On September 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in the first-ever televised presidential debate in American history. And while radio listeners called the debate a draw, Kennedy was the clear winner to television viewers. Politicians not only had to be leaders they had to know how to look good on camera too. While many of today's business leaders do not have appear on national television, the proliferation of online video has forever changed business communication as well.
In today’s video-centric world, it is important for company executives to have the right skills to appear on camera for a video interview, vlog, video podcast or corporate video clip. Yet, many executives are still intimidated by the notion of appearing on video - due to lack of experience or they’re just plain camera shy. However, the use of video to communicate company stories is now almost mandatory, senior executives are required to get comfortable with the concept of communicating live and online.
At uStudio, many of our customers user our enterprise video platform to send executive communcations to internal and external stakeholders. They know the importance of C-level executives being able to communicate company messages via this medium. While it isn’t always the easiest skill to perfect, by using the following tips, business leaders can improve their on-camera skills and get more comfortable with video.
- Appearance is Important - Wear comfortable clothes, sit up straight and use your natural voice when on camera. If you are feeling relaxed and comfortable, your audience will as well and will be more interested in your content. And gentlemen don’t be afraid of a touch of makeup; a little powder can go a long way. Videos are often shot under hot lights and you don’t want to be shiny.
- Make Eye Contact – Whether you are asked to look at an interviewer or directly at camera, it is important to maintain eye contact to properly convey your message and build credibility with your audience.
- Watch Your Body Language – Try not to fidget, make too many hand gestures or head bobs as these motions can be distracting to viewers. And be aware of how much of your body will be seen.
- Facial Expressions Count – Make sure your facial expressions map to your content. While smiles and lively eyes are recommended, some content requires a more serious tone.
- Write Your Own Script or Outline – If you know your material, you will feel more comfortable on camera and it will also give you the ability to ad-lib and change things up if a thought strikes you on-the-fly. A prompted interview can be even better at capturing your natural responses.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Outside the Script – This is your spotlight, know the power of telling a story and don’t be afraid to branch off your outline and provide examples or anecdotes.
- Keep Energy Levels Up – No matter the length of the content you are shooting, make sure to keep energy levels up throughout. If you are low energy and not excited about the messages you are delivering, your audiences won’t be either.
- Watch Your Pace – While you want to be high energy in your video, don’t race through your content. Pause to breathe, especially after important points, so that they have more impact.
- Practice, Practice, Practice – and then Practice Again – The best preparation for being on video is to practice. Do a couple dry runs in front of the mirror in advance of the shoot to ensure you have a good flow of content and relaxed demeanor. Or as painful as it may be, practice on camera – even your phone will do – then you can watch yourself back to really get a sense of your performance.
- Keep Water Nearby – We all get a frog in our throat at the exact wrong time. Just don’t pull a Marco Rubio.
- Be Yourself – This is probably the most important tip. Coming across as a speaker that is genuinely passionate about its products and company is the best way to enlighten your audience.