The way that you tell a story is often just as important as the story itself. But it’s hard to look and sound great with the nerves and uncomfortable self-awareness that spring up in front of or a camera. We came up with some tips about how to use eye contact, body language, and voice to help you connect with your audience.
But first, an example! Drupal Connect showed us their product intro video, and we were immediately taken in by the attitude and energy of the performers.
If you’re the one going in front of the camera, how do you give a great performance like John and Adam? We gathered some tips of how to look like a cool cat on video:
1. Make eye contact with the camera, but don’t stare it down. Looking away from the camera occasionally makes your performance seem authentic. When you look away, look to the side or down, not up. That way, you look thoughtful and it doesn’t seem like you’re rolling your eyes.
2. If there are other people in the shot, make sure to look at them occasionally. This comes across as genuine, and it lets you establish a rapport with them. When someone else in the shot is speaking, it’s especially important that you look at them.
3. Keep your back straight and drop your shoulders back and down. An upright and open posture communicates authority. Here’s an interesting article from Psychology Today about how an open posture also makes you feel more powerful: How to Succeed by Having Good Posture.
4. Use your hands to gesture. This helps you look natural and adds energy to the video.
5. Never put your hands behind your back or in your pockets. Hiding your hands makes viewers subconsciously think of you as untrustworthy. It also makes Tip 4 difficult.
6. If you’re standing, stay balanced and comfortable by keeping your knees slightly bent and your feet about hip-width apart. If you’re sitting, lean slightly forward like Megan Fox to appear taller and thinner.
7. Speak in a deep voice. This makes you sound calmer because most people’s voices get higher when they’re under stress. Notice how Adam’s low voice comes across as affable and relaxed in the Drupal Connect video. Don’t put on a fake voice that is way lower than your regular voice - that will just sound silly. Instead, use the bottom of your natural vocal register.
8. Take a deep breath before each sentence. People tend to collapse their diaphragm when they’re nervous, which strains their voices and makes them lose their breath easily. Taking deep breaths expands your diaphragm.
9. End your sentences on a low note - literally. If you uptalk (use a rising intonation in the final syllable) you’ll sound insecure.
The most important tip
10. Have confidence. All of this boils down to being confident or pretending you are. When you get in front of the camera, pretend that you’re talking to your closest and most supportive friends. If that doesn’t work, picture the camera in its underwear. Oh, and don’t forget to smile and have fun!