In public speaking, we often forget while practicing, that the audience is not just listening to our words but to our non-verbal communication as well. While we may practice our speech several times, we still don’t really know what the audience will be seeing.
Video recording yourself when you speak allows you to see what the audience will be seeing. It helps you to become aware of how nervous or confident you are looking while speaking. A video of you speaking provides immediate feedback as to where you are going wrong in your speech – are you pacing, are you frowning, are you being too stiff etc.
Here are 4 reasons as to why video recording yourself while you speak is important:
When I was practicing for one of my earlier speeches, I made it a point to start recording myself speaking right from the first day of practice.
From the video itself, I could notice some glaring errors in the way I was speaking.
For one thing, I was frowning throughout my talk for no apparent reason. I was pacing around too much. It was more distracting than effective. And lastly, I was speaking too softly towards the end of my speech.
In my next practice delivery, I made it a point to smile more so as to avoid frowning, I consciously reduced my pacing and ensured that my volume was audible throughout my speech.
3 major errors fixed in just one practice session – that’s how much video recording helps! It allows us to see the most glaring errors and troubleshoot them quickly and easily.
From the above personal example, it is clear that body language plays an important role in conversations and especially speeches. Learn more about this by reading our article on Body Language And Its Contribution To The Process Of Communication.
Comparing your speeches
When I am talking about the benefits of video recording yourself talking, I don’t only mean that for your practice deliveries. Even when you go on the main stage, request someone to video record your speech. Try and have all your speeches video recorded.
This will help you see a comparison between your current speeches against speeches you have delivered a long time ago. It’ll act as a before-after version of your public speaking journey.
It can also act as a reference source when you need it.
For example, if I want to re-visit an old speech where I had really focused and delivered on body language, I could watch that video as a reference for my body language while preparing for my next speech.
Public speaking can by no means, be measured by numbers. But by recording yourself speaking, at least you can visibly see how much you have progressed.
Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the video of my first ever speech as compared to a speech I gave 2 years into my public speaking journey. You can clearly see a difference, and a lot of it is thanks to the power of speech video recording.
If you are delivering a speech for the first time, then you should definitely read our article on Delivering a Speech for the First Time? Try this!
Many times, having a second pair of eyes evaluate your talk before the main day can be immensely helpful.
But many times, it can be hard to find someone credible to help you and to find a convenient time for you both to meet. Moreover, this process can be super time consuming.
You can see the spots where you are going wrong and work on fixing them (similar to the troubleshooting method).
This is the process I usually follow and it works wonders – record yourself delivering the first draft of your speech. Evaluate the speech, find the common errors, fix them and re-record.
I keep on repeating this process until I have eliminated (or at least tried to eliminate) my most glaring errors. This makes me use my practice time much more efficiently and makes me quite ready for the main day.
Read our extensively written article on Surprisingly Simple But Effective Processes to Practicing for a Speech to know more about it.
Boosting your confidence
Speaking in front of a crowd is hard. But what sometimes goes understated is that speaking in front a camera can also be hard.
So when you consistently put yourself in front of a camera and know how to record yourself giving a speech, it automatically helps build a little more confidence.
Moreover, even though you might be embarrassed by some of the earlier recordings (as I was), I’ve found that every time I watch a video recording of myself and re-deliver my talk, I can see a solid improvement almost all the time! And this too, helps in boosting my confidence.
What to look out for in your speech’s video recording:
Here’s a small checklist you can go through when you watch a video recording of yourself. Try and see how you’re performing on each one of them while recording the speech for feedback.
- Maintaining eye contact
- Appropriate hand gestures
- Movement on stage (are you pacing or standing still)
- Speaking too quickly/slowly
- Volume of speech
- Is there any emotion in your voice
- Facial expressions
- Filler words (ums and ahs)
There are a lot more things to watch out for of course. But this can be a good checklist to get started on when you watch yourself on video for the first time! But keep in mind, this is just a suggestion checklist.
Don’t worry if you are not perfecting all of these points. The idea is not to be perfect, it’s to understand where you are going wrong and (slowly) working to improve upon them.
How to record yourself
Some people have told me that they don’t record their speech because they don’t have a proper camera. In my opinion, this is a very stupid excuse. Simply using your smartphone camera works just fine. There’s no need for a professionally shot video unless you plan on using them for any sort of promotion. Using your phone to record yourself giving a speech is good enough to know areas that need improvement.
What I do is take my smartphone, place it on selfie mode, and rest it horizontally on the wall of a surface that is reaching somewhere between my neck and eyes. In case you do not have a surface of such a height, you can stack a bunch of books on a lower surface and place your phone on that.
Bonus Tip: Send your video recording to a speech mentor
Instead of meeting your mentor in person, sending a video recording of yourself is much more convenient and time-efficient. They can then specifically note down the points of feedback and send them across to you.
I highly recommend this as you may not always be aware of all the mistakes you might be making. Having a second pair of eyes look at your speech can help provide a fresh perspective.
But it is one of the most effective. Make sure you use the power of video recording the next time you practice for a speech. You will be amazed by the results!
As already mentioned above, video recording yourself speaking can help you with body posture, intonation and most importantly the non-verbal body language, which plays a crucial role in public speaking. Video recording your speech when clubbed with an effective feedback process can often give you great results, eventually improving your public speaking skills.