Why it’s so hard to be yourself on video

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"A blank face and a monotone voice can be an effect of feeling self-conscious or nervous."

Reasons you are not yourself on video

If you’ve ever done a video of yourself you’ll know it’s not that easy.
You may have noticed that you start speaking differently and even your facial expression is, well, not quite your own.

In this blog, I explore why this is a challenge for so many.
In the 30 second video below I give a demo of common problems that can occur.
It’s an excerpt from a live speech that I did demonstrating how unnatural I used to be on video – hope it makes you laugh, you can actually hear the live audience laugh in the background by the way, I didn’t add that as an effect!

Reasons you are not yourself on video

One reason is it that you can feel really self-conscious and this affects the way you look and speak.
A blank face and a monotone voice can be an effect of feeling self-conscious or nervous.
Another reason is that you can feel worried about being judged and therefore try to speak like someone else, rather than being yourself.
Lastly, you can feel like you want to look really ‘professional’ and therefore think you need to speak in what you think looks like a more professional manner.

The Problem with trying to look and sound ‘professional’ on video

When you make a concerted effort to look and sound ‘professional’ on your videos, that’s when it starts to go wrong.
Some common problems that can arise are that you can start to speak with what I call a ‘video voice’ and even your facial expression is not your ‘usual’ expression, it’s your ‘video face.’

Basically, the video face and video voice are when you have a more or less blank, emotionless facial expression and speak in an emotionless kind of clinical or what you think is a ‘professional manner.’
Don’t get me wrong, of course you do need to speak in a professional manner but it’s about what you think looks professional.
It’s important to speak, well and in a clear and engaging way but you also want your personality to shine through!
People are not watching your video to see you act like someone else, they’re watching your material to find out more about what YOU have to say.

If you watch a good speaker, you’ll find they are quite animated in their voice, body language and facial expression.
In fact, a good speaker will speak as they normally do but with the addition of being a bit more animated and energised so that they can grab the interest of their audience.
So if you want the passion behind your message to really shine through to your audience, then be yourself.

Tips to remember for your next video

Remember that it’s really common to be afraid of releasing a video of yourself to the world. After all, it’s a form of public speaking, just in a different format. You are keenly aware that your words will be received by an audience, an audience that you don’t know, and an audience of potentially thousands of people.

It’s fair enough to be nervous but just remember you can always do the video again and you’ll definitely look and sound much better if you look and sound like you!

The main thing is not to try to look or sound different to who you actually are.
Be yourself and allow your passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of your subject to really engage your audience.
If you want to learn more about this topic, check out my blog, 3 Top tips on how to be yourself on video.

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