The way you stand or sit during a performance plays a pivotal role in your on-camera effectiveness and your ability to have your message heard the way you intended. This week, let’s take a quick look at how you might overcome two common pitfalls of standing and performing.
The Metronome Effect
It’s a common misconception that our feet need to stay rooted in the same spot while on camera. Often, you are shown a mark on the floor where you are to stand to stay appropriately framed within the shot. However, the performer often feels the impetus to move and often does so, in a swaying, side-to-side motion while his or her feet are still glued to the floor. I call this the Metronome Effect.
If the camera is in a fixed position, the presenter can appear to be rocking and bouncing from one side of the screen to the other, in a rhythmic fashion. Not only can it be distracting, it can also make your viewer seasick.
If you feel yourself starting to sway, try to channel that movement into your gestures rather than full body movement. If you want to avoid the problem altogether, try placing one foot slightly in front of the other. It is nearly impossible to rock side-to-side when using that stance.
Going for a Walk
No doubt, you have seen speakers who pace back and forth across the stage when presenting to a live audience in front of them. Movement can be a coping mechanism for nervousness and can help the presenter stay on track with his or her content.
On camera, though, pacing will either make your audience dizzy or send you right out of frame. But that doesn’t mean your feet must be stuck to the floor. It is perfectly acceptable to shift your weight from one hip to the other.
We do it in casual conversation, and we can do it on camera, too.
Just be sure the change isn’t so dramatic that it sends you careening from one side of the frame to the other. A wide shot will allow for more movement than a tight shot will, so be aware of what the limitations are.
When I teach traditional presentation training, I tell my clients to move to a new position in the performance space when transitioning to a new topic. The same rule applies to shifting your weight on camera. It can be a visual cue to your audience that you are about to introduce something new.
So unglue your feet. Don’t be held captive by the camera. A little variation in your movement will preserve your authenticity and make you appear relaxed to your viewer . . . and feel more relaxed as a performer.
Learn More: On-Camera Coach
If you found this information valuable, check out my book, On-Camera Coach: Tools and Techniques for Business Professionals in a Video-Driven World, now available from Wiley Publishing. On-Camera Coach aims to take the mystery out of communicating through the camera and provides specific tips and techniques that can make your message sing—and you, the messenger, feel confident in a job well done.