Published on August 16th, 2016 | by Nancy F. Clark0
How Women Can Be Confident On Camera
By Alexa Fischer—
As an online course creator with thousands of students all over the world, I’m crystal clear that being on-camera has been a huge part of my business. My ability to hit Record, let the red dot light up, and just relax and deliver has enabled me to spread my message far and wide, be hired as a public speaker and public speaking coach, and create a flood of promotional and informative material for my business for years.
Women are under a lens that is culturally unique—and our workplaces are far from equal. Look tired, gain a few pounds, or wear bright lipstick, and someone will have something to say about it. The scrutiny we experience around our physical appearance often has our confidence take a hit. I think it also makes it even harder to feel comfortable about being on camera— as soon as you watch your recording, you probably cringe and hyper-analyze your hand movements.
But video is a valuable way to improve your career and increase your success. If you’re impatient to have your business get off the ground, video could be a major catalyst for your success.
I have important tips for you that will help you get out of your head and on camera with ease right now.
My first major recommendation: PRACTICE. Literally, just try it.
Many people think they don’t know how to be on camera, so the best way to break through that is to just start. Try it, practice, watch yourself back, see how you feel. Block out time each week to practice on-camera delivery and notice if your eyes seem to be awkwardly focused to one side of the frame or the other. Notice if you say “um” or “ah” a lot and use too many vocal fillers. Notice the speed at which you talk, and what color shirt looks best on you and in front of that background.
First notice—then ask yourself this question: What’s missing?
What’s missing is a pretty magical question. I don’t mean what’s wrong or what you need to fix—those are easy details to tweak. I mean really look for yourself—what is qualitatively missing from who you’re being in the video? Try a comparison to someone you’d want to be like on camera (I’ll be eternally flattered if you choose me), and take note of what they have going on that you would like to emulate.
If you start with an idea of where you’re going and why you’re creating—a CONTEXT—then the CONTENT will take care of itself over time.
Here are four more tips to help you get on camera with ease right now:
1. Pre-filming – do mirror work. High-performance athletes do this, and you can to. Take 2 minutes at a time to just BE with yourself in the mirror. Look into your own eyes and be present. Don’t make an audience for yourself “out there” or zone out—really be with yourself and focus. Add a little affirmation here, either in your head or out-loud, and mirror work can really increase your confidence in spades.
Practice what you’ll say on the video in the mirror until you yourself believe your words and feel compelled to listen more, or even to take action. This kind of practice could really help you feel comfortable with velocity.
2. Use the right lighting gear. You can actually take amazing video using only your smartphone. But lighting really matters—find the best window set-up you can to grab natural light, and consider a simple clamp light to frame and balance the shot.
3. Eye Contact + Smile. Consider that when you’re on Skype or similar, you tend to look at yourself as you talk. When you’re creating great video content, you have to look at the tiny lens—so train yourself to focus there. It will create the sensation of eye contact for your viewers.
Furthermore—you have to find your self-expression, and not everyone is the “bubbly” type, but if you get blank-faced because you’re nervous, your self-expression will dip, and you’ll be less engaging overall. If you have any qualms about your smile, drop them—your smile will light up the room. It makes people feel at home.
4. Don’t do a million takes. Sure, you should rehearse and practice. But if you have perfectionist tendencies, you can’t do 20 takes—it’s too much to sift through at the end when you need to edit, and it will be exhausting for you. The experience of making a video has to be easy and positive—otherwise, you’ll never continue and improve at it. Plus, if you end up with 15 or 20 takes, think about it, they really can’t be that different from each other.
The truth is that being yourself is one of the magical keys to being confident and engaging on camera. If that means visualizing talking to your best friend or writing out the bullet points of your content first, that’s what needs to be done. I’m actually pointing out here that the camera itself—the weird-looking device in front of you—can act like a barrier between you and your full self-expression. Being natural requires you to practice until it feels like the camera isn’t there, while maintaining an awareness of where the camera is so you can engage with it and reach the eyes of your viewers.
You must watch yourself back—overcome the discomfort of that first. Let it be a meaningless set of practice takes when you’re starting out, and quiet that nagging voice of self-doubt. Listen to the voice of encouragement, and be attentive without excessive judgment. The world is always judging—if you don’t love yourself up and tell yourself you CAN, no one will. Being on camera is not significant—it’s just one place to document who you really are.