I’ve been hearing this funny thing lately.
“These talented YouTubers speak so naturally on camera!”
I find this funny because after working for 8 years as a filmmaker and director, I can tell you that speaking on camera is anything but natural.
People often underestimate the amount of preparation, practice and effort it takes to seem like you’re speaking “naturally” on camera.
In real life, you actually don’t speak like that. You leave sentences unfinished, hanging in mid air. You like use um filler words. You sound unsure of yourself at times as you process things in your head while your mouth blurts other things out.
Ironically, on camera, the ultimate aim is not to imitate how you sound when speaking “naturally” in real life.
It’s to achieve that “ideal” sounding self that speaks powerfully all the time.
And to make it sound natural and not rehearsed.
Is it possible? Yes.
Will it be easy? This entirely depends on your willingness to put time and effort into acquiring this a s a skill set – much like any other skill.
Onward! The actionable tip for smashing how to speak “naturally” on camera:
Create the most impactful version of yourself on camera.
🔥 Understand your audience deeply. What elements in your personality will they be the most impacted by? Play up those elements on camera.
Long form videos can be a bit more “forgiving” but only belong on YouTube.
🔥 Imagine the audience on the other side. Speak as if you’re speaking to a friend or having a casual (not salesy) conversation with a potential client.
🔥 Refine how you speak by practicing strategically. Record yourself and watch yourself back. Evaluate yourself on your energy, clarity, conciseness, body language and voice. Rinse and repeat. This LinkedIn post talks about what to focus on when you practice.
🔥 Be 145% there. How “present” you are comes across tenfold on camera. Bring all your energy and all your concentration, but…
🔥 … don’t bring all your thoughts. Write the outline once but don’t try to re-think your content AS you’re delivering it. Commit.
🔥 Understand that what feels natural for you while speaking in real life might be un-impactful on camera. When you slow down, or remove filler words, you might think you sound unnatural but on camera, you’re enhancing your watchability.
It’s a process – sometimes you need 7 takes to get something right. Sometimes you need 7 weeks or months. Creating content that you’re truly proud of will take time – but the path from good to great is paved with well-meaning and earnest attempts.
Start where you are.
And no one knows more about that than Dallas Kostna, who I speak to this week on the Speak as a Leader podcast. He has had an incredible journey from a shy leader to COO. He’s been to MIT, Cornell and the Wharton school. He’s been a VP in the financial sector and now a COO. But you wouldn’t know it because Dallas is genuinely the most humble leader I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to.
Check out the episode and I think you’ll be genuinely charmed like I was.
PS – If you’re finding it painful to speak on camera but you REALLY want to, reply to this email with the word “bootcamp” so I can tell you all about my Speak as a Leader bootcamp* that starts in 2 weeks.
*VERY limited spots left.
Till we meet again, speak fearlessly!