Public Speaking Video 101: 3 Basic camera options for presentation skills training

Public speaking?  See for yourself.
Take a giant leap forward towards becoming a better and more confident public speaker.  Use video to improve your public speaking skills by seeing what’s really going on with your presentation skills.  If you’ve never seen yourself speak, chances are that you do something of which you’re not aware.  Most presenters have some tic, habit, or mannerism that distracts their audience.  Until they see themselves on video, they don’t realize they do “x” while speaking.  Video yourself and review the video at least three times.  Then make adjustments for improvement.

Video is now easier than ever.
When you video your public speaking presentation, this final product is not destined for your local Cineplex; it’s simply for viewing on your computer screen. You don’t even have to edit this footage.  Getting started is neither expensive nor difficult.  In fact, you may already have most of what you need.  If not, your initial investment could be as low as $150 – $250.  After purchasing the equipment, the rest is easy; it just takes commitment.

Get basic gear.
Here are a few recommendations for basic video equipment: a small camcorder, phone video recorder, or camera with video capacity.  You’ll want to place your video device on a tripod or some stabilizing unit.  You could use a larger more professional camera, but for most situations you’ll want a small and non-obtrusive camera.  See my specific equipment recommendations and sample video links below.

Watch the video for 3 video camera options.

Can you here me now? Don’t forget the audio.
Along with the video portion of your recording, make sure you have fairly clean audio.  It doesn’t have to be perfect; interruptions for applause or laughter may be fine.  Set your recording device at the back of the room.  Placing it near a speaker will help it pick up your voice.  Alternatively, you can record your voice separately with a pocket device, but that adds another layer to this task.

Watch & learn.
Once you have recorded your public speaking presentation, transfer it to a computer with a large monitor.  You want to see yourself on a bigger screen than one provided on the recording device.  Don’t worry about seeing yourself on the “big” screen.  No one, not even professional speakers, likes seeing himself.  But the professionals have learned that video review is a part of the process of getting better.  If you’re hesitant to see yourself, remember that your audience is seeing you, so you might as well know what they are seeing.

3 Reviews is the magic number.
Watch your video at least three times.  Review your presentation with the sound on and the sound off.  Take notes.  With the sound on, listen to what you are saying and how you say it. Do you use a lot of filler words?  Do your sentences trail off?  Is there vocal variety in your voice?  When you watch the video with the sound off, focus on your non-verbals.  Do you move around too much or not enough?  Do you connect with your audience by looking at them?  Do you gesture oddly?

Commit to use video.
If you want to be a better speaker, make the commitment to use video.  Record as many presentations as you can.  Review them and critique your speech and your style.  If you don’t like what you see, remember that you’re in control.  Make adjustments, fine tune your presentation skills, and leap towards becoming the great public speaker you want to be.  Use video to get you there.

3 Basic High Definition Video recording device suggestions:
Kodak Zi8 camcorder:  Kodak no longer makes Zi8 HD camera, but it is readily available on EBay.  This small pocket camcorder is versatile as it has an input for an external microphone.  The recording medium is an SD card.  Purchase an SD card that is at least 16 gbs. Video shot with Kodak Zi8

IPhone:  An IPhone 4/4s/5 can record video in full HD using the back camera.  Mounted on a tripod and steady mount, it will be fine.  An external mike can be plugged into the IPhone.  Various camera/video apps are available, but stick with the basic video program.  The recording media is internal, but make sure that you have enough space to record your presentation.  Remember to place your IPhone in airplane mode.  You don’t want an in-coming call to disrupt your presentation or your recording. Video shot with an IPhone 4s and Edutige microphone

Point & shoot camera: Today,  basic point & shoot cameras like Canon’s Powershot ELPH 330 can record full HD video and have wi-fi uploads.  The recording medium is an SD card.  Use one that is at least 16 gbs.  One downside of most point & shoot cameras is that they don’t have an external microphone option. Video shot with Canon ELPH with internal microphone

Extra points: Record separate video and audio.

Watch this video by Carl Kwan. You can record your video with a camera at the back of the room while recording the audio with an IPhone or digital recorder that is placed in your pocket.  This is the set up that I typically use.  This set up ensures that I get clear audio.  The microphone that I use with my IPhone is the Edutige Microphone Voice Recorder, which I highly recommend.  To add some space between you and your IPhone, get the Edutige Microphone cable kit.  It has a 50″ cord as well as an in-line volume control and headphone jack.  Final item, don’t forget to use the wind screen on your microphone.




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About Charles Greene III

Charles Greene III is a true Presentation Magician. Working with Fortune 500 companies, he’s a magical spokesperson who delivers product and marketing messages at conferences around the globe. Through his company Corporate Shuffle, Charles has presented at meetings in Bermuda, China, Egypt, France, Mexico, Monaco, Sweden, and, of course, the United States. His clients span a variety of industries and include 3M, Alcon, Coca-Cola, Clorox, Frito-Lay, Johnson & Johnson, Panasonic, and Wells Fargo. Charles’ public speaking and presentation workshops are engaging, educational, and empowering. With more than 25 years of experience as an international corporate spokesperson, Charles leads by example. He captivates attention as he delivers critical presentation skills. His workshops cover the core skills of public speaking as well as presentation techniques learned from decades of corporate presenting. Charles is a guest columnist for Presentation Magazine. He’s been featured in Discover, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Robb Report. When not for revealing the secrets of better public speaking, Charles spends time collecting vintage magic posters, stone lithographs of magicians from 1890 – 1930. To see some of his collection, visit He can also make a mean gumbo. Charles was born in Hackensack, NJ. He currently lives in the historic Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC.
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