The most useful tool you have to practice and perfect your next high stakes presentation is likely sitting in your pocket (or pocketbook) right now. How’s this? One of the best ways to become a better public speaker is to record yourself on your mobile phone.
When I go to the driving range, I record my golf swing while I’m practicing and then after the session, I go back home and watch it to see what I am doing well (or not so well). What I learn from watching that video is essential to forming a more technically sound golf swing.
These same rules apply to public speaking. At Interact Studio, we video tape every student that walks through our door. While everyone feels a sense of adrenaline when they get up in front of the camera, our clients invariably tell us that when they look at their videos they see more confidence than they expected.
Use these tips below to practice your next high stakes presentation and you’ll see exponential growth in your presentation skills.
Start with audio only
I start with my phone’s voice recorder when I am preparing to give a speech, presentation or interview. I like to take a couple dry runs listening to the audio only listening for these things before looking at video:
How is my pace?
Am I pausing for emphasis before or after important phrases?
Am I using any distracting non-words like, “um,” “so,” or “like?”
It’s also good at this stage to see how long you’re talking. If you need to fill 15 minutes and you have eight minutes of speech, then it’s time to go back to the writing pad. If you need to fill 15 minutes and you have 11, then you’re fine and in fact, your audience will likely appreciate the brevity.
Hone it in with video
Video is an excellent way to polish your presentation skills. Make sure you set your phone up on something stable when you start recording. Support the back of it with a book so it stands up straight while you’re filming. Then, record yourself for the entire duration of your speech.
Here’s the hard part: you have to watch it back and really pay attention. Again, watch your pacing and cadence. You want to look natural, but at the same time, very confident in the message you’re delivering.
What are you doing with your hands? It may seem awkward to be making strong, meaningful hand gestures around your living room or office, but if you don’t do it now, it will be tougher for you in the heat of the moment.
Are you moving purposefully or are you swaying from foot to foot?
Do you have a good posture—with your shoulders back and head held high?
When I was in college, I would type out my script in a word document and have a friend hold my computer while scrolling down the page. Luckily we’re well beyond that today.
Fortunately, there are some free apps out there that will turn your tablet into a teleprompter. I use “Prompster” for iOS. Android users can check out “A Prompter for Android.” It has the same basic functionality as the free iOS apps.
You can write out scripts directly on your tablet or import your text directly from various document formats. If you get the paid version of the app, you can also record video and audio directly in the app while using the teleprompter. The free version should be plenty to get you practicing your speech when paired with your phone’s other apps.
Technology can be a huge asset in helping you become a better public speaker. The key is practicing and getting comfortable with your material. It’s easy now with mobile devices!
If you have any apps or tech tricks that you use to help you become a better speaker, please share them with us below in the comments.