At Prezi, we know and admire the kind of nerves it takes to get up in front of an audience to present. What’s more, presenting on camera can seem extra daunting. That’s why we’re here, together with Jessica Chen, founder and CEO of Soulcast Media, to help you shake off the jitters and feel comfortable so you can wow your audience with Prezi Video. Here are our main tips to get you started so you’re ready to shine.
Getting ready to record and setting up Prezi Video
There are a variety of things you can do to prepare yourself before creating a video. While everyone has their own unique method, here are some tried and true ways of making sure you’ll be ready when the camera starts rolling.
Check the built-in camera and microphone of your device to see if you’re happy with the image and sound quality. Don’t worry if the resolution doesn’t meet your standards - you can easily connect an external camera or microphone to your laptop to create high-quality videos you’re used to seeing from YouTubers and other content creators.
Finding the right space
To maintain your audience’s focus on you and not your surroundings, try to find a quiet location with a solid, clean background that won’t distract from you or your content (doesn’t have to be a white wall but take into consideration that your content will also be displayed next to you in the frame). If you need to, try moving around with your computer to test a few places out and see what looks best.
Not too close, but not too far
Placing your computer to the right spot is equally important. Whether you are sitting or standing, make sure that you can look up slightly to the camera. If you can see your ceiling in the camera feed, lower the lid or use a few books as a pulpit for your laptop to find the perfect angle. This makes it easier to keep eye-contact with your audience while keeping an eye on your content. Sit/stand 2-3 feet away from your laptop and make sure that there’s a little space left above your head in the camera feed.
Think about the lighting
You may need to move around a bit for this one, but try and pick a spot that has a natural and balanced contrast of light. One of the most obvious ways to do this is to avoid having a window behind you. In case you don’t have a natural light source, use one or more lamps to bring your face and your content to light - just make sure that the light is not coming from behind or from above.
The right attire
Make sure to wear solid colors and nothing distracting like chunky jewelry or bold patterns and text when recording your video. This way your viewers can focus on you and your words. In addition, wearing bold colors like red, blue or green will help make you pop out on screen.
Making a plan and preparing your message
You know you’ve put all this work into your presentation, but do you know what you’re going to say when you start recording? Try to create an outline or a script (or even a mindmap) that highlights your main talking points and focus on the message you want your audience to take away when the video ends.
People nowadays are consuming a lot of content on a daily basis so try to keep it short and sweet, use simple and clear language and if possible, try to stick to the unbeatable structure of intro+body+conclusion+signing off.
The way you start your presentation can set the tone for the entire video. Choosing a bold statement as a starter was proven to be very effective, as it grabs the viewers’ attention and they will want to hear the rest. One more thing to keep in mind: prepare mentally to transmit more energy than usual while speaking to make sure your message gets through via camera.
The middle part of your narrative serves the purpose of supporting your bold statement at the beginning with facts and data. Don’t forget, it is also a journey so try to make it into a storytelling experience for your viewers to keep them interested and engaged.
By the end of your story, you should have come a full circle: repeat your initial statement again to make your narrative rounded and complete. This is also the time to call for action and if necessary, a Q&A to answer questions from viewers in case you are presenting your video live.
Recording your masterpiece
You have the setting, you have the story, it’s time for the camera to roll. Before you hit the Record button, consider these few tips below to give your performance of a lifetime.
Practice, practice, practice
Prezi Video allows you to do as many takes as you want, so it’s okay if you don’t get it right the first try! Take your time and re-record your video until you’re happy with the result. If you really want to become a pro, watch a few TED talks or successful YouTubers beforehand and examine their technique. Watching back your own video might result in some cringing at first but you can learn a lot from your own mistakes and help you become a better presenter.
Once you’re done with recording, you can also trim your video and cut out any unwanted footage from the beginning or end.
The power of body language
Never underestimate the power of nonverbal communication: your eyes, your gestures and your posture can say more than your words. Try looking into the lens instead of constantly looking at the screen to make your video more personal, as if you were in a conversation with your viewers. If you really want to let your passion shine through, don’t restrict yourself from making natural gestures. Just observe the best presenters of the world: they are all talking with their hands too. Pay attention to your posture too, whether your sitting or standing - it can reflect confidence, not to mention it is better for your back.
Freeze frames can be cool but not by freezing up on camera. If you’ve followed our tips so far, then you’re ready for the next one – act natural! An easy way to do that is to imagine that you’re looking at someone you know, like a friend or maybe even your pet. If it helps, use a “teleprompter” and put your notes up on the wall behind your camera in eye-height.
Pay attention to your volume and speed when speaking, and don’t be afraid to slow down when you really want to emphasize something or use meaningful pauses while speaking. It all comes down to being natural in front of the camera - if you’re enthusiastic about your topic, your speaking volume and speed can increase a bit without you even noticing. This is not necessarily a bad thing (but be careful not to overdo it)! Your audience will love your video if they feel like you’re having a friendly conversation with them. Needless to say, but don’t forget to smile!