My senior year at the Princeton of the Plains, Kansas State University, I took a storytelling class from a wonderful women named Charlotte McFarland. The purpose was to develop spontaneity and on camera performance.
The local cable TV station filmed our class doing our final storytelling performances of the semester. When I watched my segment air one week later, my first thought was, “You sure are a handsome guy Jon.” My second thought was, “Love the pink paisley shirt.” My third thought was, “Dude, you have no camera presence. You look nervous, you look scared, you look reserved and you’re mumbling.” So, I went about trying to fix those things.
I don’t know that I’ve improved much, but here are some top tips for improving your on camera performance.
You’ll notice things like mumbling and not looking into the camera — mistakes I made that you can fix yourself.
2. Seek critiques
Other people will offer suggestions on things you’re not noticing.
3. Study others
Study other sportscasters and study actors. Note nuances in delivery and facial expressions. If they are surprised by something, you’ll see wide eyes. If they’re amused, you might see raised eyebrows and a downturned grin.
Learn how to use subtle facial expressions to help convey the emotions that accompany what you are talking about.
4. Improve your writing
The Day You Became a Better Writer is a blog post from Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic. It’s the best 90 seconds you’ll invest in self-improvement today. Being a better writer will also improve your on camera TV performance.
Knowing these tips would have helped me a ton when I was in Mrs. McFarland’s class. Oh well – I least I still looked good in pink paisley.