Commanding The Screen

Commanding the Screen

It’s one thing to have presence when you’re speaking on stage – but what about when you’re speaking to camera or over a slide presentation online? That’s a whole different ball game!

We’re all familiar with the concept that communication has three parts – what you say, how you say it and your body language. However, when you’re speaking to camera for a video or a webinar, your body language and movements are limited. When you’re just a voice over a slide presentation, you lose your body language entirely! (Or do you? More on that later)

Speaking to Camera

The first thing to get your head around is limiting your movement, while remaining animated. While you can’t walk around like you can on a stage (unless you have someone following you with the camera as you move), you don’t have to become like a statue! You may not be able to use your arms in big, sweeping gestures, but you can still use your hands within a confined space if you’re being shown from head to waist. If you only have head and shoulders, then you’re limited to how you move your head and your facial expressions.

One of the key things here to show ‘presence’ is your posture, your facial expression and your eye contact. An upright but relaxed posture with strong eye contact (but not staring!) shows authority and confidence, while smiling shows warmth and sincerity. A cheeky grin with a twinkle in your eye and a slight head tilt can convey playfulness.

Use your face to convey emotion and vary the mood. When delivering startling statistics or big mistakes, convey the ‘Oh my gosh’ feeling with wide eyes and an astonished face! When talking about your audience’s pain or problems, frown and look pained or depressed. Break that mood by telling them what they could have instead and use your face to look excited with a happy smile.
There are lots of facial expressions that you can use during your presentation to camera and you may want to practice some of these ‘faces’!laughin_on_video

• Welcoming
• Authoritative
• Caring
• Symathetic
• Playful
• Mischievous
• Angry
• Pained
• Depressed
• Sadfunny_face_for_video
• Happy
• Joyful
• Calm
• Excited
• Astonished
• Determined
• Mean
• Resigned
• Bored
• Enthused

If you have trouble using different facial expressions to convey a mood or feeling, it might be time to give yourself some acting lessons! Don’t panic, you don’t have to spend a fortune going off to stage school. Next time you’re watching a movie or a drama on TV (even the soaps), watch how the actors use their facial expressions and try it for yourself. I guarantee you will feel downright silly at first but, in the long run, it will help you to be more animated and have more presence when speaking to camera for a video or a webinar.

Voice Over Slide Presentationsvoice waves

OK – now the challenge is on because there is no body language to be seen by the viewers.

Your voice in this situation is everything.

However, don’t under-estimate the power of your body language on your verbal communication even when you can’t be seen. People really can hear the difference in your voice which is why tele-sales people are trained to stand up and smile when speaking to prospective customers over the phone.

So – when you’re creating your slide presentation video or webinar, make sure that you’re sitting up straight (stand if you can) and that you spend time beforehand raising your energy levels.

It’s so important that you don’t speak in a monotone voice throughout your presentation or you will send your audience to sleep – or, more likely, they will click away from your presentation very quickly.

Create energy in your voice by varying the speed, pitch and tone regularly and create emphasis on certain words or phrases.
You don’t need to be like Tigger to be animated (unless that’s your personality type – a bit like me!), you just need to create variation and beautiful sounds. Start listening to the voices of professional TV documentary presenters. I love Prof. Brian Cox from the ‘Wonders of The Solar System’ series – his presentation style and voice is captivating. You can also pick up some great tips from listening to audio books.5_Star_SPEAKer_System_1

I could go on and on about these topics but if you want more ideas, then check out my 5 Star Speaker System where I have a major section on delivery skills.

Wishing you every success with your speaking.

Best Wishes




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