I was working with someone recently who had been preparing for a presentation and during the rehearsal process had been videoed. ‘Ooh’ she said, ‘ It was awful – I sound dreadful, I look fat, it was horrific!’. As you can tell, she can be prone to some exaggerations (!) but she probably encapsulates the dislike most of us have when we see and hear ourselves on video or audio.
There are very few people who really like watching and listening to ourselves and of course we do look and sound different to the way we think we are coming across. The voice we hear inside our heads sounds different to the voice people actually hear. The audience are looking at the physical ‘us’ but inside we are also processing how we feel and usually an internal inner dialogue as well as getting the words out!
And yet…the best way to see ourselves and hear ourselves as others see and hear us is to record. It is a powerful way of rehearsing and the more important the presentation, the more important it is to rehearse fully. Here are two tips though to help you use this method of rehearsing without destroying yourself in the process:
1. Use the camera when you are getting to the point of dress rehearsal rather than at the beginning. In other words you know what you are saying and you know how you are saying it and you know what visuals you are going to use and how. This way your recording is picking up on the visual and audio elements allowing you to work on the delivery and observe objectively the content.
2. When you watch the replay, run through it three times. Once to get over the horror! Twice to reflect on how you were feeling at the time and those internal processes that were taking place. The third time watch it as if you were a member of the audience. It is this third time that will be the most useful to you in terms of how you come across to your listeners.
Many years ago I remember my husband going on a training course where he was to be recorded speaking. I placed a little bet with myself. If, on his return, he mentioned the recording it had gone well. If there was no mention of it, it had gone poorly. Within fifteen minutes of his return home he brandished a video tape ( it was a long time ago!) and the family were subjected to a replay. It was good!
The replay isn’t about it being perfect. Rehearsal isn’t about getting it perfect. It is about assessing the impact you will have on your audience and making as many, or few, changes as necessary to increase that impact and understanding. Let me know how you get on.
Our monthly Speaking Clubs are a great way of practising regularly and getting feedback in a small supportive group. Check out the website for details of clubs near you. At the moment these are running in the North-West of UK. Let me know of your interest if you are in a different part of the country and we can bring a Speaking Club to your area too!