Why you should film yourself!

The date is March 19th, 2020 and we are right in the middle of the Covid-19 breakout. We’ve gone from innocent by standards watching China from across the world to living day by day with crippling changes and anxieties around health, finances, our children’s education and our overall lives! This blog will not go into any of those issues, as I am not an expert nor someone who wants to dive into the future of what may happen. What I want to do is focus on the now. Focus on what opportunities for personal growth may come from having a lot of additional time cooped up in your home.

I want to focus on what version of yourself is going to come out of this at the end ready to take on the challenges and opportunities in a post-covid 19 world. So many of you are going to be in situations where you may be giving meetings, addressing companies or just having to have difficult conversations with your family. If you have been wanting to get better at public speaking, presentations, etc. that is the focus of this blog.

Here is a video I shared on Linked in last night, and the message below is on an EASY way that you can improve your presentation skills right from your home! It’s not a get rich quick type plan because it takes hours and hours of practice but if you put in the time, YOU will improve and at the end of the day come out of this next few months with a new skill you didn’t have.

Please stop tricking yourself into believing that you are going to wake up tomorrow and magically be a better presenter. It doesn’t work that way. Yes, some people are born with a natural ability to stand in front of others and be charismatic and fluid in their speech, but even that doesn’t mean their content will be any good. Most of us have to work at it if we want to get our message across to our audiences and if we TRULY want to make a difference in others through our presentation we have to become dynamic and fluent…AND that happens with practice!

I know what you are thinking…Practice!

  • I am already limited on time

  • I am already afraid or nervous to speak in front of others, and you want me to do it more?

  • How do I even know what to work on?

Thankfully I can address all of these concerns with the easiest way to improve at public speaking…EVER! It requires, only you, your phone, a few supplies that you can have from Amazon probably same day and 10 minutes…that’s it!

In the past 3 years, I filmed and shot over 300 videos, most of them for work. Of those 300 I had film crews for some, production staff for some, editors, sound team, lights…etc. However for the other 260 videos I shot, I had a grand total crew of one, yours truly. Below you can see my total equipment list I used for 90% of my shoots:

  • My iphone

  • Tri-pod

  • Mic

  • Portable ring light

That’s it, in an era of social media and a time where most people prefer the live “stories” feed on their social media platforms you don’t need a million dollar set up anymore. What you need is original content, and a way to quickly get your message out to the people who need it. The HUGE bi-product of shooting yourself in videos is that it DRASTICALLY helps your public speaking and presentation skills. There is no bigger critic in the world than you to yourself.

If you want to be a better public speaker, start to film yourself. It does not matter what the topic is, you don’t need any help from others, you just need to dive in. What I learned through video was priceless. You learn your bad habits immediately:

  • Um’s

  • Stance

  • Volume of voice / projection

  • Hand gestures or lack thereof

  • Energy

The beauty of filming yourself is that there is also no pressure to perform for an audience, this allows you to mess up, make mistakes, do multiple takes, try new techniques all while under no stress. Once you get to a point where you are feeling more confident with a speech or presentation on film then you can take the leap to reaching out to your peers for feedback. Although for many this is terrifying it is a very important part of the process if you want to become an excellent speaker ask your peers who can give you the feedback that you internally may be missing and give you a few more pointers to take you over the top.

If you have a specific meeting, speech, etc that you are conducting, the best way to prep is not to do it in front of mirrors, family members are alone. The most effective way is to set up your camera, and practice the entire thing while staring at the lens. This will do two things, first it will allow you to have an audience, event though ultimately it’s you, at least you can actually presenting as if someone is watching (however with none of the stress). Secondly, it will allow you to watch it back and instantly make changes to what you see and what you want to improve on. Watching a video creates a visual cue in our memory of that moment. When we record memories we file them away, and great speakers have the ability to seamlessly open those file cabinets while in front of others and remember pretty much exactly what they wanted to say. However that is hard, especially if you are nervous! By having watched your own speech on film the memory will have a connection to a visual cue which makes finding it and pulling it out WAY easier. Your chances of remember go up considerably and you will come across as much smoother in your delivery.

I am also here as a support! I will watch any film you send my way and pass on my observations and some suggestions of what you are doing great and where you could improve. No charge, just like to help as I have had so many help me along the way!

Happy filming

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© 2016 by BRETT STEWART THORNTON