Lights, Camera… Panic! Overcoming Your Nerves on Camera
You can be the most engaging person with the best sense of humor and the most entertaining stories. But when the camera is pointed at you, you freeze. Every thought you’ve ever had races from your brain; you can hear tumbleweeds rolling around in there.
“What’s your name?”
“Um, Adam Grubb?”
“No, that’s my name. What’s yours?”
“I have no idea.”
It happens to the best of us. Literally. Even powerhouse Adele feels the nerves: “One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit… Once in Brussels, I projectile vomited on someone.” Since our team is behind the camera, we’d prefer you not take this route.
There is something about staring into the lens that can be intimidating. You feel like you have to perform. And, when it comes to corporate video, you may feel the pressure to conform to a script, to speak PR, to put on your C-suite/manager/HR/sales hat and deliver soundbites.
You’re a Natural
Why do you watch videos? The answer is not because you like to see talking heads delivering scripted messages and trying to sell you something. It’s that you want to be educated, informed, entertained, moved. Your viewers crave this, and they want the real deal.
HubSpot research shows that consumers and customers prefer authentic video, even when it’s lower quality, than high-quality video that feels artificial. (Ideally, you come across as natural and have stellar production value for most videos.)
Remember this: you have great business stories. Tell them. That’s it.
To keep your nerves from getting the best of you:
Keep It Simple
We hate cliches. Our goal is to propel your brand past typical, and stereotypical, corporate videos so you make an impact on your audience. But one we’ll let slide is this: speak from your heart. Know what you want to convey, and then just say it. A page full of notes can heighten the intimidation factor, as can a highly scripted speech.
In this AGP-produced video for Carplex, customer Noe tells his story with heartfelt simplicity. It is raw, authentic, and emotional.
Keep It Short
Brevity is the soul of wit. That’s not a cliche. It’s Shakespeare. You don’t need 30 minutes, 15 minutes, or even five minutes to tell a compelling story. We know you have a lot to say, but consider breaking it up into a series so your message is easily digestible for viewers.
AGM does this with our Roundtable and Video Marketing Insights videos (as you can see with the video at the beginning of this post). Sure, we can talk about our passion for hours — for days — but we know we need to appeal to time-strapped viewers. When people are interested, they’ll click on the next video. And when they get bored 10 seconds into a half-hour long spiel, they’ll click to your competitors.
In this video for Sigma, an international nursing organization, people explain what nurses mean to them. See what you can accomplish in under two minutes:
There is no prescribed time limit for business video. Go back to your strategy — and to your audience’s needs. What do you need to say, and how can you say it in the most succinct manner?
Tell Your Story
It’s our job as producers, and storytellers, to make sure you are as comfortable as possible on camera. You’re just talking, telling your story. Envision yourself speaking with your favorite aunt at Thanksgiving or a friend at a restaurant. You’re relaxed; you’re natural; you’re engaging. You’re just having a conversation.
This is when you hit that authentic cadence with which audiences connect. The second you veer into soundbites, that’s the second you lose them. They don’t want to watch a brochure. They want to watch your story.
Just Do It
If you’ve delved into the Mind of AGP, you know we mention Nike from time to time. They are spot on with their ads, brand stories, and ability to blend scripts, visuals, and music flawlessly. They’ve also got the right idea when it comes to overcoming your nerves on camera: Just Do It.
Talk. Practice. Tell your story. If you flub a line on camera… well, there’s nothing more authentic, is there? And if you fall down and make a complete mess of it, that’s what “Take 2” is for.
But you won’t. You have these stories in your blood. Once you get started, you’ll just tell them, organically, naturally, and conversationally. That’s where the magic lives.
A camera is just a camera. It’s there to help you tell your story. And we’re here to help you tell it differently.