The camera’s not for me.
- I’m terrified by the lens.
- I just don’t have a natural flair for being on camera
- Did I mention I’m terrified by the lens?
There are lots people flirting with the idea of doing videos to promote their businesses or accelerate their careers. For some hopefuls, though, it’s that niggling point number 2 that stops them in their tracks.
The belief that some people are just born for television or video is common enough to warrant looking into. It’s this idea that makes many of us question whether being a good on-camera presenter can be learned.
So, let’s unpack that ‘born-for-the-camera’ notion.
The truth is no one is born with an on-camera gene that makes them shine in front of the lens. That’s a mistaken idea. Individuals who appear naturally gifted for television or video are just more confident, self-possessed and driven than others who shy away from the camera. It’s the confidence and self-possession that come naturally to some, not an ability to charm the camera. These just happen to be qualities that translate well to television and video. It is the same way some people seem to have natural leadership skills. They weren’t born to be CEOs, entrepreneurs or politicians. They just have some of the qualities that make them cut out for those roles.
Here’s another mistake many of us make—assuming people are naturally gifted at what they do. There are lots of businessmen, public speakers and influential personalities who have shaped their skills through education, practice and dedication. You see the finished product. What you don’t see is the hard work, the failures and the stumbles that shaped them into the commanding personalities you see.
Drive, dedication, practice—these are qualities anyone can adopt. That means you too.
So yes, it’s entirely possible to learn how to be a good on-camera presenter. That’s even if you think you weren’t ‘born’ for it.
Let’s explore some of the first steps you can take towards becoming a compelling on-camera presence.
As with any skill in life, anyone can benefit from training; becoming a good on-camera presenter is no exception.
You could probably muddle through learning to speak confidently and fluently in front of the lens on your own. However, it will take a lot longer to pick up the necessary skills.
The easiest and fastest way to achieve proficiency in front of the camera is to invest in training.
By reading books, taking online courses, participating in webinars or investing in private coaching, you’ll be exposed to the specific skills and presentation methods you need to build your on-camera abilities faster.
When it comes to developing your own skills in front of the camera, though, training is the best way to go.
Start with an introductory, modestly-priced course or book on-camera presentation skills.
Practice Makes Perfect
As mentioned earlier, watching the flawless on-camera presentations of your favourite television or video personalities can be a bit misleading for the newbie.
The poise and confidence of a seasoned pro can look like something that’s in the genes. In many cases, though, it’s the sum total of lots of old-fashioned, ho-hum practice.
Learning to be a good on-camera presenter is definitely within your reach. There’s one thing you should prepare yourself for though—it calls for lots of rehearsals and doing numerous ‘takes’ until you feel like you can’t take it anymore!
Not many people are crazy about practice. Whether your a top-tier football player or a pianist, even the most skilled among us can struggle with the practice it takes to master a skill. That’s because repetition can be boring and frustrating. Furthermore, you may sometimes feel like you want to give up because you’re not immediately getting the promised results. But that’s the very nature of practice. It’s a series of repetitions that will enhance your skills.
Too much of anything isn’t a good idea so don’t go over board with practicing. The moment practice becomes something you dread is the moment you give it up. Spend an hour each day to shaping your skills. That way you’re more likely to stick with the routine.
Don’t feel bad that you are bad at it!
When you’re learning how to be a good on-camera presenter, someone who has an impact with audiences, in the beginning you’re probably going to be bad at it. This is perfectly normal.
What you want to avoid is becoming disillusioned because you’re not immediately fluent, charismatic and oozing charm in front of the lens. If you focus on your shortcomings, you’re more likely to throw in the towel.
Concentrate instead on the fact that you’re doing something completely outside your comfort zone. Learn to laugh at your flubs and take your mistakes in stride. In an unfamiliar field or discipline, any progress you make is a big deal. So, don’t hate, celebrate!
Very few people crackle with energy the first time they face the camera. That’s exactly what practice is for. Eventually, you’ll graduate from lacklustre on camera to engaging and compelling.
Don’t set the bar so high that you don’t even try. Embrace the learning process and learn to enjoy it, even with stumbles and fumbles along the way.
Bring out your hidden on-camera talent
There are many skills that, on the face it, might seem impossible to adopt. Speaking with confidence on camera is one of them. However, once you apply the right training, positive attitude and dedication anyone can learn this skill.
The key with learning how to be good on camera is changing the mindset that it isn’t for you because it seems like something beyond your capabilities.
The ability to speak on camera can have a positive impact on your professional life. You’ve got what it takes to be a good on-camera presenter. You don’t need a ‘natural flair’ for television and video. All you need is the drive, determination and persistence to learn.