Storytelling Techniques: Great Speakers Use Video to Improve Presentation Skills
By Sean Buvala (posted 2011)
Using a video camera is a great method for improving your storytelling and public speaking. In my work as a storytelling coach video is the number-one tool I use to help my storytellers learn the physicality of how to tell a story. Here are five very specific benefits of making videos of your storytelling both in your practice sessions and in live performance.
1. Video is your unblinking way to watch your own work.
Although you might be one of those public speakers that believe that every thing they say or do is golden, you are more likely a presenter that only concentrates on your own faults or mistakes. For the most part, I find that my coaching clients are surprised to discover that the things that bother them about their speaking are not evident to the video camera and therefore not obvious to the listening audience.
2. You will see your gestures in a new way.
Few presenters do not need to work on their gestures. A video camera gives you the chance to take a good look at your gestures through the "fast forward" feature on playback. After recording yourself, watch the playback in fast motion. Are your arms flapping like a bird? If so, then work on making more intentional gestures. Do your arms barely move in the fast-forward playback? If that is the case, then add more gestures.
3. You can hear problem areas in your speech patterns.
We are usually unaware of the filler words that we use in our conversations. Sounds such as "umm" or "ahhh" slip right past us when we are speaking. Delaying words such as "so..." or "well..." or even "okay..." should be replaced with silence or confident transitions into the next part of your story. You will clearly hear these errors when you review your video.
4. You can share your recordings with coaches near and far.
Most public speakers and storytellers seek out coaching to improve their storytelling techniques. By uploading video to your web server or one of the many video-sharing sites in "private" mode, you can then ask a respected coach anywhere in the world to review your presentation and provide feedback for you.
5. You might capture an especially brilliant moment.
Let the video to be your "memory" from an event. I bring a video camera to nearly every event where I am speaking and storytelling. With the video camera already in place at the event, I can capture those moments where I had a flash of insight, a new idea or even a new turn-of-phrase in a story. Without the camera, I tend to forget a new idea or forget the exact words I used. With the video to review, I essentially can give myself some storytelling tips. Every public speaker has these moments and you will be able to capture yours with the video in addition to the benefits listed in 1-4 above.
I encourage you to add video review to your public-speaking tool kit. No longer restricted to expensive video-only cameras, even your cell phone or laptop computer is now a learning tool for your future success.
The author, Sean Buvala, also offers a small-group, multi-day live workshop to take you new levels as a public speaker. To learn more, visit http://www.executivespeakingtraining.com.
Sean has been presenting training workshops and performances throughout the U.S and Canada since 1986. He lives in Arizona where his wife says he is also a great cook.