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“I want to get better FASTER!”
That’s how many emerging presenters think, and that’s what many say. There are certainly many ways to quickly improve in the myriad areas of speaking. When it comes to platform presentation, there’s one simple discipline that has served me well for more than two decades. This discipline became markedly more significant…and more applicable…in 2020, when the global pandemic forced presenters into the world of the virtual platform.
If you ‘want to get better faster,’ start VIDEO RECORDING your presentations. WAIT! That’s only HALF the process. Here comes the REALLY HARD part. WATCH EVERY VIDEO. There. I said it. “But I can’t watch myself on video!” “I hate what I look like and how I sound!” “Virtual is the WORST!” Trust me…I’ve heard all those complaints, and more. LOOK at it this way; your audience has to watch you! 😁
Video allows you to see what your audience sees. Video gives you the audience’s perspective, and affords you the opportunity to receive and appreciate your presentation from their vantage point. If you want to deliver world-class presentations, move your audiences, deliver value, and ‘up our game’, you have to think like sports coaches and professional athletes. They devour hours upon hours of video, analyzing plays, identifying strength and weaknesses, and correcting mistakes. If you want to be world-class, you should do no less, and here are a few ways to use RECORD and REPLAY effectively.
TRACK YOUR TIMELINE
Keeping track of WHEN you record will help you to chart your presentation progress. Improvements are often incremental, and not immediately apparent. Video will help you to see your improvements as you compare presentations over time.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOUR (4) WAYS, WITH A COACH’S EYE, ASKING YOURSELF KEY QUESTIONS.
First, WATCH with the audio MUTED. You should know your presentation well enough to be aware of what you’re saying on the replay. Are your movements, gestures, body language and facial expression congruent with your words? Do you have good eye contact? Are you fidgeting, or moving without purpose? Are you shifting your weight back and forth, or pacing about? Are you wringing your hands, brushing your hair back a lot, twirling a ring on your finger, or touching your ear? Do you have a ‘go-to’ gesture that you use throughout the presentation, regardless of the point you’re making? These can be DISTRACTIONS that can significantly hinder your impact on your audience.
Second, play the video with the audio back on, but DO NOT LOOK at the screen. JUST LISTEN. Are you pausing long enough for your audience to absorb your words? After you ask a question, do you give your audience enough time to mentally respond? Do your pitch, volume and speaking rate clearly depict emotion appropriately? Do you ‘become’ the characters in your stories? If you have an audible live audience, are they laughing at your humor and responding emotionally to your statements? Are they ENGAGED?
Third, if possible, play the video in FAST-FORWARD mode. Sometimes that can be done using the SLIDER at the bottom of a video. Are you moving constantly? Are you spending most of you time on one side of your speaking area? Do you stand to deliver your most important lines and key points?
Finally, watch the video with audio on, at normal speed using the information that you gained from the three previous viewings. Then make specific decisions about the steps you will take to ‘up your game.’ Over time you will see and experience improvement, which can come quickly when you put the work in.
As uncomfortable as it may be to watch yourself on video replay, the process provides a powerful tool for growth. Trust me. I know. Even after almost 30 years of speaking, it’s still sometimes difficult to watch myself. After delivering several virtual presentations over the past year, I’ve received numerous YouTube links, Vimeo links and mp4 files, some of which don’t like me very much. However, they are ALL instructive, and they help me to continually improve.
Elevating your level of excellence takes work. Your commitment to doing what is necessary to achieve ever-increasing levels of excellence will be quite rewarding. If you want to get better faster, go to the video and RELY ON THE REPLAY!
DREAM BIG; WORK BIGGER!