Oh to be young!

It’s an advantage on video but not for the reason you’re thinking. 

It’s About Comfort, Not Appearance

Gen Z and young millennials grew-up seeing themselves immediately after a pic was clicked on digital camera screens, then on smart phones. Making a quick video of themselves from a handheld device was like playing with a Fisher-Price toy. 

We Gen Xers, Boomers, and maybe a few of the eldest Millennials, ages ranging from 38-66 grew up waiting to pick-up pictures at the local FotoMat to see what we looked like in our vacation photos. Film and flash cubes slowly went away for more advanced imaging technology. Heck, a View Master viewer was genius! 

According to Cisco, while searching on the Internet 81% of people will choose a video over something to read

Here we are in 2021 cringing at the thought of being on video. If you are promoting yourself online, it’s time to get comfortable in the leading role of videos. Rest assured, minimal comfort is all you need; you don’t have to deliver an Academy Award worthy performance. 

Am I comfortable on video? Barely! This is take 15, 17, 25 … I don’t remember. There was at least one more after this when I completely forgot tip number six. I finally just called it instead of acting like I was Clint Eastwood directing myself. “Get over yourself, Leslie!” I said. 

Here is my video with my ten tips for getting comfortable on video. 

Let me be your downward comparison so that you feel you can do at least as well. Next time, it will be a little bit better. Practice will make perfect … well, slightly closer to perfect. 

Here are the tips if you wanted a cheat sheet to print, as might be your custom. 

  1. Practice! It’s not like you are wasting film. Record, watch, delete, re-record. You will notice things about yourself you haven’t noticed before. Notice them, accept them, and move on! 
  2. Wear clothes you like and that match your brand. Business corporate or business casual? Only physical trainers should be wearing athleisure wear on camera, UNLESS it is your message–you are making a point–showing your following that you are on vacation, that sometimes you work on the weekends, or if your activity helps tell your message. 
  3. Speak like you speak when you meet a customer. You don’t have to be overly formal with your word choice. 
  4. Enunciate! I learned that apple juice cleanses your palate and helps you enunciate. I don’t know if it’s true, but I do it when I have apple juice on-hand and I believe my mouth moves easier. 
  5. Smile! People want to listen to someone who is friendly. 
  6. Don’t smile too much! If you have something serious and solemn to explain, your expression should reflect that. If you smile when you’re nervous, then try to get the jitters out before you get on film. 
  7. Look at the camera! Follow that green light. 
  8. Know where your stop record button is before you start. Using a tripod with a remote control can help. 
  9. Arrange your lighting so that there are not shadows on your face. And, 
  10. Relax! Pretend you are face-timing with a friend. 

Your turn! Make a video this week and share on social media.

Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She is the author of Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits iavailable now on Amazon.

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