Watch It

Watch ItJim Catlin is a friend of mine and an excellent presenter. He recently commented on one of my posts that he regularly watches himself on tape to refine his skills. This is a habit that every person wanting to excel as a presenter should adopt.

Unless you’re a pure, unrepentant narcissist watching yourself on video is uncomfortable. It does take some getting used to. From the sound of your recorded voice to obsessing over your appearance there are any number of reasons not to watch yourself on tape. But if you want to improve your skills you must watch. All the skills I’ve discussed in previous posts will be sharpened much more quickly with video feedback. There are other methods, like asking for audience evaluations at the end of every presentation (or at least at the end of presentations where appropriate). At a minimum you should ask for an evaluation from the people who hired you to speak. Another method is to ask trusted friends to offer critiques.

A good friend of mine, Mark Schulz, is Lead Pastor of the church I attend. As part of his preparation for a sermon he presents the whole thing in front of at least one colleague. He then gets feedback on content and delivery. But even that level of scrutiny is second hand information. When you watch yourself on video you are seeing you. You can watch hand gestures, facial expressions, repetitive or distracting motions, verbal tics and more.

If you truly desire to improve your skills as a presenter record yourself in practice and in front of live audiences. Once you have the recording…watch it.

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