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My Toughest Audience!

OPotentially, I could be seen by thousands of people!

Easily, it could be my largest audience, ever. This was important.

It was not an entirely new presentation for me. I had presented modules of it many times. I knew my topic well. I prepared, practiced, tweaked the presentation, and practiced some more.

I had enough nervous energy, I knew, to be helpful. I know how to channel that energy into my presentation because a presentation without energy is b-o-r-i-n-g!

This was my moment and I was psyched! It was time to take my position. The spotlight shined on me, the microphone was on!

I stood tall with my shoulders back, eyes looking straight ahead, smiled, started the Opening of my talk and – YIKES!

In my videos, books, and presentations I emphasize a speaker should always take the temperature of the audience. You may be the only one speaking, but there is much feedback coming from the people seated in front of you. Look at facial expressions, gestures, and other body language to determine if they are GETTING IT! If you see confusion or disbelief, adjust your message and repeat it in a different manner.

I followed my own advice and did that. The feedback I was getting was, literally – Blank!

All I could see was that round, semi-shiny hole in the middle of a black circle.

You might be thinking, “What are you talking about?” 

That’s a fair question. I’m talking about the camcorder.

Video is a great way to communicate a message. This should be especially true for a person who speaks, coaches, and writes about Public Speaking and Presentation Skills – me! 

I had already made it a practice to make an audio recording of all my written posts. That  decision was important because it has helped make me a better writer and better speaker. Recording what you’ve written is a superb way to catch misspellings, grammatical errors, and statements that need to be re-written. Listening to that recording catches mumbling, mispronunciations, poor inflection, and other verbal communication errors. Video was my obvious next step,

When your message is “Nonverbal Communication trumps Verbal Communication,” as I expound, I should be able to “show what I’m talking about.”

After viewing many DIY (Do It Yourself) videos on YouTube, I built a video studio in my basement. I installed an infinite white screen, think Apple and Charter commercials, brightly lit with 800 lumen daylight bulbs. My HD camcorder was mounted on a tripod at eye level, and I had connected a lavaliere mic to it.

After I turned the camera on, adjusted the zoom to where I had placed an X on the floor to where I’d be standing, I walked in front of the screen, smiled, and – well, you read what happened. It was a terrible experience!

Speaking to a black circle is unnerving!  I won’t embarrass myself, anymore than I already have, by telling you how many ‘takes’ I did before finally getting enough good video to edit into a two minute ‘Test Video’ for an online training project I’m starting to work on.

Of course, speaking to “live” audiences can make a person nervous, but it’s a different feeling. When it’s you and the camera, it’s just you and the camera! No smiling, or frowning faces to let you know how your message is being received. People are not leaning in toward you with the message they are GETTING IT! Nor are they sitting with arms folded, indicating what you are delivering isn’t appealing to them.

I thought about hanging pictures of faces around the room and pretending there was a live audience. That idea got trashed when I realized the best video, for my purpose, was to look directly into the camera.

Partial help came to me when I realized I could rotate 180˚ the LCD monitor that opens 90˚ from the camera. (Duh!)

Watching myself on a little bitty screen from about eight feet doesn’t allow me to see all the details of my facial expressions and gestures. It does let me see how I ‘fit into the infinite white background’ and gives ‘real time’ feedback on my performance. It makes a HUGE difference.

Like all the skills we acquire in life, the learning is in the doing. Slowly, I’m getting more comfortable talking to the camera. I’m also slowly establishing a template for my videos, making successive ones easier to produce.

Some day, this whole video production process will be (I hope!) – NO SWEAT!

One more thing. Here’s that Test Video! Till next time, Fred Miller – NO SWEAT! —————————————————————————–

For More Presentation Tips go to

For reading, and/or listening, this far I’d like to give you Two FREE Gifts: To receive it, go to:

About the Author Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a coach, and the author of the book, “No Sweat Public Speaking!” Businesses and individuals hire him because they want to improve their Public Speaking and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts. Perception is reality, and we like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – NO SWEAT!


  1. Keynote Speaker

  2. Workshop Facilitator

  3. Breakout Sessions

  4. Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching


  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  4. We are All Self-Employed!

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