Tips for Public Speaking on Video

Toastmasters have many opportunities for producing video content. These include creating podcasts, participating in a video interview, creating a YouTube channel, speaking in a Zoom or Teams meeting and simply FaceTiming with your phone.

Female young hispanic looking at webcam and talking with gestures.

Start Small

When creating your own video content start small. Consider a “Tips and Tricks” format, perhaps a set of 30- or 60-second speeches on small topics. Table Topics is great practice for this type of content. These short videos need not be published. Their main purpose is to give you the chance to practice with equipment such as microphones and lighting without a great time investment. Another advantage is that you can evaluate (or have someone else evaluate) your progress.

Test Before Publication

As your content matures, consider your various options for publication. These include single videos or a complete channel on YouTube, video podcasts, TikTok and Instagram. Test your content and media choice(s) to ensure that you can upload correctly, mark or tag your content and add descriptions, comments and links. Test your ability to publish privately, review security choices and study search engine optimization (SEO) options.

Script, Ad-Lib or Somewhere In-Between?

Most Toastmasters prepare speeches by writing them out as a script or preparing an outline. This allows the speaker to concentrate on the purpose of the speech (informational, entertaining, persuasive or inspirational). With a video recording, a strict script may come across as stilted or monotonous. Of course, a completely impromptu presentation may seem unprepared, shoddy or inexpert. Aim for a middle ground where you stick to an outline but allow yourself to be spontaneous as you describe specific issues or circumstances.

Personal Conversational

In a video, your facial expressions and general body language and presence will take on greater importance. This is due to two factors: most watchers will associate a video with an in-person meeting; however, only part of your body will be visible, with your face taking up most of the screen. The result is that watchers will pay more attention to your face in a video than they would for an in-person speech. To address this potential problem, approach producing your video the same way that you would engage in a conversation with a friend at lunch seated at a table. This makes you concentrate on eye contact, above-the-table gestures and facial expressions.

For More Information

There are several on-line resources to assist you in speaking on camera.  Here is a short list.

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Author: Lock Lyon

Lock Lyon has been a Toastmaster for over 10 years, and is a prolific author and blogger specializing in information technology issues. In 2021, Lock was designated an Information Champion by IBM Corporation. He currently spends his time writing and speaking from his home in central Michigan.

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