No doubt, you did not enter the business world hoping to earn an Oscar or Emmy. The good news is that’s not the expectation, unless you’re an actor or actress… or a news anchor or reporter. (My Emmy is now a pretty fancy paperweight.)
However, being able to communicate through the camera is becoming an essential skill for everyone, especially now that the coronavirus pandemic has sped up video’s invasion of practically every professional’s work environment. Has anyone reading this not participated in a Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting?
Those who present on-camera effectively can raise their professional stock substantially, even if their performances are “limited” to internal Zoom staff meetings.
When you’re effective in front of the lens, you come across as a confident, collaborative, communicator able to inspire action and get things done for the organization. Becoming one of the faces of your company can lead to greater opportunities, both within and outside of your organization, or even widen your career path beyond your current place of employment.
Stellar on-camera skills could even end up landing you your next job! Videoconferencing was already gaining popularity as a first line hiring tool before the pandemic. Now it’s a critical part of practically every job search.
Practice Makes Perfect
Speaking on camera can be scary, and many people don’t have the confidence to try it unless they are forced. The areas I write about in this blog and in my book, On-Camera Coach: Tools and Techniques for Business Professionals in a Video-Driven World, can help practically everyone defeat their fears of presenting on camera and will inspire them to embrace any and every opportunity to present that comes along.
Of course, simply reading a book or a blog will not make you a flawless on-camera presenter. It certainly will make you better, but, as with almost anything, practice is key. Performance jitters decrease with familiarity, and your skills will become rusty if you don’t use them on a regular basis.
Here are a few ideas to tone your on-camera muscles or flex them for the first time:
- Suggest holding a videoconference rather than a teleconference for your next meeting. Your colleagues may balk at first, but you can win them over by highlighting the benefits: studies show that you can get more done in a shorter period if everyone is forced to stay visually accountable.
- Instead of writing a blog, record one using your smart phone. Keep it casual in tone and production. It’ll be refreshing and likely receive more attention than a written version.
- Propose a video series for your company’s website. You could talk about a customer success story or even a new product being launched. Instead of having written bios on your team page, consider doing short on-camera versions. It’ll be a differentiator and allow potential customers to get to know you in a much deeper way.
- Get creative. Rethink what’s always been put in print and consider whether it might have more impact if it were presented via video. The ways you can leverage your on-camera skills will only grow in number as more and more media channels come online.
- Take the time to study presenters you admire. YouTube and other video streaming services provide hours and hours of case studies. Try out some of the techniques you observe, but don’t be someone you’re not. If it feels contrived, it’ll appear fake to your audience. Authenticity is paramount.
The Camera: A New Tool for Your Toolkit
Cameras as communication tools are game changers. They provide intimacy and immediacy that no other medium can match. The camera is not your enemy; it’s your conduit that allows you to deeply connect with your audience anywhere, any time—and in this video-driven world, that camera can be a conduit to your professional success.
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.