Lights, Camera, Action? Tips for a Great Experience In Front of the Camera

Whether you’re a business executive or a medical professional, the expectation is that you perform well in person and on camera. You’re an expert! You know your material inside and out. But even the best of us experience anxiety when the director calls, “Action!” 

We recently sat down with Jenna Lange and Maria Iams of Lange International to discuss tips and techniques for effective messaging with video. Lange International is a high-stakes communications consulting group who works with some of the biggest companies in the U.S. preparing executives for speeches, presentations, video shoots, and much more.

In this video, Jenna and Maria describe their Three Pillars of Communication to prepare you for your day in front of the camera:

Know Your Audience – Think about who is watching your video. Where are they watching from? What time of day is it likely to be? What might they have been doing just prior? These questions can really drive what you say and how you say it. Plus, you’re more likely to appear at ease in your conversation when you know who you are talking to.

Know Your Key Messages – A concise message is more likely to resonate. Think about the top three things you would like to communicate. Emblazon these topics on your brain so that, if you start on a tangent or forget your train of thought, you can quickly get back to the message you intended to deliver.

Rehearse – Maria reminded us that rehearsing in your head does NOT equal practicing in front of the camera, out loud. A helpful tip she provided is to memorize your first one or two lines. Typically, when you know your topic (your business!), the rest will flow and you’ll avoid looking scripted and disingenuous. When you rehearse, think about your tone of voice, making eye contact, and using appropriate gestures for emphasis. Body language is as important as what you are saying.

Have other questions about how to prepare to be on camera?  Let us know!

Watch our video or read the transcript below:

Jen: Hi, I'm Jen Longtin, founder and CEO of HD Medical Marketing. Today, I have the pleasure of having Maria and Jenna here. Jenna is the founder of Lange International. They are both high-stakes consultants and coaches for executives. It's critical for all of us to find comfort in front of the camera. So today what we'd like to do is just talk to Jenna and Maria and get some tips on ways that everyone can feel comfortable and confident answering questions and connecting with their audience. So welcome, thank you so much for being here. Jenna, if it's alright, I'd love if you would maybe just tell us a little bit more about what you and Maria do for your clients.
Jenna: Absolutely. So we are consultants and coaches in the area of high stakes communication and what that means is when there's a lot riding on what you say and how you say it, the video environment is a classic example of that, lots of people watching you, lots at stake, and you have to perform your best.
Jen: What are some of the most common fears that people have when you start working with them?
Jenna: They're very afraid of speaking. There's a lot riding on what they say. Groups come to us as well because they want to be more persuasive with their messaging.
Jen: What are three tips that you recommend for any professional or anyone getting on camera? What do you recommend they do before that red light goes on?
Jenna: So something that helps, particularly on film, is practicing the questions that you're going to get and then establishing pillars for the response. So you ask me, what are the top three things we need to think about: Know Your Audience, Know Your Key Messages, Rehearse. I've got three pillars and now I can elaborate on any one of those if I choose to. So for example, Know Your Audience. Questions we like to ask are, "How do they feel as they are sitting there watching you? What time of day? What were they looking at right before they starting watching you and listening to your story? What really drives them?" So you ask all these questions and completely changes what you are going to say. And it makes you more comfortable to have a conversation.
Jen: It's amazing when you're looking in the camera and you're seeing that person in the camera how different the subtleties of your body language is versus if you're just trying to remember what comes next. If you're thinking about the person that you're having that conversation versus the other way around, it's subtle, but it's significant. Body language is important.
Maria: Oh, definitely.
Jenna: With Key Messages it's really about rehearsing our senior leaders. What are the top three things that you want to get across? And some of those calls take place via Skype at 9:00 at night to get them ready for that next day's meeting. What are going to say? Say it again, say it again, make it more concise, make it more relevant.
Maria: And just to piggy-back on what Jenna was saying, about know your Key Messages, it's really critical that you know those because you can always come back to them when you start to stumble and feel like you're going to forget what you were going to say.
Jenna: And then we do a lot of rehearsing.
Maria: We do a lot of rehearsing with our clients. This is often a step that people are very reluctant to engage in and even rehearsing in one's head is not the same as saying it out loud. So something that I've done a lot with clients is have them almost memorize the first two lines that are going to come out of their mouth because I find that if they have those two lines memorized, the rest just starts to flow. And, with many clients, just one in particular I'm thinking of, getting her to do it in the right tone of voice, with the most powerful eye contact, the right gestures attached to what she's going to say, it sets her up so much more to be successful for the rest of the conversation. So that's the sort of precision we're talking about when we say rehearse. You don't necessarily have to script the whole thing, but really starting off strong can help you for the rest of the presentation.
Jenna: I would say one thing we like to do is watch, just become a consumer of quality video. Become a consumer of quality speaking, great executives who command attention. So as you are thinking about this, go online and check it out, see who's highly rated. See what they do that you like and see what they do that you absolutely will never do and learn from them.
Jen: Excellent.
Maria: And do it. And practice. So do it, get on video, watch yourself, do it again, keep doing it. Same with public speaking. The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll get with it.
Jen: And I love that you have a profession where you are offering this to people because I look at speaking a lot like personal training where if you don't sign up for it, you're going to find every excuse to not do it because it's not part of your practice so to have somebody like you that can call and practice and that's what you do. It makes it easier and easier to get out there run that half marathon or whatever it is that you're training for, then it becomes actually a joy and something that you feel like you are able to extend beyond just your everyday. I love it. Well, Lange International is the business with Jenna and Maria. Thank you so much, this has been so informative. We will continue to post more tips on how to prepare for video and how to make the most of your video so that you're connecting with your audience, you are converting clients, and you are feeling good about what it is that your reputation is online. Thank you so much.

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