I have written about the importance of using a video script and having a clear understanding of your speaking points before filming your video presentations.
In this article, you’ll learn how to speak well on video plus what to avoid doing onscreen.
1. Write as you Speak. Crafting your Video Message
Have you ever noticed that when you listen to the audio version of a published book, the words and phrases often sound unnatural? Whether the author is reading it themselves, or even if they employ the skills of a professional narrator to create an audio version of their book, it still sounds like someone is “reading lines”.
That’s because the way the author writes words on a page for a reading audience is often very different from how they would normally “speak them” to a listening audience. The words “read well” but may not always “speak well”.
The big lesson from this is that when we create our video scripts, we need to write our key messages exactly as we would speak them. So as you draft your video script, read it aloud as you write. Screenwriters adopt this technique because they know how important this process is when writing for the screen or the visual medium.
Keep doing this and tweaking the message until the words flow easily off your tongue and sound natural and conversational.
2. Speak in Soundbites
If you watch the news anchors on global news networks like CNN or the BBC, you will notice that they typically speak in short sentences or “sound bites”.
The networks have learned that it is much easier for viewers to retain information if it is provided in short chunks. This is something I recommend you do also.
See if you can arrange your script to deliver your messages in short, concise sound bites. With my professional TV/film acting process and while working with my clients, I’ve found that 3 to 12 words are easier to recall on the page versus long sentences. We speak in thoughts, not in written sentences.
Also, you’ll probably notice that these newsreaders use an autocue to feed them their key messages. The main reason for this is that their content is changing every night, sometimes even by the minute.
However, the use of an autocue or teleprompter is something I strongly discourage with my clients.
3. Emphasize the Key Words
Getting our message content right is just the first step. Now we need to make sure that we emphasize the key descriptive words in our script.
- For example, if you are speaking about the Pizza business, slow down and put extra emphasis on key descriptive words like yummy, delicious, fresh ingredients, mouth-watering taste, etc.
4. Use the Right Emotional Tone
Depending on your content, decide on the tone and pace that best suits your key messages.
- For example, your emotional tone and delivery pace would be quite different if you were promoting your services as a funeral director, vs. if you are promoting a fun new video game.
5. Identify the Transition Points
If you deliver your video presentation using the same emotional tone throughout, it can be like a musician playing one note.
You’ll hear it often with inexperienced people. Unfortunately, it can get boring fairly quickly, especially in a visual medium. As it imbues a monotonous vibe into your on-camera delivery. Your viewers won’t tend to stick around for long.
This is where identifying your transition points to those “key moments” in your script where the attitude or emotion you convey needs to change.
- For example, when you are presenting a problem, the emotion you convey should be different from the emotion you convey when you present the solution. You would probably adopt a serious look on your face, and deliver your message in a serious tone when you are discussing the problem
- Then, when you get to the transition point, you would pause, smile, establish eye contact with the camera, and start presenting the solution with a more positive look on your face and deliver the message in an upbeat tone.
6. Avoid this Mistake
Avoid “sliding” from one emotion into the next. Take time to pause, and make a clear transition, before moving on to the next line in your script. It helps to make a note of these transition points in your script. In the film industry, this is called “marking your beat transitions”. You clearly indicate where you need to pause and specify the emotional tone you need to adopt before moving on to the next line.
Note: Like any new technique, this may feel unnatural at first, but with enough rehearsal and practice you will soon find your natural flow. Be very “specific and deliberate” with your thoughts, emotions, and actions. This is a major key to being able to present effectively on video. All great on-screen performers and actors have mastered this technique because of how compelling and engaging this on-screen skill can be.
They pause at each transition point, adopt a new facial expression, and then deliver the next sound bite with the appropriate emotional tone. They are not “winging it”. It is all carefully scripted and choreographed, to keep filming time and production costs as low as possible.
Your video presentations should be carefully scripted or at least have a coherent, concise outline. And be visually choreographed in a unique, compelling, and captivating way if you want to have the maximum impact on screen.
Have a burning question? Want me to cover a topic? Reach out to me here.
Or perhaps you are stuck and need a little guidance? You can book a time with me to troubleshoot your video creation or a production challenge. See below for details.
Otherwise, keep creating and keep it fun!
Established in 2006 Bianca Te Rito, founder of STEBIAN.com provides an exclusive, consulting service helping business thought leaders, speakers, award-winning authors & VIPs productize their thought leadership and present themselves, their products, services, or brand message to their target audience in the most effective way possible on video. Get the tailored expertise from a real-world operator with over 20 years of TV/Film industry experience working in front of and behind the camera. Learn more about our custom offers here.