As a video production company, we often work with business owners, nonprofit founders, and other spokespersons who are representing their organization. Whether you loved acting in school plays in high school or broke into a sweat during public speaking class, it's common to feel a little apprehensive about doing a good job as a spokesperson. After all, you're telling the story of an endeavor that is deeply meaningful to you! These tips can help you succeed as a spokesperson for your video project - and enjoy the process too.
A recording session for your video project isn't live TV, and you don't have to nail the delivery in a single take. Mistakes or mis-spoken phrases are no big deal. Take your time to stop, start, and think. No one gets it perfect the first time.
One thing that can help: practice your opening words ahead of time. Rehearsing them until they feel comfortable and familiar will help calm any adrenalin surges that arise once the camera starts recording, and ease the opening moments.
This begins, of course with having a clear message that is appropriately targeted to your intended audience. (Need help? Our marketing and writing folks have your back. We can work with you to craft a message that rings true to your viewers.)
But beyond that, it means articulating the message understandably. Clear diction is vital. Take care with consonants, especially at the ends of words. You may feel like you have to enunciate more precisely than you would in conversation. Good timing, varied inflection, and an appreciation for well-timed pauses are also bonuses.
Speaking in full, clear sentences will help get your message across. And it's good to avoid clichés and acronyms (which may be misunderstood and often don't roll off the tongue easily). If specialized lingo or technical terminology is necessary, confirm the correct pronunciation.
Take care that your volume stays strong all the way to the end of your sentences. Trailing off can make your closing statements sound muddy or uncertain.
Maintain Engaged Eye Contact
One thing that will help connect with video viewers is eye contact. If you are distractedly looking at your notes, your lap, or somewhere off camera when you are speaking, they're likely to be distracted as well.
Often, we set up interview shots so that your gaze can rest naturally on an interviewer seated next to the camera. Look at their face, not directly into the camera lens. This helps avoid an unblinking "deer in the headlights" effect, allowing you to relate with the interviewer when making a point.
Your video will have a warmer message when your gaze, facial expressions, and body language show that you're interacting with the interviewer - and the camera - as a friendly conversation. This helps the audience feel more engaged and receptive.
Experiment to Find the Right Vocal Tone
Ever hear your voice on a recording—and hate it? This is incredibly common, and there's a scientific reason why. When you're talking and hear the sound of your voice in your head, it includes resonance from your own bone tissue, making you sound deeper and richer. But the acoustics are different when sound waves produced by your vocal chords travel through air alone, which is how the rest of the world perceives your voice. That's why your own voice doesn't sound familiar to you.
But sometimes emotion can affect your pitch. When people feel nervous, their voice sometimes gets higher as throat muscles contract. If you find your voice rising uncomfortably, take a break, breathe in a few deep, slow breaths and stretch your neck slowly in half-circles (chin down from left to right, then right to left). Relax the muscles of your jaw and neck, and support your voice with breath from the belly rather than shallow chest breathing. This will help you stay calm, and prevent your pitch from climbing.
Plan and Practice
Thinking on your feet while on camera can be a challenge, so it's a good idea to prepare ahead of time. Depending on your video project needs, we can develop a creative brief that includes interview questions. Think about your talking points...and then practice out loud. Trying to memorize a written script isn't usually advisable—candid responses will feel more authentic to the viewer—but some thought and practice ahead of time will pay off!
Strike a Confident Pose
Posture is important: you want to look confident, but not stiff. As the spokesperson, you'll likely be seated for your interview. A straight back not only helps convey your confidence, it aids your breath support. If you tend to "talk with your hands," that's fine. Just make sure that you don't accidentally jostle the microphone (if using a lapel mic), slap your knee, or the like, because the microphones will pick up the noise.
What to wear? Solid colors are best, and ironing may be necessary depending on the style and fabric; avoid patterns and overly vibrant colors (such as neon) that will distract from your message. In some cases, wearing a shirt or other apparel branded with your company logo can provide a subtle branding opportunity.
As far as makeup is concerned, powder is a popular choice to counteract the bright lighting needed for video shoots. Bring along whatever hair styling product you think you might want to have on hand to tame flyaway strands if needed. And don't worry—we'll make sure everything looks good before we start recording.
Be Willing to Take Direction
No matter how well you know your topic, or how much you have prepared for the session, there may be some things that can be improved in the moment. Our video production staff can offer ideas and guidance if needed, and feel free to ask questions anytime. Enjoy!
Focal Flame Photography provides video production for businesses and nonprofits. We work with people who are striving to make an impact in their industries, for their clients and customers, and in their communities. Contact us today.