal.
You may not . . . I may not be TED Talk material but working at it and practicing will make your public speaking to big or tiny groups more effective.