Talking head video is becoming a powerful tool for instructors, YouTubers, and presenters to share their knowledge and get their message across. However, to keep viewers’ attention and boost retention, you’ll have to create a video that’s perfect in every aspect.
In this article, I’ll show you how to create a video that allows you to showcase your ideas in a simple, professional way.
Write Down Your Goal
The first step is to write down your goal in a sentence. Write down what is it you want your audience to do or what it is you’re addressing. Figure out what you are trying to communicate to your audience and how you want them to react.
Brainstorm Your Messages
Now that you have the end goal in mind, figure out what may motivate your audience to do what you want them to do. Learn what messages will resonate with them and make them want to take desired actions.
Brainstorm your messages and narrow them down to the three most important messages (or a maximum of five with 10 words for each message). Narrowing down messages gives you clarity of what you’re going to say and also allows you to avoid the fluff.
Prepare a Cheat Sheet
You don’t want to write everything down and try to read it when creating a video because that will make you look awful and sound robotic. Instead, print out your messages on one page in a large font and use them as notes for your presentation on camera.
A cheat sheet frees up your mind by helping you memorize what you’re going to say. When you have all your main points on a sheet, it will be easy for you to memorize the rest of what you’re going to say. You just have to occasionally glance down and keep going with the natural flow.
Get Familiarized with the Technology
Before recording a video, you should first learn a few technicalities. It’s not about the camera. You can use any decent camera, an iPad camera, a smartphone camera, or an external webcam. However, there are a few other things you have to take care of to make your video better.
First, raise the camera at eye level because if it is lower, it’s going to be shooting up your nose, and that’s just not a flattering look for anybody. You don’t have to hire a technical crew for this. You can simply get a stack of books and put your laptop or computer screen on top of that. It’s not hard.
The second big thing is to make sure you don’t have a window or any other light behind you, because that will make your face look dark. Instead, you want more light in front of your face because you need people to see your face. That’s the most important thing.
The final thing that will really make your video sound more professional is good audio. In fact, audio is often more important than the video quality, because if people hear something and it’s fuzzy and muffled, it’s going to be a huge turnoff. I recommend that you don’t use the built-in microphone on your device. Instead, get an external mic from RadioShack, Amazon.com, or a nearby store. You can put the mic right on a shirt, a dress, or a lapel while maintaining a decent distance from your mouth to avoid noise.
Look Confident and Natural on Camera
You want to know how to look your best to look comfortable, confident, and relaxed any time you’re in front of a camera because it’s easy to not look that way.
For starters, your eyes are critically important. First, avoid constantly looking down at your notes or at something you’ve written on the giant cue because it makes you look awful. Instead, look into the camera. If you have to look away for a moment, look down and you’ll look thoughtful.
The next thing you have to worry about is your head. If you’re not moving your head when talking, you’re going to look canned, stiffed, phony, and unconfident. You have to move your head in a natural way.
You also want to make sure you’re moving your body. You shouldn’t be fidgeting or jerking around, but just be moving your body a little bit, so you look relaxed. Likewise, move your hands to support your talking and sound more conversational. If you are not relaxed and nothing is moving but your mouth, it will make you look unnatural and nervous.
Remember that it’s ok to make mistake, but don’t act like it’s bothering you. Don’t call attention to it. Don’t grimace. Don’t wince. Don’t stop and freeze. Just keep talking.
Record a Video and Review
Now I want you to record yourself speaking while using the advice shared above. It’s not important what you talk about, you just have to watch how you look, how you sound, and how you move. After recording the video, watch it and take notes about what you like and what you don’t. Work on your shortcomings, again record a video, review, and repeat.
Focus on One Thing at a Time
When trying to work on your shortcomings, it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. For instance, if you feel that you are speaking too quickly or too slow, first work on it. Then, if you feel that you are not moving your head, work on it and so on.
Focusing on three or four things at once won’t help you improve. Focus on one thing, try to improve it, rehearse again and again until you fix the problem, and then focus on the next thing.
Ask for Feedback
Pick three or four people who you think will give you honest feedback and send the last video you did to those people. Ask them what they like about the video and how well they remember your messages.
Ask for their suggestion on improvement and work on those suggestions if they are really worth considering.
To Wrap It Up
In the end, it all comes down to practicing on video until you like it. If you just do this one thing, you’re going to be great at recording a video. But if you get sidetracked on memorizing a script, trying to fuss with your PowerPoint slides, or spending all your time on the camera angle and the lighting, your talking head video is not going to be a success.
So, focus on what’s really important and you’ll make for a great talking head in simple online videos.