Three Mistakes To Avoid When You're On Camera

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Video is everywhere: from digital marketing strategies, to traditional TV interviews being conducted with smartphones and DSLR cameras. Any business that wants to operate successfully in 2018 needs to ensure that their spokesperson can articulate themselves on camera, and not be overwhelmed or giddy when interacting with media. A lot of these points are outlined in Camera Ready, my media training course available at the Nudge Academy, but here I share my top three mistakes to avoid when you're on camera.

1. Not communicating with your eyes

If you're looking down the barrel of a camera to an interviewer, or creating a video message for digital media, you need to lock in your eye contact, and not focus on anything off camera because otherwise, you'll look disengaged. The reverse goes if you are being interviewed by someone in person- your focus should be on the interviewer. Your end goal in both cases is to establish a connection; either with the audience or interviewer, so find the location of each and focus on it. If you're finding it hard to maintain focus with the interviewer, look just above their eyes to their forehead or their nose, and with the camera, imagine your ideal customer or a loved one on the other side of the camera, so you can visualize speaking directly to someone.

2. Not understanding the reasons of the video

What is the purpose of the video? Know what line of questioning a journalist might have, or why you are creating a piece of digital content before you start recording. Doing so allows you to adequately prepare statistics, figures, and quotes you may need and hone in on the messages you need to communicate to your audience, without wasting their time. Keep your ideas short and concise, and avoid using abstract terms. Your audience won't always remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel, so keep this in mind when you're in the planning stages.

3. Not preparing correctly

We all have smartphones, but we don't use them effectively before going on camera. From filming yourself with your camera propped up on a desk before an interview, or recording a selfie video of what you're saying to customers can be a straightforward and efficient manner to rehearse. You can listen to the tone, pitch, and rhythm of your voice, and you'll be aware of any nervous ticks or where your eye line goes. When you are in control of the situation you're about to face, it's much easier to be comfortable, and your audience will pick up on that. When you have the pressure of answering questions quickly with cameras on you or a live audience listening in, it can be much more challenging, and it can fluster even the most confident people.

Related: Why Avoiding Public Speaking Is Sabotaging Your Career (And What You Can Do About It)