Speaking in Public – on Microphone or Camera

Why is it that even some the most brilliant people crumble when you put a microphone or camera lens in front of them? It’s because they automatically take their focus off their subject matter and their audience and put it on themselves.

The following is a list of guidelines you can follow when addressing a crowd whether it’s on microphone or on camera. Remember, in this day and age, you could be videoed or recorded at anytime (nervous now?) and uploaded to the likes of Facebook or YouTube so it’s best to understand and practice these communications tips so as not to blunder if suddenly someone says, “You’re on!”

1. You have a great voice. How many times have you heard someone say, “I sound so strange when I’m recorded.” It’s not that your voice is “off” in any way it’s just that you’re not used to hearing it coming out of a speaker! Think about it…how many people do you know who truly have a strange voice? Most voices are in the “normal” range. Tip: The quality of well-selected words are much more important than the quality of your voice. Add a little color.

2. You can be calm. What’s the first thing someone does when they feel unnerved by a situation that’s out of their control? They speak too fast and begin elongating their stories. Why? Again, they’re putting the focus on themselves and are working too hard to impress the listener. But that action could actually be having the opposite effect especially if you begin to ramble. Tip: Improve your posture, slow it down…breathe….state your case and allow for silence. Silence signifies confidence and helps to make your point.

3. You have great energy. Why is it that when we’re asked to address a crowd we’re so focused on speaking perfectly formed sentences and not focused on being present? Could it be because we’re thinking too much about grammar and articulation and not enough about our viewers? Tip: You haven’t gotten to where you are by being perfectly articulate and controlled. You got to where you are by being you. So BE YOU. Allow communication to flow.

4. You are intelligent. Why are we are often so concerned about how we’re being perceived even though we know our work inside and out? Often, we’re thinking about how we are looking or sounding as opposed to what we are saying. Most likely, you were chosen to speak because you are an expert on the subject matter. Tip: Viewers relate with those who are authentic. Remember: People want to hear what you have to SAY.

The more practice you have speaking on camera or before a microphone, the more comfortable you’ll get doing it. If you’re being recorded, ask for a copy and watch or listen back and ask others to critique your performance as well.

Today, people are bombarded by messages all the time. It’s more important now than ever to be able to cut through the clutter to make yourself stand out from the crowd. It’s a fact, people remember others who not only teach them something new, but who are also uniquely authentic in their delivery. When speaking, it’s always important to remember that people are allowing you to take them on a journey. So we have a responsibility to get them there with clarity and to keep them engaged along the way.

When presenting, think about the arc of the journey you’re taking them on. It has a beginning, a middle, an end and a purpose. Then when you are speaking, focus on that arc. In doing so, you will then not be focusing on yourself and how you look or sound, instead, you will be focused upon teaching and serving them!

This seemingly slight shift in focus will significantly reduce your stress levels because our brains simply cannot focus on two things at once. It has to choose between what we are saying and how we are looking as we are saying it. So choose to make your talk about them and not about you. And everything will fall into place almost effortlessly for you.

So by using these simple tips you will not only create and deliver terrific content but you will have much more fun doing so. Because I have to tell you, having the experience of engaging, helping and moving people in an audience is a terrifically satisfying experience for everyone involved; especially you!

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