We’re all on video now more than ever before. Between Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls, video presentations, and social video content, there are tons of ways you might find yourself being recorded. If you're camera shy, the idea of being on video can be downright terrifying. Talking on camera gets more comfortable the more you do it but there are some steps you can take to make it easier on yourself.
Know what you want to say
Knowing what you want to say ahead of time makes filming yourself (or being filmed) a lot less scary. Plan out your main talking points and make some notes. However, if you know you’re someone who does better when speaking off the cuff then try that instead. Do whatever you know helps you. I have a list of essential videos you need to create in this article if you are unsure where to begin.
Lower your expectations
You can do this without worrying about the impact on your results. Audiences love authenticity and realness. If you stumble over a few words or your dog makes an appearance in the background for a few seconds, that’s okay! Doing this will make you seem more human and can actually make people like you more.
Rehearse your message
Once you know what you want to say, practice it over and over. If you’re concerned about how your content is coming across or what your video weaknesses might be, ask someone! Don’t worry about exact wording, focus on knowing your message, not memorizing lines. Doing this will prevent you from tripping on your words or sounding like a robot.
Dress for success
What makes you comfortable in general situations? Wearing the “right” outfit tends to make people more comfortable in various situations and video’s no different. Wear things that you’re comfortable in and make you feel confident. Just keep in mind that solid colors tend to record well, so choose those, when possible.
When you are nervous it is natural to talk faster than normal. Do your best not to rush and make yourself pause between thoughts. Plus, pausing between thoughts has the added benefit of making the video easier to edit. Forcing yourself to slow down a bit can also make you feel a bit calmer.
Start with screen share
You can start with screen share videos if seeing yourself is part of what makes you nervous. There are free tools that let you record your screen, but add a small webcam bubble that records your face. By making videos in this way can help normalize seeing yourself recorded. Once you have become comfortable with this then you can move to full video. Check out this article to learn how to celebrate the small victories to help you make it to your goal!
When you talk to people you change your facial expressions. You use body language to help communicate your point. When you are nervous you tend to struggle to do things you would otherwise do naturally. Make “eye contact” with the lens, smile, and use hand gestures to the camera as you would a person.
Don’t record many takes
It is absolutely okay to do a couple of takes. However, it can be tempting to keep doing it again and again until you get it “right.” Perfection is the enemy. Do a couple, choose the best and call it a day.
Edit your own videos
Once you have made your videos they will need to be edited. Rather than having someone else edit them, edit them yourself. This will force you to get used to seeing yourself on video and make the idea of it a bit less scary. The more you see yourself on camera, the less strange it will feel. Check out this article if you would like some help figuring out which video gear you may need.
Keep doing it
Learning how to be comfortable on video is partially about getting over yourself, try not to overthink it. The more you film content, the more comfortable you’ll feel over time. Getting familiar with the technical side of the process, like getting set up or saving your recording successfully will help you to focus more on the content side which will help your nerves. Just keep doing it until it doesn’t feel weird.
For most of us, talking to a blinking dot on a camera or laptop feels unnatural and somewhat uncomfortable. Just keep in mind that talking on camera gets more comfortable the more you do it. As we use video more across our professional and personal lives, being on camera is increasingly something that everyone should know how to do, so we can all harness the power of video.