Have you ever wanted to know the secret to making it in Hollywood, mastering public speaking, or commanding a remote audience? Well, here it is: the people who are successful know how to effectively relay body language on video.
But improving your body language video skills is so much more than sitting up straight and smiling. For anyone who wants to exude confidence when they turn on their camera, there are plenty of body language tips you can follow to instantly improve your skills — even if you haven’t won an Oscar (yet)!
Body language tips for video
Over the past couple of years, video has made its way into our everyday lives. From collaborating on video with your teams, presenting in virtual meetings, or even speaking at a virtual event, learning how to improve your body language video skills will be useful for years to come.
Not only does this improve the quality of your work, but it can also open doors to new revenue streams, better networking opportunities, and an increased sense of self-esteem.
Here are some actionable tips to improve your video presence:
1. Pretend the camera is your work bestie
You’re not the only one who feels strange talking into a camera when you’re in a room by yourself. Whether you’re filming a video for subscribers or speaking to a room full of investors with their cameras turned off, it can get uncomfortable pretty quick – and that discomfort can show in your body language. That’s why our first tip is very simple: develop a relationship with the camera.
Whether it’s your best friend at work or your favorite client, speaking as if you’re talking to them and not a computer screen will not only relax your body but it will also make you sound more natural without having to force things.
In this example, content creator Ellbat starts off referring to the audience as “you guys” but, as the video continues, she continuously talks to her camera as if it’s her friend. Between use of words such as “you” and “we,” her casual yet professional way of speaking, and hilarious self-deprecating humor, it’s easy to feel as if we’ve known her for years:
Key takeaway: The best way to improve body language video skills is to speak and act as if you’re familiar with the viewers already.
Don’t do this: Resist the need to impress your audience — they’d much rather you look comfortable so they can feel comfortable watching you.
2. Learn the Alexander Technique for better spinal alignment
If you’d like to go above and beyond, classes exist to improve the way you carry yourself while on camera. For example, the Alexander Technique is a method used by professional musicians, dancers, and actors to create open body language.
What is open body language? It’s a way of carrying yourself so that you come off more free, open, and interested.
In her “Show Me How” Tedx Talk, Angela Bradshaw offers a step-by-step tutorial on how to perform the Alexander Technique. Follow these mindful tips to identify your own body language habits and ultimately look more natural on camera.
Key Takeaway: Follow postural reflex exercises that improve body language through breath and thought.
Avoid: Don’t rely on outdated ideas on how to fix posture (shoulders back, chest up, etc.) if you want to improve your body language video skills.
3. Calm nerves with breath-work
Your emotions have a huge impact on your body language on camera. If you’re feeling stressed or frustrated, a somatic healing exercise like breath-work can powerfully recenter you. Simple breath-work exercises can help you release any subconscious blocks that are holding you back from feeling like yourself while presenting, which is also very useful for building your presence on camera.
Key takeaway: Being mindful of how you breathe will help you relax and let the thoughts come out more naturally.
Avoid: If you’re nervous, don’t let your breathing habits take over while you’re on camera.
4. Squeeze in an ab workout
Did you know that your spine is supported by your core? By strengthening your abdominal muscles, you can greatly improve your energy and presence on camera. The boost of endorphins achieved from working out will also be noticeable in your eyes, making you that much more charismatic and energized on video.
For a sweat dripping, beat bumping, and candlelit yoga experience, you can check out Y7 Studio’s online yoga classes. On-demand classes and curated playlists can help you get alignment, stretch and strengthen key areas, and help refresh your mind for your next online meeting or virtual event.
Key takeaway: Strengthening your core leads to better posture, more energy and stronger body language
Avoid: Don’t skip your workout the morning of your big presentation.
5. Master your environment
Your environment has a subconscious effect on your mental state which can affect how you carry yourself on camera. Even if you never mention it, feeling crowded by that basket of unfolded laundry and messy desk space can make you seem uncomfortable while you talk.
Many Hollywood actors are used to self-taping their film and recording tv auditions from home these days and it’s common wisdom that a clean space equals a clean slate. If you’d like to go above and beyond simply tidying your room, try a little desk feng shui.
Key takeaway: Taking responsibility for how your space makes you feel will translate to how you feel and look while on video.
Don’t: Don’t take your video calls in a cluttered environment or one that makes you feel anything but your best.
6. Put on your acting hat for the day
Yes, you should absolutely be yourself when you’re on your Zoom call or talking to your subscribers. However, we all know someone who is effortless on camera. Pretend you’ve been cast in the biopic of their story and prepare the way a professional actor would by studying their movements, the way they speak, and how they carry themselves on video.
Nicole Kidman recently won an Oscar for portraying Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos”. To prepare for her reenactment of the famous grape-stomping scene in “I Love Lucy,” Kidman said she put on sweatpants, set up the video on her tv, and hit the play and pause buttons while following along until she could perfectly mimic the movements.
Key takeaway: One of the best ways to improve body language video skills is to mimic a successful example of someone else doing it and then make it your own.
Don’t: Don’t pretend to be someone else—just try to move like them.
7. Get physically comfortable
Tag sticking out? Deodorant failing? Air conditioning taking too long to adjust? All of these little discomforts can add up to big changes in your body language.
In his own video on how to be more confident on camera, Ben Toalson explains that getting comfortable is the first step in the process. He provides his own personal checklist of what he would address before hitting record on your next screen record video.
Ben Toalson’s checklist includes:
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Adjust the temperature
- Take regular breaks
- Make sure your chair is comfortable and supportive
- Avoid spicy foods
Key takeaway: If something is making you feel physically uncomfortable, change it.
Don’t: Force yourself to fake feeling comfortable when you simply are not because it will show up in your body language on video.
8. Memorize your outline
We’ve talked a lot about posture and movement, but your eye line is also an important factor in what your body language looks like on video. This is why reading off a script is never ideal. Even subtle flickers away from the screen and onto your lengthy speech can make your audience read your body language negatively if done enough times.
Instead, skip the transcription and go straight to the bullet point list method. Content creator Vanessa Lau coaches subscribers on how to film videos fast and efficiently. In her video, Lau says that writing out an entire script that was word for word what she planned to say took 5 full hours to film. Besides the fact that 5 hours is a long time, it’s hard to keep up great body language for that long.
When she switched to the bullet point list method, her filming time halved. Not only does this approach increase your productivity but it can also minimize fatigue, which has a noticeable effect on body language on video.
If you still feel more comfortable typing it all out first, that’s totally fine. You can even post the parts of your transcript that didn’t make it into your final video onto your Facebook or other social media platform when promoting content.
Key takeaway: Memorizing an outline will help you keep your eyes focused on your audience or other natural focal points, which makes your body language appear more natural.
Avoid: Over-scripting your presentation or video content and try not to read off notes while live.
Confidently record your next video
Ready to put your new body language video skills to the test? Get comfortable talking on camera, make time for a workout, and organize talking points for a more fluid and natural on-camera presentation. Use these tips and experiment with a few video recordings to confidently express yourself on camera.