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Whether you are being interviewed on TV, or presenting on video camera, your aim is to create a positive experience for your viewers, and put them at ease.
This means reducing anything that could create a visual barrier (consciously or subconsciously) between you and your audience. From my experience, I have seen many people who are appear very confident in real life, suddenly buckle or lose their nerve when looking into the cold staring eye of the camera lens. The camera seems to draw out and magnify their nervous mannerisms or underlying tension.
Presenting to camera requires a completely different skill-set from public speaking or presenting on stage – a fact that very few people seem to be aware of. This is due to the technical requirements demanded by the camera (more on this in future articles).
Here are a few crucial tips to prevent you from making some all too common body language mistakes
Hand to face gestures
In particular, it is hard to know what to do with your hands when you are being filmed. Do whatever it takes – even sit on your hands if you have to, but dont make any hand to face gestures!
Yes, you can still use your hands to gesture, but ensure that your camera framing is in a medium to close-shot so that your hands don’t monopolize the screen.
High profile public officials, TV presenters and interviewers have been trained to avoid such things when addressing their audience. Observe them closely, and you will see that they rarely touch their face.
Also, from a technical perspective, some video cameras have difficulty tracking hand gestures – resulting in a blurred effect on-screen.
Many hand to face gestures convey subconscious meanings that you may not be aware of:
Eye rubbing – Associated with deception, or not liking a situation or person
Nose touching – A common signal for not telling the truth, lack of sincerity
Hair touching (twirling your hair) – In women this can signal low confidence, needing reassurance, or even flirting – all of which weaken the impact of your message
Remember however, that body language is subjective and is open to interpretation. It differs across many cultures. You could in fact have an itchy eye, or a runny nose – but fight the urge and make an effort to save the itching and rubbing until after you have finished filming.
What other body language mannerisms have you found to be distracting or off-putting when viewing online videos?