One of the most confounding moments in any on-camera performance is the 10 seconds before the red light goes on.
- All of the stress associated with the high-stakes nature of the presentation is written all over the presenter’s face.
- He or she wears an expression of pained anticipation or frozen fear.
- The performer is simply staring into the camera lens and waiting to be “on.”
A trick to eliminate the nonverbal broadcasting of that anxiety is to use movement prior to the performance.
On Your Mark
If you will be standing during your presentation, figure out where your mark is. Your mark is the spot where you will be in sharp focus and centered in the frame. If you are working in a studio, you will be told where that spot is, and often a piece of tape is placed on the floor as a visual reminder.
Once you are given your mark, stand on it, but then take a step or two back, away from the camera. Then, just before you begin your performance, step back up to that mark. When you hit your landing spot, say your first words as you settle yourself into your default stance.
By stepping into the shot, you create movement from the start and avoid the dead stare that so often precedes a performance. It also is a way to invite your audience in because you are closing the gap between you and your viewers.
Works for Sitters Too
If you are seated, you obviously can’t step toward the camera. However, you can still lean toward the camera and derive the same benefits.
Your audience feels welcomed and you are respecting the intimacy of the conversation.
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.