Podium Coaching Blog
12 tips to make your videos stand out from the crowd
It’s never been easier to make a video for your website. But a video can be the easiest way to lose credibility – if it isn’t done properly.
Some very creative friends of ours are Tracy Bennett and her partner Julian Gibbs of Firefly Digital Media. I had the pleasure of attending a speakers’ event the other day, at which Tracy and Julian shared some production tips.
First, the big picture:
- Have a strategic plan for your video. What do you want it to do?
- Figure out who you are targeting.
- Put your video on your home page.
- Short videos are better than longer ones. It’s better to have four one minute videos than one four minute video.
- Release the videos strategically. Don’t post them all at once.
- If you do have a longer video, indicate the duration so the viewer knows what to expect.
Second, some vital technical tips:
- Always use a tripod.
- Always use an external microphone. The camera’s built-in microphone will make you sound as if you’re speaking from inside a tin can.
- Always use a light. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just make sure the face is properly illuminated.
- Use medium to tight shots of your face. People need to see your eyes. That helps build a relationship with the viewer.
- Pick an interesting background, but don’t let it overwhelm the primary subject. You’re still the star.
- Do a test shot and check it to make sure the picture and sound are good.
If you don’t want to shoot your own video but still want video on your website, hire a professional. Shaky, badly-lit video with muffled sound will harm your reputation quicker than you can say ‘Action!’
10 tips on using a podium when speaking in public
Podiums can help or hinder a speaker. A lot of people hide behind them. Some clutch the sides, as if in a rowboat on a stormy sea. A podium is a great tool if you are delivering a speech or making a presentation – if you use it smartly.
Here are ten tips we share in our presentation skills and public speaking workshops:
- Make sure the podium height is correct for you. If you’re short, get a riser behind the podium
- If you’re tall, get a taller podium or have a riser under the podium.
- If the podium is a modern acrylic see-through type, keep what you place on it to a minimum – just your notes.
- You don’t have to stand behind the podium. You can stand to the side and have your notes on the podium. Then you can glance at them as needed. This won’t work, of course, if you are using the podium microphone.
- If you are behind the podium, stand back a step or two from the podium. This will keep you from clutching or leaning on it. It will encourage you to use your hands naturally. This will, in turn, enhance your authentic voice.
- Make sure the notes, water and props are yours and not something another speaker placed there.
- Take a few seconds to get yourself comfortable at the podium before you speak. Adjust the microphone and place your notes the way you want them. Keep your eyes away from the audience as you do this. When you’re ready to speak, lift your head, look at the audience, smile and begin.
- If the podium has a light and you’re using it, make sure it doesn’t obscure your face. Adjust the height.
- Don’t be afraid to place your podium exactly where you want it. It’s usually better to one side – especially if you’re using slides.
- Standing behind a podium separates you from the audience. So as much as possible try not to use a podium.
Quick tips to overcome stage fright when speaking in public
by Halina St James
The comic Jerry Seinfied once said ‘According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two! Does that sound right? This means, to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.’
I know many of my clients struggle with nerves. Why are we so afraid of standing up and speaking in public?
Well, I have a rather unorthodox theory.
Basically it boils down to us being afraid of the audience. And one reason we’re afraid of the audience is energy. The energy from the audience is scanning you… analysing your tone, body language, clothes and words.
When you step up to the podium, dozens or hundreds of pairs of eyes focus on you. All the energy behind those eyes hits you at once. If you’re not used to this intense scrutiny, it can put you off your stride.
So how do you overcome this suddenly energy jolt?
Here are my tips for anyone who suffers stage fright when speaking in public. Take a deep breath. Walk slowly up to the lectern. Put your papers down, if you have any. Pause. Look at the audience. Don’t say a word. Let yourself feel that energy coming from them. Settle your own energy field.
Then begin to speak. Better to have a few seconds of silence than a painful start to your presentation that you, and your audience, will never forget.
As you speak, keep your energy field tuned to the audience. Use your intuition to read the audience. You’ll be able to sense when the audience is with you and when their attention is slipping. Adjust your presentation as you go along to keep them engaged and ensure they get your message.
The wonderful thing about the TalkitOut™ technique I teach in my presentation skills training is that it either gets rid of your nerves totally – or at the very least settles you down so you can do a great job.
That’s because TalkitOut™ taps into the authentic you. When you’re being yourself, you’re less nervous. It’s when you try to be someone else that you get nervous.
If you try to be someone other than yourself, your presentations won’t ring true. The audience will sense something’s not right. You’ll be making more work for yourself.
Titanic anniversary holds a lesson for speakers
On the night of April 14, one hundred years ago, the Titanic was four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. She was 375 miles south of Newfoundland. The band had finished for the night. The eight musicians were relaxing with their leader, Wallace Hartley.
At 11.40 pm the Titanic struck an iceberg. Over the next two hours, as the crew struggled to get passengers into lifeboats, Captain Edward Smith asked Hartley to reassemble the band. He needed them to play uplifting music, to help keep the panic down.
Apparently it helped, until just after 2 am on April 15 when it became clear there was no hope. Yet the band played on. Nobody knows for sure what the last song was as the liner broke up and sank with 1000 people still on board. But many believe it was ‘Nearer My God to Thee’, Hartley’s favourite hymn.
As we remember the courage of the Titanic band, there’s a lesson for speakers. Music is powerful. It can change a sad mood into a happy one, and vice versa. It sets up anticipation. It fills us with emotion.
We all use the qualities of music when we speak. It’s in our tone of voice.
As we say in our presentation skills workshops, tone is the music of your words. It’s important that your tone matches your content. Smile if the story is happy. You’d be surprised how many people deliver wonderful news with the tone of the voice of doom.
Tone will vary in speeches. Perhaps you’re talking about a really bad period in the company’s history. You won’t be smiling when you do. But when you talk about how the company overcame the difficulties, start lightening up and build to a full smile.
We all do this naturally when we speak. We only tend to slip into a monotone when we read aloud.
Next time you set out to write a speech, or build a presentation, think about the mood you need to convey. Then figure out how to adjust your tone to suit the message. Always remember that audiences generally respond to emotion and tone before they respond to your words.