Tips for Becoming Camera-Un-Shy

Ever happened to you:

  1. Someone asked you to record a short video (invitation to an event, greeting, birthday wish for a common friend etc.)
  2. You said yes
  3. You procrastinated for-ever, missed the deadline, disappointed the other person and felt guilty.

I get it. Even if it would not take that much effort (hit “record” on your phone, speak for a minute, pause, send it to whomever asked for it), if you’re camera-shy, you won’t feel like doing it. And if you won’t feel like doing it – you most likely won’t do it.

One way to deal with such situations is always say “no”. But hey, always saying “no” will rob you of many adventures!

But if you say “yes”, how can you make it work?

To help you with that, my Storytellers’ Sundays co-pilot Jenny surveyed a few camera-loving Toastmasters (and our past Storytellers’ Sundays Speakers) for their tips as what you can do to make the camera love-you-back (thanks Jenny!).

Check them out!

Magarita Ursu, Event Manager and PR Consultant

My rule for public speaking in general (and it definitely applies for the public speaking at the camera) is – “Practice is the magic”.

Practice diction – you need to be heard clearly more than ever.

Practice your appearance – record yourself, watch the video (firstly – without sound, secondly without image, and then – all together). You will be surprised how many things you will decide to improve – lights, background, vocal variety, simplicity of the message… (it will be a long list – better take things one by one 🙂 )

Practice staying yourself – make camera resonate with your feelings and broadcast the real you. Authenticity is what will make you stand out.

Aaron Leung, Speaker and Trainer

  1. Share to the world as your friend.
  2. Look at your camera…be friends with it.
  3. Practice by putting a picture next to it.

Alena Huberova, Corporate Trainer, Business Mentor and Keynote Speaker

Oh my dear, I am still camera shy. I am just learning how to handle it.
My one top tip?

I think you’ll always feel shy to some degree. And so instead of obsessing about techniques for “not feeling shy”, focus on techniques to help you look less shy such as body language. Before I click the record button, I jump up and down, dance around, and move my body in all sorts of directions to release any tension. Stiff body = stiff mind and that’s not going to help you with your nerves.

Sabyasachi Sengupta, Keynote Speaker, Storyteller, Business Developer

I am never camera-shy. Camera loves me (just like Camera loves Barney). I think there are several things that can help you overcome that shyness.

  1. Think this is just for you and you will not share it with anyone and no one will see it. So the pressure of what will people say will be off your shoulder.
  2. Take your appearance seriously. How you look if how you feel.
  3. Feel positive. It’s so important to feel that way unless its a really sad video you are making. Remember what mood you are in, your audience will not know it.
  4. Don’t try to be someday else or do it like someone else.
  5. Watch an existing video of Percy and tell yourself you can’t be as bad as him and you will do a better job.
  6. Look at the camera. If you’re shooting from your phone put a red sticker next to the camera so that you look there.

Alex de Jong, Trainer and Training Content Developer

I have never been camera-shy.

1. Stop being self-conscious

When I was competing in a humorous speech contest back in 2014, I was in my club in the UK – “the Liverpool” of the public speaking clubs – and I practiced it in front of my club, with 2 very experienced speakers – George and Garreth – who had been in the finals. He gave me one advice: “Alex, stop being so self-conscious! Stop trying to make people laugh, just let it go.”

Because whether you’re trying to make people laugh, or trying to speak on camera, or trying to do any form of communication, based on your self-perception and self-image – you’re just being self-conscious. That’s where all the anxiety and shyness stems from, how you perceive and think yourself to be looking for the benefit of yourself.

Now, when I step up on the stage and give a stand-up comedy, or I am on camera, I give the people the opportunity to laugh, that’s a gift – and I couldn’t care less about myself.

2. The camera is your new best friend

The second tip I would give is “The camera is your new best friend!”

If you’re speaking to your best friend or indeed if you’re speaking with a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, a loved one, or a mate in the pub with a beer/coffee/whatever, you’re not going to be focused on yourself or listen on how you sound or look or these sorts of things…

But when you’re speaking with your friend, you’re just there with your friend. When you’re speaking with your camera, you’re just there with your camera.

And it’s not about you, it’s about them.

In fact, you’re getting out of your own head and get into the heart of your audience. That could be a tall order when it’s on camera because your audience is not in front of you. Whereas, if you’re speaking with a friend you can see right in their eyes and be with them in their heart.

But when you’re thinking, when you’re in your own head, that’ where all the shy comes from “Oh how do I look like, how do I sound like, is this good/right/perfect, are they judging me?” Get out of your own head!

All thinking is a pure, selfish act! Really, thinking is only for the benefit of yourself.
And that’s where shyness comes from…

So, get out of your head and get into the heart of your audience – that’s what I say.

If you made it all the way here, you must be at least semi-serious about becoming camera un-shy.

Now you’ve got more tips than you can handle, so it’s time to turn theory into practice.

Ready? Set? Record!

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Featured image by Niyazio123 on Envato Elements.


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