Recently I was lucky enough to be invited to speak to a networking group, Your Time Matters, on why video is an essential tool for businesses. Now for those that know me, public speaking would seem like one of the last things they would ever see me doing. I had an important message to deliver and a keen audience waiting to hear my insights into the benefits of video.
I’ll easily admit the nerves definitely got the better of me, which I’m sure was evident to the audience. I had a ten-minute time limit to deliver so many key messages on the topic of video. I’d rehearsed and tried to memorise my lines, developed a slide show with plenty of text prompts for me to talk to and added a more than a few engaging interviews.
Honestly, it was a relief to finally have the presentation over so I could sit down (and take a breath and a drink of water after talking so much). The nerves slowly dissipated and I relaxed into the rest of the presentations. In fact, there were a few questions directed my way after the presentation. This is when I felt most at ease having random questions asked of me. Answering their questions came naturally – I know my stuff about video content and feel confident talking about it in any scenario.
This experience made me think about how my preparation and performance in that presentation could actually relate to being in front of the video camera. That’s part of our expertise, interviewing and coaching people through producing their own content. It may be staff members in an internal video, a business owner promoting their business or a celebrity endorsing a product. There are many of the same principles in presenting to a live audience as there is in presenting to camera. But in my eyes, video has many more advantages.
1. You can have more than one go at it
With a presentation, you really only have one go to get it right. In my presentation, I was a bit of a nervous, bumbling mess at times. I know if I had the chance to deliver the same presentation a few times in row, the nerves may have disappeared, I would have felt much more confident in front of the audience and also remembered to emphasise key messages in the most engaging format. I did make a similar comment to this during my presentation and also pointed out that for me to give my presentation a few times over would mean everyone had to stay well past midnight.
That’s one of the great things about video. If I had given that presentation to the camera, not concerned about time limits or audience, it would have been a very different outcome. Often we are tasked with setting up an autocue script for our presenter, which can at times be pages long. One of our tricks is to have them read the first few paragraphs to get their tone right, the speed right and also calm their nerves. When we have assessed these issues, we then offer advice and try those sections again. Once everyone is happy and comfortable with the tone of delivery, this makes the entire presentation much easier rather than reading it all in one hit and then going back to do it all over.
2. You can change the dialogue as you go
You don’t need to get locked into the script that is produced. You may find that the way it has been written doesn’t quite come across with the same impact when it is spoken. I had dedicated a great deal of time in developing and rehearsing for my presentation, I still had thoughts on elements I would have changed after the presentation was finished. Imagine if I had stopped and started during my presentation with new ideas or messages. Better off saving those ideas for the next presentation.
3. The editing makes you star
Once the different takes have been recorded, it comes to the edit. Magically all the bad takes disappear and a seamless, engaging video presentation is produced. It’s rare, but I jumped in front of camera myself a while back to talk about the importance of video content for customer experience. Now that short 90-second presentation actually took around an hour to produce and get right, with each take needing at least 3-4 goes. I changed the script throughout, changed my delivery tone and also changed camera angles a few times. In the end, the delivery of the dialogue looked seamless in the edit (well, for my presentation skills…)
4. Do away with the script – you know your stuff
I mentioned earlier that the most at ease I felt during the presentation was actually the question time afterwards. I felt confident answering any questions because I could draw on 20 years of experience in producing video content. The same can be applied for a video presentation. Rather than write a script, have a Director or one of your colleagues prompt you with questions relating to the topic you want to discuss. You’ll be amazed at the ease at which the information will flow. You know your stuff so it’s easy to talk about. And then once you have answered the question, have someone ask it again for a second take. You may find that not only will you refine your answer, you may in fact deliver some subtle differences in content that will add a huge benefit to the final video.
5. Do it again… and again… and again….
You can’t stop at producing just one video, you need to keep creating more. Not only to engage your audience, but also to build up your confidence in delivering to camera. Your customers and colleagues want to hear from you. They want to get your insights and expert opinion and the best way to do that is via video.
So there you have it, a few of my insights into presenting to camera from lessons I learnt giving a live presentation. It all takes practice and confidence whether it is public speaking or video presentations.