Years ago as an actress filming a shampoo commercial, the director yelled, “Cut!” and then he said to me: “Alexa, can you please stop licking your lips?”
Embarrassed, I became suddenly super self-conscious of how I hold my mouth on camera. (And all I could think about was what I was doing with my lips!)
When you watch a video of yourself – you might find that you blink a ton on camera, you move your hands awkwardly, you do a weird thing with your eyebrow, or you have an odd pattern of “ums” and “ahs.”
Maybe you frown more than you want, or you have a funny habit of tucking your hair behind your ear constantly, or you’re totally annoyed listening to yourself because you raise your pitch at the end of most sentences. (Hint: up-speak is an unappealing trend that makes you always sound like you’re asking a question, and it will definitely detract from a powerful and confident message.)
Whatever it is – take a deep breath. Stop sitting there feeling bad about yourself, you’re not “bad” at being on camera. Now you just have the GIFT of awareness around one of your patterns! Start by noticing without judgment: “Oh, that’s interesting, I notice I do that!”
And then if you’d like to change it, one: keep practicing, because the more you practice speaking on camera, the more comfortable you’ll be. And two: focus on connecting with the person that you’re imagining on the other side of the lens, really sharing your message and knowing your material. That’s actually more important than overcoming a funny habit that you find distracting.
The thing is, you need to be kind to yourself about your on-camera skills, and practice blinking less (or whatever it is that you’d like to do less) – but *not* because you’re judging yourself and need to be perfect on camera.
Practice getting past the habit so you can focus on getting your message across. When you’re focused on making sure the audience really hears what you have to say or share, you’ll find ways to express yourself that are more natural, and that are truly in service of your actual message.
All you have to do is recognize, adjust, and then develop new habits. That’s it – I know you can do it! Being natural on camera is all about practice.