I have previously written about the importance of creating a script and learning your content thoroughly before filming your video presentations. But what are the key things you need to capture in your script? In this article learn how to speak like an anchor on video!
Write as you Speak
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 they may not always “speak well”.
The big lesson to take from this is that when we are creating our video scripts, we need to write our key messages exactly as we would speak them. Read aloud everything you write over and over again and keep tweaking the messages until they flow easily off your tongue and sound natural and conversational.
Speak in Sound Bites
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 the 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.
You will probably also notice that these news readers use an autocue to feed them their key messages. The main reason for this is because their content is changing every night, sometimes even by the minute, and takes too much time to learn new scripts every day. However, the use of an autocue or teleprompter is something I strongly discourage with my clients, the reasons for which can be found in my previous article, “Using an autocue? I’m not buying it”.
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.
Use the Right Emotional Tone
Depending on your content, decide on the tone and pace that would best suit 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.
Identify the Transition Points
If you deliver your presentation using the same emotional tone throughout, however, it can be like a musician playing one note. It gets boring fairly quickly and your viewers won’t stick around for long. Transition points are the 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.
Don’t Make 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 one the the major keys to being able to present effectively on video, and all great on-screen performers and actors have mastered this technique.
If you watch TV news anchors or even hosted TV shows i.e. Wildlife (Sir David Attenborough) or Science (Physicist Brian Cox) you will notice that they are very deliberate. They pause at each transition point, adopt a new facial expression, and then deliver the next sound bite with the appropriate emotional tone. Believe me; they are not “winging it”. It is all carefully scripted and choreographed.
Your video presentations should be carefully scripted and choreographed also if you want to have the maximum impact.
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Otherwise, keep creating and keep it fun!
Cheering you with your video creations!