Why is recording the worst-best public speaking training tool

Recording your presentation and watching it is one of the best training procedures. The idea of rehearsing in front of a mirror is completely outdated, and, honestly, it was never a good idea. When you are performing, you should focus exclusively on the performance. You can’t do this while looking at a mirror, evaluating how you look while you’re talking.

Why is recording such a great idea?

A video camera is one of the best technologies for public speaking training. You can focus on giving your speech the best you can. The camera raises your anxiety levels, pushing them closer to the real deal. Later, you can watch the video and see how you did.

Reviewing video has various advantages in your training and rehearsing. It gives some distance to evaluate your performance – you are watching yourself as a third party. This is important to keep some emotions under control and be as objective as possible.

You can watch it over and over again. While doing that, you can take notes and analyze the tiniest detail to prepare for your next try, AKA your next take. You can watch those critical 2 minutes as much as you want. It is always there for you, whenever you want or need it.

It is a great training tool, and it gives you powerful information to develop and improve your performance. If… you overcome some issues.

That’s… me?

Most people hate to watch themselves in a video, and, even more, they hate their own voice.

This is normal since you are being confronted with yourself. You are not comfortable. You’ll be looking for flaws, and suddenly becoming very self-conscious about everything. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid it – it’s right there, in front of your eyes.

While this is a bigger issue for those who have low self-esteem, the truth is that even a person with a healthy amount of self-love can be uncomfortable. Especially where the voice is concerned. What you’re hearing there, is not what you usually hear. We usually don’t hear the sound of our voice. The sound usually comes from the inside and resonates in a completely different way.

When you are listening to a recording, the sound is conducted through the air instead of vibrating inside your body. Most people get surprised (or worst) when they hear themselves for the first time. It is usually followed by a “Do I really sound like that?” because you had no idea.

The same principle happens with the image. You are used to seeing yourself in the mirror. However, it is not your real image. It is inverted, like anything you see through a mirror. This may not look that important, but remember that we are not exactly symmetrical. This way, the person in front of you is slightly different from the one you are used to.

These are very basic explanations from some lot more complicated cognitive and emotional processes, but it is enough to get to our point here: the first step is to get used to… yourself!

Watch, watch, and watch again!

No magic potion or trick will make you love what you see instantaneously. There is no other way but to watch yourself on camera until you get used to it. Some studies talk about an average of 30 views until a person thinks it is bearable to watch themselves!

You need to watch the videos as many times as possible. Once you’re more used to doing it, you can focus your attention on the things that matter instead of your hair, nose, or the sound of your voice.

This is the moment when the real work begins. You need to focus on your performance and analyze it to find the points you need to improve. To make it easier for you, you focus on one part at a time. For example, you can start with your gross motor movement, then your hands, then your facial expressions. Concentrating on one thing at a time is usually helpful in keeping some objectivity. Don’t forget that you are allowed to be happy when something works!

Recording with Virtual Orator

Recording and watching yourself is of such great importance that we couldn’t ignore it. You have various possibilities of recording modes to increase the potential of your training.

You can record yourself or your audience. According to your needs, you can also record both simultaneously, having a greater focus on one or the other. Why are these nuances important? Let’s see it.

We already talked about how recording and watching yourself can be tough. So that’s one of the reasons why with the Virtual orator, you can record the audience.

Each of us is in different stages of fear and acceptance of ourselves, which is okay. If you’re not ready to look at yourself yet, how about looking at your audience? You’ll be listening to your voice and observing the room. You have an idea of how you talk, tone, and enthusiasm without looking at yourself. This compartmentalization is highly beneficial when you’re too critical about your performance – focus on one thing at a time. First voice, volume and tone, and later the body language.

Also, you can see your whole face in the recording due to the VR headset. How is this helpful? Well, people say that the eyes are the mirror of the soul. If you can’t see them, you can’t see your fear. It can also help you to avoid being overcritical of your performance.

Another reason is to force yourself to look at the audience. We are often so scared that we barely look at them and also interpret their body language as negative. “They hate this.” Or “They think I’m boring.” It could surprise you, how your perspective changes when you observe your audience without trying to remember what to say at the same time. You’ll conclude that they weren’t as critical or bored as you thought during the session.

The most hated training tool

Record and watch yourself is very difficult for most of us. We can’t stand looking at ourselves, without looking for flaws. Every single detail can become an overwhelming feeling of failure. Even people that are on camera every day have, often a difficult time watching themselves.

Nonetheless, it is still the most effective way of evaluating your performance. Also, believe it or not, it makes you confident. Once you find your video performance acceptable, you are ready!

Recording and watching yourself is the worst public speaking training tool because you’ll probably hate it, but it is the best because it is so effective!

Cátia is a psychologist who is passionate about helping children develop and train social skills.


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