Today we’re going to look at a technique that will accelerate your speaking ability. If you make it a point to do this every time you give a presentation, you will find yourself opening doors and fixing issues immediately. Its so simple that anyone can do it. It is to record yourself. Record every single presentation you make, from the 30 second toast to the 10 minute talk to the 60 minute keynote.
Why record yourself? Because you have the ability to listen to yourself, watch your movements and see yourself from the point of view of the members of the audience. Imagine if you could be in your audience seeing yourself, you could potentially get inside the minds of your audience since if you can see a problem, your audience might see it too.
Now most people hate to hear themselves speak. I’m no exception. But I love Darren Lacroix‘s response; “Too bad, we had to listen to you so why are you so special! You should be duct taped to a chair and forced to listen!”
If you were audio recording yourself and are listening to it later, you might hear yourself saying “um” too much. Or you might be using slang more often than you care to use.
If you were video recording yourself, you might see yourself pacing too much. Maybe swaying from side to side too much. Maybe facing only 1 side of the room instead of the other and so on.
When I give a speech, I record both audio and video. I video record so I can watch my physical movements for distractions such as waving my hands too much or the like. I audio record so that I can listen for words that can also prove distracting. I once knew someone at work who used to use the word “um” so often that I was surprised he was able to carry on a conversation. I never had the heart to tell him but if ever placed a recording device next to himself, he would have easily caught that one.
In one of my earliest video recordings, I found that I was lecturing as opposed to being more interactive with the audience and not giving members an opportunity to discuss.
In another recording, I found that I wasn’t bringing the energy and excitement (it was supposed to be a motivational speech) that I was supposed to and that speech came off dull.
In another speech, I found that I ended a lot earlier than I was expecting and couldn’t understand why? I thought that maybe I spoke too fast but when I reviewed the recording, I found that I had skipped an entire section of my speech. So that explained why I missed the mark on that one.
So lets look at the equipment needed to record yourself. I use an Olympus digital audio recorder and a battery powered microphone. The digital recorder because it saves my recording as files that I can upload to my computer. I could potentially take my recordings, edit them and create a CD out of them to sell. But if you want to go that route, you’ll want to invest in a more expensive recorder like the Olympus one I purchased. But if you just want to get started recording today, your smartphone has a recording feature you could try out.
I use a battery powered microphone because I’ve found that even the slightest rustling of papers or tapping of the surface that I place the audio recorder on results in a loud banging noise in the recorder. Now I plug in the microphone (its a clip on so it clips onty my tie) and the battery power is needed for noise reduction and to enhance the quality.
The equipment I use for video recording is a standard video camera and a tripod. Tripods are very useful for placing your video camera anywhere in the room at a proper angle. I’ve seen little tiny “tripods” used but the video comes out crooked. So you’ll want to invest in a real one. I’ve picked on up on sale for only $20 so keep an eye out for sales.
Unfortunately, my video camera isn’t the greatest quality which is also why I audio record because there are times where I give a speech is such low light that the video camera can’t even pick up the image. So I end up putting the camera away.
So there you have it, make it a point next time you speak to record yourself and listen to it later. I guarantee you’ll be better for it!
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