Using a camera to give feedback on presentations
By Jenni Metcalfe
Some 25 years ago while working at CSIRO I was videoed giving a presentation.
When I looked back at the video I found, to my dismay, that I had been kicking the lectern with my left leg throughout the talk. I had been completely oblivious to this!
However, since that video I don’t think I have ever been guilty of making the same mistake, and that’s the power of using a camera to give people feedback on their presentations.
We use a video camera throughout our Presenting Science workshops for two reasons.
Firstly, like for me, when people see their own mannerisms or nervous habits, they are much more likely to be conscious of these habits and can then work to get rid of them.
Nerves can be good for speakers – they give a sense of energy to the audience – but speakers who are obviously nervous can make an audience feel uncomfortable. Video can reveal those signs of nerves which speakers can then work on to rid themselves of.
Typical habits we see from workshop participants are:
- moving their feet a lot up the front (what we call the ‘scientist two-step’)
- rubbing hands together (the ‘Lady Macbeth’)
- standing uneasily (with one or both hands on hips – ‘the teapot’ or ‘double teapot’)
- using too many ‘ums’
- speaking too fast
- repeating a word again and again (e.g. ‘basically’).
The second benefit of using a video camera in presentations is that, despite some signs of nerves, most people look better in front of an audience than they ever thought.
This can give our participants a level of confidence which they can build on, to become even better at standing in front of a live audience and presenting.
Media skills training in China. Copyright: Econnect Communication