It is 2013 and pretty much everyone has access to video recording equipment in the form of a phone, tablet or laptop. And while taking videos of your dog or cat doing cute stuff might be fun, I have a far better use of this technology. Record yourself practicing and actually giving your speeches.
As we have already established, practicing aloud is a must to being a great speaker. If world class athletes, musicians, and performers practice their craft, it is nothing short of arrogant to believe you don't need to.
And while practicing will help you deliver your message more effectively, seeing yourself from the audience's perspective will give you a whole new outlook on your speaking.
It's a little scary because the camera adds pounds--it's not you, you're beautiful--and doesn't couch its feedback in comforting language. It is stark, honest reality--and it is undeniable.
Video recording is most effective in bringing to our attention the flaws we are not conscious of. This includes repetitive or ineffective gesturing and the dreaded vocalized pauses ("um", "uh"). It is the camera's brutal honesty that gets our attention and inspires us to make the necessary improvements. It is one thing for a speech coach to say "you're saying 'um' too much". It is another for you to have to watch yourself saying "um" 75 times in a five minute talk! It is painful, sobering and embarrassing. But it forces us to improve that flaw, in a hurry.
When you record yourself, ideally you have someone holding the camera so they can adjust to movement, etc. However if you don't have the luxury of someone to hold the camera, rig it up so that it can record you and stand still. Keep it the proper distance away so it can see all of you, from head to toe (because if you are standing oddly or shifting your weight a distracting number of times, you want to see that). However, don't have it so far away that you look like you are at the end of a tunnel and we can't see the finer points of things like facial expressions and such.
Review your video with a critical eye taking note of thing that are within your power to change, and make those changes. It is a little uncomfortable at first (even some Hollywood stars report hating looking at themselves on the screen).
The camera is an incredibly powerful tool for speakers looking to improve. Use it for something more productive than stupid pet tricks!
That's all for today. Be well, speak well and as always, thanks for reading!
Anyone interested in learning more about Dan Leyes and his consulting work should visit Semiosphere Consulting.