The people who appear in our videos aren’t actors. They’re CEOs, executive directors of nonprofits and regular people like yourself. It’s tough for most people to be themselves when there’s a camera right in front of their face. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips to help you look and feel your best when you’re going to be on camera. These tips will help you be your most authentic so that your online video will be engaging and trustworthy.

Prepare Yourself

The single most important thing you can do is to work on your confidence on camera. People have a misconception that they’ll just be able to show up and start talking and everything will work out great. For most people, it’s not that easy. Thinking on your feet can really get you in trouble. The best way to do that is to prepare your material!

On-Camera Tips for Non-actors / Amateur Actors

1.    Before going on camera, practice aloud multiple times in front of a friend or even a mirror.
Warning: that doesn’t mean memorize a script. But get an idea of where you want to go. Map out a route and then drive the route a few times to make sure you’re comfortable with all of the twists and turns you may encounter on your drive, such as: one way roads (trying to connect two of your points when there really is no connection), construction (nervousness that causes you to slow down), dead ends (points that lead you nowhere), etc. When rehearsing, pay attention to timing, clarity, and impact.

2.    If your video is supposed to be 1-2 minutes and you’ve spoken for 5 minutes in your rehearsal, cut it down! Take out all wordiness and superfluous information. Just give the viewer what they need to know while keeping a personable tone.

3.    Everyone will tell you to wear bright clothes, but wear whatever you’re most comfortable in and bring a few options. Men: make sure your shirt is ironed and doesn’t have thin stripes.

4.    The first thing viewers notice are physical imperfections. Take a moment to tame your mane, powder your forehead, hide that bra strap, so that viewers can pay attention to what you’re saying.

On Camera

1.    Take a few breaths before you get on camera to relax. Many people are engaging and witty in social or business situations, but when they are on camera, they become shy, dull, shadows of their brilliant selves. Imagine the camera or your interviewer IS your target audience, and address them as you would address your audience if they were sitting right there.

2.    Try laughing before you start talking to loosen yourself up.

3.    Be mindful of where you are coming from, and let that inform your tone, how you look at the camera, and your body movements. Are you an expert? An advisor? A friend? In most cases, it never hurts to aim for a conversational and personable tone.

4.    Act like yourself at a dinner party. Be polite, respectful, on your best manners, but inviting.

5.    Maintain eye contact! This is really hard for most people. Whether you are looking straight at the camera or off to an interviewer, stay focused on that camera or person. When your eyes go back and forth between the interviewer and the camera or the camera and your lap, it confuses the viewer and takes away from your credibility.

6.    Speak in soundbites. Those are clear, full, sentences, that don’t include acronyms, lingo, or cliches.

7.    Let there be silence before and after every soundbite. Avoid starting of with “Okay, so like,” or “Like I was saying…” or looking in all different directions. That will help the editor immensely, and will make your video look better.

8.    Use the question your interviewer asks you in your answer if your interviewer’s voice is going to be edited out. For example, your interviewer asks you what your name is. You answer “My name is ______.” Remember to speak to your audience. How would you introduce yourself to someone who is watching your video if they were standing there in person?

9.    Avoid saying “Ah” and “Um”–they are nearly impossible to edit out, especially if you are only using one camera for the shoot.

10.    The call to action: As long as your video is informative and useful to your viewer, you can feel good about a including a quick call to action or shout out to your book or website at the end of the video.