Media-savvy marketers don’t need to be told how important it is to come across well on camera. Appearances count, but there’s more to presenting than a nice suit. If you’re not properly prepared, you’re unlikely to deliver a performance you can be proud of. This is a shame, because you’ll always come across best when you’re being yourself.
Presenting Your Company Video
This article provides commonsense presenting tips for executives and business owners appearing in their own company videos. We’ve based it on our own observations from nearly 10 years of experience.
Planning and Practice makes Perfect
NEVER turn up on the day unprepared, thinking you can wing it. Filming a corporate video is a very different experience to speaking to an audience. You won’t get any feedback to respond to, for a start. You’ll probably be reading someone else’s script, so the words might not flow very well for your speech style.
The speaker should practice their lines by speaking them out loud, even if they are using an autocue. Familiarity with the script will help them deliver a natural performance. We read at least twice as fast as we speak – only by speaking out loud when practising can the speaker be sure the words suit their personal style.
Don’t be afraid to finesse the script to match the speaker’s rhythm, but make sure you’re not losing the sense of what’s being said.
Controlling your hands on screen matters. Used well, they emphasise a point being made, drawing viewers in and helping them concentrate on what’s being said. Uncontrolled, they might move off camera and become distracting. The de facto, safe thing to do is have your hands gently hold each other at about waist height, with your elbows in at your sides. When moving your hands to emphasise a point, do it gently, only once or twice per point and just a few times in a minute.
If an autocue is available, we would always recommend that you use it. It’s the surest way to deliver a good performance in your web video.
If you wear glasses, let the film company know. Glasses can create glare and this is easier to deal with if it’s known about in advance. You can consider contact lenses if you regularly use them, but it’s important to appear as most people would know you.
Your video production company should have advised you on what to wear. Keeping it simple helps.
Tailored outfits are better than unstructured fashion pieces (though context is always important).
Plain colours are better than patterns in clothing. Fine stripes in clothing can cause some weird effects on camera (moire), creating the illusion that they’re moving around.
This sounds easy and obvious but it’s quite hard to do under pressure. Most people slightly sway their bodies when they’re presenting, or nod their heads and look fidgety. Practice makes all the difference.
Is this really necessary in a corporate video production? Yes. At the very least you should expect some light powder on your forehead and cheeks. This actually makes you look more natural – without it you’d look shiny and sweaty. Most men find it an odd process and aren’t always comfortable with it. Sorry – get over yourself. It’s to make you look good.
Always have a glass of water, a green tea or similar to hand when you’re engaged in video presenting. Never have coffee or other drinks that clog up the mouth and might leave temporary stains. If you do so in a break, rinse well with water afterwards.
What if it’s not going well?
Take five! Leave the room, have a cigarette, have a camomile tea, think about something different. Just for five minutes. Then sit down with your director/cameraman, review the problem and approach it again. Above all, RELAX. Everyone there is on your side and working to help you deliver the best performance you can. You don’t have to come across like a professional video presenter – you just need to be natural.
Finally, shooting a company video is quite different to dealing with the press, radio and TV. If that’s something you do, even as a one-off, you should seek professional ‘media training’ where you will learn how to deal with tricky questions, how to dress and, generally, how to present yourself.
Click here for a useful article form the BBC
About the author:
Andy Woodruff has spent the last 20 years in sales and customer facing roles. As a former ‘suit’ himself he has directed countless video productions with everyone from presenters who are trained and experienced to managing directors who are used to public speaking but not to appearing on camera.