People who teach golf, skiing, and tennis have known for years that nothing speeds the learning process like showing someone a tape of themselves trying to perform a test of skills. The subjects of these revealing videos study every move and every nuance with uncommon attentiveness, because they are, after all, watching themselves—and they don’t always like what they see.
The same is true for the role of the camera in helping people (1) see themselves as others see them, (2) spot distracting body movements or gestures, (3) practice for speaking assignments, (4) perfect key elements like pauses and eye contact, and (5) monitor their own progress and improvement as they advance through a training program to develop their own speaking styles.
Even if you have never had even a single minute of professional help or speaker training of any kind, regular use of a camcorder setup with a tripod and TV monitor in your own home or in your office will help make you a more effective talker. The reason is that most people are acutely sensitive to whatever shortcomings may show up on tape. Once you identify the offending elements, it is easy enough to practice until they go away. It is important, though, that you don’t see a swan as an ugly duckling and then proceed to kill the swan. So I suggest that if you undertake to practice with a camcorder, you also undertake to apply the principles you learn in a good presentation book. If you don’t have a camcorder, and can’t afford one, you can practice with a mirror to achieve the same objective.
You may also wish to identify with your favorite speakers in government, business, etc, etc… If you think it can help, borrow whatever attributes you see in them to perfect your own speaking game.
However, if you don’t trust yourself to get it right (because you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be looking for and if you are really serious, you can always hire/get someone to help you..
All of us, like it or not, will eventually see our reputations, careers, and even our social lives determined to some degree by how well we speak. Are we forgettable—or do people remember us and act on what we say? Are we boring—or do we spark interest and get people involved? Do we hide our intelligence and potential by the way we speak—or reveal ourselves in the best possible light?
Leaders lead with their words. If you are a leader or aspiring to be one then investing in communication skill training is an abundantly rewarding investment that makes good sense. For people will judge you —fairly or unfairly—on how you present yourself face-to-face in countless moments of human and business interaction.
Your own words will likely shape your lot in life and business.