Be Your Authentic Self When Speaking on an Internal Employee Video

Be Your Authentic Self

Your personal appearance, advance preparation and strong talking points are key when you’re delivering a presentation or meeting with a reporter.

These things are just as important when you’re giving a presentation in an internal video to your company’s employees. The key is to be authentic. Believe it or not, this is not as easy as it sounds.

If you’re new to presenting, be your authentic self and not an imitation of someone you happen to admire as a speaker. You want employees to believe in you and what you have to say. Also, remember that many people who will see the video already know you and you don’t want them to say, “what happened to Bill? That’s not the same guy I had lunch with yesterday!”

Craft Your Key Messages

As in any presentation or media interview, you need to craft your messages carefully. Suppose you’re in human resources and announcing the company’s new reduced benefits plan.

You don’t want to come across as the “bad guy” by delivering a stilted speech that you’re obviously reading from a teleprompter. Speak to the producer in advance and ask for her thoughts about how to build the story with props in a setting that is friendly and inviting. Work with an internal coach, or external trainer, to polish your presentation style.

Ask several trusted colleagues in your organization for feedback on your key messages. As insiders, they understand the culture and can help you develop your content so that you get the desired response from your audience.

Avoid becoming a “talking head” delivering bad news. The producer will help you with how to move or sit. We’ve found with our clients that sitting on the side of a desk comes across as more friendly and approachable.

If you’re working with a trainer, ask a colleague (or the producer) to attend and take notes as you’re practicing your presentation. At first you might be more comfortable reading from a script.

Become familiar with the script but don’t memorize it. During the videotaping have someone off camera – it could be the producer, the trainer or someone else from your department – ask you questions that you can answer covering the points you want to make. Choose the questions in advance so you know what to expect and are prepared.

The off-camera voice won’t be heard on video, but this technique will help you sound more conversational. Use gestures, even if your hands are not shown on camera, because they add energy, passion and confidence to your voice.

Before Taping

Confer with the producer about what the background will look like so your wardrobe will work on the screen. Take photos of your outfits on your smart phone and send them to the producer in advance.

Bring a second outfit

Always bring a second jacket or suit to the taping. The first may not be telegenic or blend well with the background. Or, your jacket may not lay flat. Let the producer decide which outfit works best with the lighting.

If possible, have a makeup person at the taping. Or, if you do your own makeup, apply face powder to remove the shine from your face. This applies to both women and men.

Search YouTube for videos demonstrating how to apply makeup and borrow the tips that you like best. Your hair should be shiny clean and, for women, brushed back off the face. Women should avoid chunky jewelry.

Search TED videos and observe how relaxed and informal the speakers are. That’s because they practiced and rehearsed in front of TED coaches. But it takes a lot of work and preparation to make it seem that you’re having a conversation with your audience and not delivering a speech.

A great thing to do is to videotape yourself. If you don’t have access to a video camera, use your smart phone. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll learn just from seeing yourself objectively in the third person.

Finally, always leave more time for the taping session than you think you need. You’ll want to do a couple of run-throughs first and iron out any kinks in your delivery.

After all, your personal reputation is on the line. So don’t try to wing it and hope for the best. Study and prepare just as hard as you would if you were taking a test and trying to score an A with your fellow employees.

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The Newman Group is a recognized leader in guiding business professionals, celebrities and authors to improve their communications skills in presentations and media interviews.

Our highly skilled and experienced professionals have the expertise in media and presentation training to meet any business situation — from helping an executive to prepare for the challenge of talking to a reporter during a business crisis to presenting a group of investors during an IPO or keeping a celebrity spokesperson on point.