Preparation is everything – 5 ways to prepare for presenting on video

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"One of the most common questions I am asked by businesspeople is “Why is presenting on video so nerve wracking”? That’s a very big question. Things like who you are as a person, your training, and your natural levels of confidence on camera all have a part to play, as do many other factors. There are no quick fixes, or one size fits all solutions, but there are a few things you can do that will help you prepare."

presenting on video

Why you need to be prepared for video presentations.

The world of work has changed so much in the last few years. There was already a steady move towards more remote based working but suddenly that was accelerated into standard practice by the pandemic. Video meetings and presentations have become part of our working lives and that means we all had to get used to using it as a presentation tool.

One thing I hear a lot are variations of the question ‘why am I so nervous when I present on camera’. I get that and I understand how that can be frustrating, we have all been there. I can’t make that all go away in a single article, but I can offer a few tips to perhaps help you feel more confident. 

Practice with a purpose

While there is certainly a danger in over practicing (see point 4 below) the more practiced you are, the better you will perform. If you can, get someone to watch your presentation who will be honest, but not cynical or sarcastic about it. Record your presentation and play it back to yourself but avoid being over critical. Remember, we all dislike the sound of our own recorded voices, and we all see the little habits we have when speaking, but these are something only you are hung up about. Your viewers are not watching you; they are watching what you are presenting.

Try to be realistic about how important this is

The presentation you are about to do is important. Yes, of course, it matters that you do it right, but don’t let it grow into a monster. We often blow things out of proportion when we are nervous, so ask yourself ‘would it matter too much if you made a slight error here and there’? I doubt there will be many presentations that are life or death situations. Try to gain a better perspective of things to avoid building a mountain from a molehill.

Take control of your environment and technology

Before you present, check your environment. Get rid of anything distracting in your eyeline or behind your camera, turn off your notifications, move you phone to where you can’t see it and so on.  

The next thing to check is what will the viewer see. Turn on your camera and look at what’s behind you when you are on screen. Again, get rid of anything distracting. Plain walls or simple backgrounds are fine. Don’t forget to check your microphone and that you have a stable internet connection. Now check you know how to switch to your presentation if you have one and how to monitor the chat if you need to.

Finally, do a wardrobe check. Wear something comfortable that isn’t going to suddenly pop a button open or spill change from your pockets. There is a real value in being comfortable with what you are wearing. It also helps if what you’re wearing stands out from your background so avoid wearing a white shirt against a white wall. Oh, and whatever you have heard, dress for video as if you were meeting in person.

One thing I hear a lot are variations of the question ‘why am I so nervous when I present on camera’. I get that and I understand how that can be frustrating, we have all been there. I can’t make that all go away in a single article, but I can offer a few tips to perhaps help you feel more confident. 

Don’t over rehearse or overthink your video

You’re there to deliver your information so, once you have a working presentation that you are happy with, leave it alone. Maybe have one last quick look through before you present but if you keep tinkering and changing things it is unlikely to improve and very likely to increase your level of worry. Once you have practiced and you are ready to present, what is there to be gained from doing more? Try not to overthink it.

Take a moment before you start

If you can master this, you will go a long way towards a good presentation. Have a moment of calm. It may be a cup of tea on the doorstep, take the dog for a walk, have 5 minutes of mindfulness, do a crossword or even read a chapter of a book; whatever works for you. The act of doing something peaceful will calm you down and prepare your mind for the presentation. Trust me on this one, if you are in a calm frame of mind that presentation will just flow out of you. 

It’s very hard in a small article like this one to cover all the possible ways you can prepare for a video presentation. It’s one of the things we work on with people during our training and it’s wonderful to see the results that brings. 

As a final thought, one of the best ways to deal with presenting on camera is to embrace the process. Don’t fight it, go with it and try to enjoy it. The little camera on your computer isn’t your enemy. In fact, with a bit of training, some practice and a sprinkling of the right mindset, it could well be a good friend.

Get your FREE DOWNLOAD of my 3 part video mini-course with workbooks, 3 Keys to Camera Confidence today!

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