Performance Anxiety Got Your Tongue?
Being able to speak with confidence in front of the camera and set aside your performance anxiety isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. Even the most experienced speakers can feel nervous in front of the camera.
What is it about the lens that makes people so uncomfortable?
Whatever the reason, video is quickly becoming a key communication vehicle. You need to overcome your performance anxiety and learn to speak well on camera with confidence if you want to succeed in today’s video-dominated world.
Here are five public speaking tips that will help you perform better on camera.
Get Comfortable Before Speaking On Camera
Any good public speaker will tell you that performance anxiety is worse if you’re physically uncomfortable, and that includes the clothing you choose.
If you want to be comfortable in front of the camera, choose clothing that not only makes you feel good about yourself, but also feels comfortable to wear. The last thing you need to be worrying about is feeling constricted by pants that are too tight or that the person watching can see your sweat stains.
If possible, try to schedule your video meetings or video shoots for a time of day when you feel at your best. If you’re a morning person, that means shooting early in the day. If you’re shooting a video, give yourself plenty of time. Nothing will make you look stressed on camera more than feeling like you’re under the gun. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
Other things you can do to help make you feel comfortable speaking on camera include: staying hydrated, speaking about topics you’re passionate about, knowing the script and limiting the number of distractions around you.
Breathe & Relax to Reduce Performance Anxiety
This is easier said than done for a lot of people, but it’ll get easier with practice.
Right before speaking on camera, do something that helps you to relax and feel comfortable. This could be yoga, reading a book or listening to music. When you take some time before you speak on camera to compose yourself and calm your breathing, you’ll find you appear more natural and relaxed on camera. Most importantly, don’t hold your breath!
Learning proper breathing will also make it easier to pace your speaking. A casual and conversational tone is appropriate for your videos; unfortunately, that’s not the way people speak in their everyday conversations, which tend to be much faster.
When you’re speaking on camera, deliberately slow your speech down to enunciate and make your words clear to your listeners. Slowing your speech down will also lessen the chances of stumbling over your words and stuttering.
Mind Your Body Language
Studies suggest only 7 per cent of our judgement is based on verbal communication, which means body language and non-verbal communication plays a huge role in speaking on camera. When you’re suffering from performance anxiety, though, focusing on good body language can be difficult.
Here are a few body language dos and don’ts to keep in the forefront of your mind next time you’re planning to speak on camera:
Do● Sit upright with good posture to show confidence ● Make eye contact with the camera but remember, it’s not a staring contest; you can look away momentarily and blink ● Keep your arm movements to a minimum and try not to spend too much time with your arms further apart than your shoulders
Don’t● Cross your arms over your chest – this comes across as defensive and unwelcoming ● Move your head out of the frame by reaching or bending ● Yawn, bite your nails or rub your face; This gives the viewer the impression that you’re bored or nervous ● Fidget or create distracting noises with things off-camera (like clicking a pen)
It’s also important to remember to smile at the camera. Offer a natural and relaxed smile, as if you’re talking to a friend.
Build a Good Support Network
Even if it’s just you speaking in front of the camera on your laptop, chances are you will show someone your videos before you publish them to collect feedback.
Build a network of trusted people who want to help you speak better on camera so you can keep improving your technique. Find someone who will look over your videos and provide you with constructive criticism. If you want to get better at speaking on camera, you need to hear an honest and helpful opinion.
If you’re filming with a crew, make sure the people working with you are helping you feel comfortable. Everyone involved in making a video needs to work together, and that includes helping you overcome your performance anxiety and improving your speaking on camera.
Know What You’re Going to Say
Stressing over the possibility of messing up or forgetting a part of your message will affect your on-camera performance. When you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, you’ll be able to hold your head up high and speak with confidence.
While you might not (and should not) memorize every word of your on-camera presentation, you do need to keep at least a basic outline nearby to keep you on track. Bullet-point notes are ideal because they jog your memory, but still require you to speak unscripted.
Imagine a Friendly Face
Speaking on camera causes performance anxiety in many people, simply because talking to a tiny lens is not “normal.”
If you can imagine a person on the other side of the camera—a friendly face who is interested in what you have to say and supportive of your message, you will find your performance anxiety lessens and your effectiveness as an on-camera speaker improves.
What tips do you have for speaking on camera? Leave them in the Comment section or find us on social media to join the conversation there.