A big epiphany that many of the students who take my “Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking” class have is that even though they are petrified, the audience can’t tell. When I have students give their first speech in class (a short introduction) I ask the speaker if they were nervous. If they say they were, I ask the rest of the class if they could tell and in most cases, they say they can’t. Sometimes, our inner emotions don’t show through in our talk and this can be either a good thing or a bad thing based on your situation.
People who struggle with public speaking usually hate (and that’s an appropriate word) the idea of being recorded. We’re self conscious, embarrassed and concerned about how we’ll look. But it’s important for us to do so to get a real look at how our audience sees us. Watching yourself on video has the following benefits:
- It improves your confidence when you’re starting out because you realize that you don’t look as bad or as nervous as you originally thought you did.
- It helps you evaluate you movements and gestures – are you moving too much, not enough, too predictable, etc.?
- It gives you a feel for how your speech sounds – are you trailing off in the middle, do you start off strong enough, etc.?
- If you record your speech in front of an audience, you can also see the audience’s reaction and use that to boost your confidence and find areas to improve.
- It moves you outside of your comfort zone which helps you grow both as a speaker and as a person.
So as you prepare your next speech, take a bit of risk and record yourself. Again, it’s better if you can do it with a mock audience (just angle the camera so you can catch some of the audience reactions). You might just realize that you’re a better speaker than you thought.