In a previous blog post about rehearsing your presentation, I wrote about the importance of doing a video rehearsal. I talked about how hard it is to actually do this and then watch it. As a technical presenter, I want to believe that I know my presentation so well that rehearsal is not needed. Recently however, I’ve swallowed my pride a bit and have done this as part of my preparation. Today I will go into more detail about what to do with the video rehearsal once you’ve recorded it.
I suggest you watch your video 3 different times. That might seem like a lot for just one video but there is a method to my madness. Watch them in this order:
I realize I said that you should watch the video 3 times, but for the first time I don’t want you to watch it at all! Let’s face it, you probably don’t want to watch it anyway! What I want you to do is just listen to what you are saying. Close your eyes or turn your back to the screen. Can you easily follow the presentation? Does it make sense? Since you can’t see the slides you’re presenting, does the message flow well?
Doing this helps you realize that your message may not be crisp and clear. As a technical presenter, this is when I find out whether my message makes sense. While I still do the second step, I end up many times making changes after this first viewing.
Yes, now reverse the process! This time watch your presentation but have the sound off. I want you to watch your body language and movements. Are you pacing while you’re speaking or are you moving with a purpose? Are you making eye contact with your imaginary audience or are you looking around? How does your face look? Are you smiling or do you look too serious? Are your hand gestures different or do you have one annoying gesture that you use over and over again?
Your physical appearance is a key part of your presentation. You may be surprised how you look to an audience when you watch your video rehearsal this way.
This is when you put it all together. Watch and listen as though you were sitting in the audience as an attendee. You may find out that the words you use don’t match your physical movements or vice versa. This 3rd viewing will be the one where you find things that don’t match up. This is the one where I suggest you do the fine-tuning to your presentation.
If you do these 3 things with your video rehearsal, I promise you that your presentations will be much more easily understood and successful.