Appearing on camera can be nerve-racking for anyone – especially when you are about to go live. You have to stay on message, appear relaxed but confident, and be comfortable with the fact that all eyes, lights, and cameras are on you. However, navigating the live shot minefield is a lot simpler if you know what to expect.
Here are some great tips that will get you through the process and show off your natural talent.
KNOW YOUR MATERIAL
You hear it all the time, “practice makes perfect.” Practice what you’re going to say! If you’re working from a script, don’t get hung up on memorizing every word. The message is more important than reciting your script verbatim. Jotting down a few bullets to use as talking points will not only help you to stay on message, but also make you appear more natural to the audience.
NOTE: Rehearse aloud to hear how your words will sound, figure out which inflections work best, and solidify your tone. You don’t always need to practice in a mirror, especially if it makes you self-conscious, but you should hear how your message sounds when being delivered.
IT MAY SOUND CLICHE, BUT ACT NATURAL
Whether you’re speaking with someone on set, being interviewed by someone remotely, or just delivering a message straight to the camera, try to make it conversational. No one wants to be talked at, so have a conversation with the camera or with your interviewer. There’s a noticeable difference.
- Don’t change how you act just because you are on camera.
- Don’t try to use big words to impress the audience if you don’t normally use them.
- Don’t use a “speaker’s voice.” Use your normal voice and pitch.
- Do use contractions when appropriate. You’ll appear more natural and less robotic if you say things like “can’t,” rather than “cannot,” or “you’re,” instead of “you are.”
According to a study by Microsoft, the average attention span of humans has dropped to a mere 8 seconds. Like it or not, we live in a world of sound bites and catch phrases. Whether you are answering a question or proving a point, try not to be too long-winded. Stay on message but deliver that message as quickly and concisely as possible.
TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Before you go on camera, do a quick mirror check. Is there food in your teeth? Is your tie straight? Is your hair messed up? Fix it before you sit down on set. If you don’t, you’ll kick yourself later.
ALL EYES ON YOU
If you’re on-set with an interviewer and are asked a question, make sure to look at him/her when you answer. If you are being interviewed remotely or presenting material, lock eyes with the camera lens or prompter. Don’t let your eyes wander. Remember, your audience or interviewer is on the other side of that lens, so give them the eye contact that will keep them engaged with you and your message.
WATER, WATER, EVERY WHERE
Drink some water before you start and keep some nearby, especially if you’re going to be on a long program. Although it is advised that you don’t drink while the camera is on you.
Remember, not everyone is a trained “on air” professional but being aware of tips like these will help you to get comfortable before you go live.