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How to be natural on video

How To Be Natural On VideoLearning how to be natural on video can vastly improve your blogging.

I’ve outlined many reasons why video is so important for bloggers.

Why Video is so Important for BloggersWhen you review them, you will see why you really need to get over the jitters about facing the camera.

It can really be the difference between you being just another blogger, or becoming a leader and authority in your niche.

But I understand, it’s easier said than done, right?

It’s especially awkward to try to be natural on video when all you can think about is what you look and sound like.

The good news is that it’s not nearly as big a hurdle to clear as you might think it is.

So let’s look at what it takes to be natural on video.

How to be natural on video

Here’s the first thing you need to know about being natural on video.

You won’t be.

I’m still not.

And I’ve probably done well over a thousand of them.

In fact, even trained actors struggle to be natural every time they get in front of the camera.

Now, it may be true that some people just never feel nervous leading up to a camera shoot.

But I’ve never met anyone who didn’t.

How do you look?

Everybody worries about how they look.

I know you want your hair to be just right.

What about your clothes?

What color should you wear?

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Something that makes you look like a business person, or the next door neighbor?

So, here’s the thing about looking natural on video.

You don’t want to look like you have a team of makeup artists and costume designers.

You’re supposed to be looking natural, right?

So stop worrying so much about fine-tuning your look.

Just use some basic, common sense guidelines like you would if you were going to meet a friend for coffee.

You’d probably wear something that accentuates your best features.

So you look good, but not like a model.

You don’t need to be a model… people only feel guarded when confronted with a model.

Just be a friend, a girl or guy next door, know what I mean?

Acting natural

Let’s face it.

No matter how natural you want to seem, there is always some amount of “acting” when you are facing a camera.

So the first thing to do, is forget about the camera.

I know you can’t really do that, but the trick is… do it so often that you just don’t think about it that much.

Just get in front of the camera and get started today.

This is why I love things like a “video challenge.”

Of course, you can also just practice in front of the mirror.

Practice is the best way to start getting comfortable.

How to make the first video for your blog

So if you practice in front of your mirror, that’s fine.

But at some time you need to get in front of the camera.

So try doing a “video challenge” where you commit to doing something like one video a day for 30 or 60 days.

By the time you’ve done that, you will be acting pretty natural when facing the camera.

Just be yourself

The best thing to do to be natural on video is to “be yourself.”

That means, you should do the things that you would normally do.

For instance, when you talk to a friend, you probably use your hands in a specific way to communicate.

Or you might give a certain look or laugh, or talk fast, or slow, or whatever it is that is uniquely you.

Make sure to do those same things when you are on video.

Use your hands for expression, like you always do.

Talk like you are facing your friend, not a camera lens.

Take natural breaks in your speech… don’t just keep talking non-stop.

Make mistakes, correct yourself, keep going – that’s natural in conversation, but people try to avoid it in “presentations.”

Stick to your normal cadence of speech, body posture, and anything else that defines you.

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Don’t think of your video as a presentation.

Think of it as a conversation with a friend.

So, relax, and just be yourself.

Don’t ramble

People often think they should just get in front of the camera and start rambling on and on about something.

They feel like as long as they keep talking, they’re looking “natural.”

But think of it.

You don’t usually talk that way, do you?

If a friend asks “how did you like the movie?”… you probably have a little outline in your mind.

“Well, I like it because of these 2 things.  But this other thing annoyed me.”

So, to be natural on video, I suggest you follow an outline, cheatsheet or a list of “talking points.”

To keep your thoughts flowing naturally, you could use slides with Keynote or Powerpoint.

That keeps you organized instead of randomly talking without clear direction.

Now, you don’t have to do a “presentation” with your notes or slides.

Just use them to look at while you talk “to the camera.”

Nobody needs to see your cheat sheets or slides.

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But when they’re on your computer screen, you can see them or even read them, and it looks like you’re looking at the camera.

That’s because the camera is right on your computer, so as you look at your notes, it looks like you’re just looking into the camera.

Of course, it takes a bit of practice to have your eyes flow easily back and forth between your notes, and the actual camera.

But that’s where practice comes in!

Alternatives to presentation slides can be just simple word documents that you can even set up like slides, one document after another.

I think the simplest thing is to just have your notes on a Google doc.

Scroll as you speak.

What could look more natural?

Practice Runs

Dry “runs” or video “takes” are essential.

You won’t look natural on video until you get used to being front of the camera.

There are many ways to use video on your blog, but they all require practice.

How To Easily Use Video With Your Blog

Do many throw away “runs” or “takes.”

I talked about doing a video challenge.

This is the perfect time to put that strategy into motion.

When you write a great novel, your trash-can should be filled with crumpled up papers.

Same with video.

Don’t try to be perfect when you practice.

Try to be natural.

Create many “discards” or crumpled up papers for your “trash-can.”

Sure, they’re just throw-aways.

But review them carefully to learn subtle little things in your speech, mannerisms or look that will help you improve steadily with each practice run.

You are live!

When you first push that “Live” button, you will be nervous.

You will feel anything but natural.

So sure, start off with just some rambling about anything.

Talk about the weather, your shoes, a movie you saw.

It doesn’t matter.

You don’t want to ramble when you do your real videos, but when you’re getting started, it can help you just get used to being in front of the camera.

Remember, these are just practice runs that will help you start feeling natural on video.

Once you get the idea, and start settling into a look and feel that is “you”… start doing better videos.

Grab your notes and start sharing topics and information that will be interesting and valuable to your blog visitors.

Now you’re putting video to good use on your blog.

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Have fun.

Be conversational.

Just be natural!

How to be natural on video

I always have to say this, too…

Facebook Live helps you to be natural on video.

That’s because it is live video instead of recorded.

Now, you might think it’s more difficult to go live on Facebook because you can’t redo it.

With a recorded video, you can keep re-shooting until you get it “right.”

But with Facebook Live, the video shoot is immediate, so you get used to talking more conversationally on camera.

That’s a great, and very fast way to learn to be natural on video.

How To Go Live on Facebook

Do you get the trembles just thinking of going live on video?

Are you camera shy?

Well, don’t let it hurt your blogging efforts.

Now that you know “how to be natural on video,” I hope you’re ready to put it into practice.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

-Donna

PS: I’d also love to have you share this article on your social sites.

Thanks!

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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35 Responses to How to be natural on video

  1. Ash
    Twitter:
    July 21, 2019 at 9:56 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    I quelled my own fears when I started out creating content for my Youtube channel (and that already feels incredibly odd since I am not used to the video format) — along with the full squad of strings of self-doubt (what will people think?).

    I still go ahead and do videos (but I still don’t show up on videos yet — most of them are screencasts).

    As for going live, I am scared shitless 🙂 How do I go about doing live when I am not sure if my audience is on Facebook (for instance) and that most people on my Facebook page are usually my friends (who have nothing to do with what I do?).

    Following your post now (which seems to be just the kick in the pants I need), I’ll be experimenting with:

    1. Showing myself on Video (for my channel videos)
    2. Adding an intro video or two for my courses.

    But, I need to know if it’s alright to go live (On FB or Youtube?). What do you think?
    Ash recently posted..Linkiro Review: Use Social Media For ResultsMy Profile

  2. Vishwajeet Kumar
    Twitter:
    July 6, 2019 at 10:35 pm #

    Hi, Donna,

    Great and very informative post. Videos are playing a great role to interact with your users and convey your message directly to them. Many bloggers including me are shy and nervous when it comes to doing the live videos. However, I think I can overcome it and make my very first video. Thanks for writing this helpful post.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Vishwajeet
    Vishwajeet Kumar recently posted..Why Should Small Business Owners have to Look Forward to Influencer Marketing?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Vishwajeet,

      Here’s a little tip if you are shy…. If you have something like “Screenflow” or any other video recorded app, then do it on there first. This way if you make mistakes, you can do them over or edit it. When you have done it, post it on social media or on your blog. Even your Email list! When you are comfortable with it, then do your first live.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  3. Mozie July 4, 2019 at 7:19 am #

    Hi Donna

    It’s like you wrote this post for me! lol

    I’m extremely shy for video. Even if I’m alone in my office trying to create them, I make so many mistakes trying to say what I need to say and then feel like starting over.

    Your tips are really good. I’m inspired to start making videos that teaches my audience things they need to learn.

    Even if I don’t post it or share it, it’s practice and i think you’re right, I thinking too much and it makes me nervous.

    I need to just practice doing it until it comes naturally.

    I’ll follow your blog. i’m really impressed by the practical advice you give.

    Mozie

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 9:39 am #

      Hi Mozie,

      When we are thinking to much it makes us self conscious and therefore nervous. I would say practice doing videos with something like screenflow whereby you can do a video and edit it if you like and then post it on social sites or on your blog. That way you know you can do things over and it is not live. When your confidence level is up, then go for that live video.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  4. Emenike Emmanuel
    Twitter:
    July 3, 2019 at 9:34 pm #

    What has worked for me most is just being myself.

    It’s the best way to boost your confidence level.

    Thanks for sharing, Donna.

    Emenike
    Emenike Emmanuel recently posted..What to Look for in a Full Digital Marketing AgencyMy Profile

  5. Pedro
    Twitter:
    July 1, 2019 at 6:04 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for another illuminating article.
    Videos and probably vlogging is the future. But it’s so difficult to be natural in front of the cameras.
    You don’t show any signs of nerves in any of your videos. You’re as natural as can be!!!
    And the fact that you say it doesn’t come natural to you, even after 1000 or so video shoots, gives me hope 😎
    Best regards,

    Pedro

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 9:33 am #

      Hi Pedro,

      Vlogging is the future for sure. Being nervous before that countdown of doing a live video still gives me butterflies in my stomach, but I know that once I start talking, there is no stopping me. So much so, that I have to look at the clock so I don’t spend too much time on my video. People like things fast and simple, so giving a message that way will serve them so much better.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  6. Erika Mohssen-Beyk
    Twitter:
    July 1, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    you give great advice like always. Being natural is good, but maybe for girls not always easy because they want to look beautiful 🙂

    I am not into videos, but I did some in the past and had a bit difficulty, not because of looking natural, more because of the language, I still have difficulties to catch the right words in the right language. But thanks to my young friend Rahul Sihmar, I did some, where I had no other choice, He did catch me in situations, like in the middle of the night when I was about to sleep and said, “Now we go live” 🙂 Ad it was ok the people liked it. It may be different to do plan it and bring a message over. But I think your advice here will help.
    Thank you
    Erika

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 9:26 am #

      Hi Erika,

      Good to know you liked the advice here. And yes, being natural for a woman is quite difficult because we start stressing about our hair and what we look like. I had to get over that one quickly. It took too long fixing my hair, putting on make up and getting the right jewelry to show up with my outfit. That took more time than the video itself. Now, after a long time, I just take my camera and go.

      I do teach people how to master a Facebook live without stressing. Sometimes one needs to be coached or have a friend like yours that will help out.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  7. Aadarsh Roy
    Twitter:
    July 1, 2019 at 7:18 am #

    Hi Donna Merrill,

    Great post with great tips to be natural on video. I truly appreciate the tips that you have listed out. Many people find difficult to be natural on video, whereas looking natural on videos help to connect better with the audience. Its true that videos are important for bloggers and it’s really important to be natural on video. Just be yourself is one of an easy and best way to be natural on video. Most of the time people are generally worried about their looks, clothes and hairs while on a video which also make them quite nervous. Being natural on video also enhances the self confidence up-to some limit.

    Really helpful post, as this post will help many people to stay natural on video.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Aadarsh Roy recently posted.. Why Managed Cloud Hosting Solutions Are Gaining Popularity

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Aadarsh,

      Indeed looking natural on videos does help to connect so much better with an audience. Even if we stumble, people understand and even find it interesting that we are not so “polished.”

      People at first will be preoccupied with how they look and that will make them so nervous. But after a while, doing videos consistently, we become more laid back and don’t fuss over those things. Instead we get excited to relay a message to our audience that they will find helpful.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  8. Cristofer Odqvist July 1, 2019 at 6:00 am #

    Thanks, Donna!

    It’s still on my to-do list to make those first videos. I’m getting comfortable doing audio recording of my voice, having been a guest on a few podcasts and making some screencasts but looking natural is a different game.

    I like the part about pretending that you’re talking to a friend instead of the camera. I’ve heard the same advice about writing and it’s a good one!

    Thanks,
    Cristofer

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 9:01 am #

      Hi Cristofer,

      If you are getting comfortable doing audio recordings, you will get comfortable doing videos. Not at first. It is something that we need to do a few times before we can feel natural in front of that camera, but pretending you are talking to a friend works pretty well in the beginning.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  9. Paul Simiyu June 30, 2019 at 3:37 pm #

    I always have found it difficult to be natural on the video something I could tell when I watch the video over the second time. I hope to try these out as I find Facebook live to be at my disposal on trying to act natural even while talking. Thanks for the Article.

    Paul Simiyu recently posted.. Guide On How To Create An Effective Ecommerce Website For Your Business

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 8:59 am #

      Hi Paul,

      Being natural is not easy when we are first starting to do videos. We fumble over words, loose track of what we are saying all because we are self conscious. But as with anything we do, the more we video, the better we get at it.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  10. Moss Clement
    Twitter:
    June 28, 2019 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Donna

    Looking natural in videos helps you to connect well with your audience and viewers, as well as present you as an expert in the game. However, being yourself and natural is not easy. I remember doing a video for a client. I was worried about how I look in the video that I had to call my twin brother to come sit up for me. Laughsss, yes, I did. Hence, your tips are exceptionally useful.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Moss Clement recently posted.. How to Consistently Brainstorm Blog Topic Ideas In 5 Simple Steps

  11. Mozie June 28, 2019 at 9:10 am #

    Thanks for the article Donna. Struggle so hard with video. My audience wants tutorials on things they need to do to get started with building their businesses, but I’m so shy with video. I make silly mistakes while I’m trying to read my scripts and want to start over. I know I have to practice at it to build confidence. But I struggle like i’m doing a presentation in-front of millions! Lol I haven’t really tried doing practise runs infront of my wife though, that might be a good idea so by the time I get to recording, I know the script off by heart.

    Mozie recently posted.. How to Use PLR Articles Effectively for Business Growth

  12. Gaurav Kumar
    Twitter:
    June 28, 2019 at 12:07 am #

    It is not easy to be natural or neutral on videos. Most of the times videos clearly shows that people are still delivering their own thoughts rather than just discussing about the products or situation.

    It is always wise to try to be natural to maximize the impact.
    Gaurav Kumar recently posted..4 Best Ways to Win a Client’s Trust in Your BusinessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 8:38 am #

      Hi Gaurav,

      It sure is wise to be as natural as we can. Sometimes people get a little nervous and read from a script. It shows. But giving some good information on a video …. even a small one that can help others, will get people to respond.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  13. Zaib Baloch June 27, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    HI Donna,

    Thanks for sharing. Actually, this week, I’m going to make my first video related to WPForms. I’m super excited! :). I will keep these suggestions in mind while creating a video.

    Regards,
    Zaib Baloch

  14. Marquita Herald
    Twitter:
    June 27, 2019 at 2:53 pm #

    Great advice Donna – as always. I especially like your points about not rambling and practicing, and I wholeheartedly agree with Ryan, you are a natural! I must admit I have a hot button when it comes to DIY videos – of the millions of videos posted online I’m willing to bet 3/4 of them start with “Hey guys!” … makes me crazy! Beyond that, it really does help to put a face to the business. Thanks for the tips, happy to share!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..How to Break the Habit of OverthinkingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2019 at 2:41 pm #

      Hi Marquita,

      Whatever we do that is new to us, we have to do a bit of practicing. When it comes to videos, there are so many issues we need to get over so we need to do some practice ones to start feeling comfortable in front of that camera.

      It sure does help putting a face on our business.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  15. Sam Adeyinka
    Twitter:
    June 27, 2019 at 9:52 am #

    Hey, Donna! Been ages since I last visited this blog. 🙂

    I guess it’s because I have been off and on… However, I am back and better now!

    you just have to give me some heads up by visiting my blog and leaving me your two cents on my recent blog post on SEO.

    Speaking of, I have been planning my next big move into video marketing, and I have gotten my tripod, will soon get my mic, and before you know it I will hit the road.

    Yes, I agree with each of your points.

    You know as an actor I sometimes find it very hard to be natural.

    But these days, I really don’t give a hoot anymore, so long I have my outline in my head or right in front of me somewhere in my recording space, I just fire away.

    I have not really watched any of your videos, but for Ryan to think you are great, then you truly are great. 🙂

    Do have a lovely day over there ma’am!

    Sam

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      July 8, 2019 at 8:31 am #

      Hi Sam,

      Welcome back!
      Seems like you are ready to get going with your video marketing. You don’t have to have all your equipment in check….you can always start with just your phone to get used to it.

      You just stand in front of the camera and start talking. The part of being natural will be there..I promise lol. Keep it up and it is so nice to see you again,

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  16. Ryan K Biddulph
    Twitter:
    June 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm #

    You look like a natural on video to me Donna. Rocking advice my friend. Doing more videos helps you become more calm on video. I remember suffering shortness of breath as a video newbie eons ago. Now I feel more calm, cool and collected, like I am chatting with friends…..because I am. Keep doing videos guys. Rocks for having fun and connecting with people.

    Ryan

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted.. When Is the Last Time You Did This to Make Money through Blogging?

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2019 at 2:39 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      I may look like a natural but it is when I can speak to people without a teleprompter or too many notes. I do have a little cheat sheet I write down next to me when doing a live video but somehow I never look at it. If I write things down and then start to talk I seem to remember all those points, but it is a nice security blanket lol.

      Other than that, I do feel like I’m talk’n to my friends and whoever shows up makes me happy.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  17. Lisa Sicard
    Twitter:
    June 25, 2019 at 3:12 pm #

    Hi Donna, LOVE This one! I think it takes practice. I was so nervous when I started doing video’s – you know! I want to do a Facebook Watch Party soon and go LIVE on Thursdays vs. my pre-recorded ones. Maybe this Thursday will be it!
    I agree – you don’t want to look so made up that you are NOT yourself, plus being comfortable is important. I try not to fuse over that too much. I found myself on windy days not liking how my hair got all messed up but sometimes you have to roll with it. I’ve done up to 7 takes but usually can do them in 3 now. I used a few funny ones on Twitter to share too.
    Thanks for the tips and tricks here Donna, they are very good and I’ll be sharing with clients who are still afraid to go on camera 🙂 Have a great day.
    Lisa Sicard recently posted..How to Build Resilience in Order to Overcome Business-related AdversityMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2019 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      I sure do remember how nervous you were when you started doing videos. Hey girl, I was too at first. I still get butterflies in my stomach as the camera goes 3..2..1..live but we do have to roll with it. Sometimes I notice my hair is a mess to but what the heck….when on camera we cannot let these things bother us.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to make the first video for your blogMy Profile

  18. Aakash Patel
    Twitter:
    June 25, 2019 at 11:59 am #

    HI Donna,

    Thanks for sharing. Actually, this week, I’m going to make my first video related to WPForms. I’m super excited! :). I will keep these suggestions in mind while creating a video.

    Regards,
    Aakash

    Aakash Patel recently posted.. Why You Should Focus On Page Load Speed in 2019

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