Speaker Tips


In the video, you want to appear confident and poised, not nervous and tense. Your gestures/body movements and facial expressions all indicate your confidence or nervousness, and all of them are magnified on camera. It's important that you practice your movements and expressions so that you appear at your best.

Video cameras can produce a variety of different shots or pictures - clasp pictures, wide-angle pictures, etc. - from the same position, so you won't be aware of what shot a camera is taking of you. Most shots of you will be of your head and shoulders.

When being interviewed, sit in a relaxed position with your shoulders back. Don't sit stiffly - you'll look tense. Be careful not to slouch, too. Keep your feet on the ground and put your hands in your lap or on the arms of your chair when you're listening. When speaking, lean forward slightly. If you're seated in a swivel chair, take care not to swivel back and forth. If you must stand during your presentation, stand comfortably with your shoulders straight and your weight distributed evenly on both feet. Don't shift from foot to foot, sway or lean on anything. If you must walk, take slow, small steps, so the camera can follow you.

Avoid making quick, sweeping gestures. They make it difficult for the camera operator to follow your movements; as a result, your arms or hands won't be in the picture. Use slower gestures and keep them close to your body. Don't gesture directly at the camera, or your hands and arms will be distorted. Make sure your gestures are appropriate and natural. Be especially careful of any nervous habits you have, such as tapping your fingers, touching your tie, or fussing with your hair. Again, the camera magnifies them.

Also, be aware of your facial expressions. A frown, squint, or furrowed brow can make you appear worried, defensive, or tense. Relax your facial muscles and smile whenever appropriate. A smile makes you appear relaxed and friendly.

If your presentation involves using props, flip charts, or a lot of movement, practice before the program with the camera operators, so they'll be prepared to follow you. Make sure you never walk out of the picture!


Microphones are an important part of your video appearance, and it's important that you know the various types of microphones and how to use them properly.

  • Wireless Microphone - Wireless microphones are hand-held or Lavaliere-type microphones without a cord. They're battery-operated and ideal for walking around. These are the primary microphones in use at the Lakeland Safety Center. We normally consider these mikes hot anytime that the speaker is "on stage."
  • Hand Microphone - You hold this type of microphone in your hand. It's attached to a long cable, so if you plan to move around while you speak, be sure to allow enough cable to do so. Hand microphones are the most awkward because one hand must always be holding the microphone, which restricts your gestures. You must be careful not to gesture with the hand holding the microphone because the sound will fade as you move it away from your mouth.
  • Lavaliere Microphone - The most popular of all microphones, this one is small and clips to your blouse, shirt, or lapel, or it can dangle from your neck on a cord. It should be six to nine inches below your chin. Attached before the program begins, the Lavaliere microphone allows you complete flexibility in movement - with due regard to the trailing microphone cord. The cord should run from the mike away from you. If you'll be walking, tuck a loop of cord into your belt or hold it in your hand to give some slack. However, this microphone is sensitive and can pick up heavy breathing or the sound of clothing rubbing against the instrument.
  • Boom Microphone - A Boom microphone is a microphone suspended from a long pole, which is held over the stage area. A boom microphone can be moved up, down, or across to pick up voices. It, too, is highly sensitive. Boom microphones are kept out of camera range so the video-viewing audience can't see them. You don't have to worry about not being heard because the boom operator follows you as you move around.

Before the program begins, arrange for a microphone check with the sound engineer. Speak normally into the microphone, so the engineer can set the correct volume. Use vocal variety moderately. Remember to speak as if you're talking only to one person, not to an audience of thousands. Varying your pitch, volume, and vocal variety too much will only annoy your audience and make you look foolish. During the program, avoid coughing, tapping your fingers, rustling paper, or hitting the microphone. And watch what you say - always assume the microphone is on.


Visual aids can greatly enhance any video presentation. Slides, photographs, film, and three-dimensional objects can illustrate your points and add emphasis to your message. Just be sure that any visual aid relates to your subject and will be seen and understood by your audience.

Visual aids for video have special requirements. Video pictures are in a format of three units high and four units wide. Thus, any visuals you use must be in this 3:4 ratio. If they're too big, they'll be cut off. If they're too small, they'll be comical. To ensure good framing for your visuals, allow a border around the visual of one-sixth of the total area.

Keep your visuals simple and uncluttered. Too much detail won't be seen. For print visuals, leave plenty of space between letters and lines. Since glossy surfaces reflect light and cause glare, all visuals should have dull surfaces. Colors should contrast. Each visual should emphasize only one point.

When making charts and graphs, use a dull finish of gray or blue cardboard 14 inches by 17 inches or 11 inches by 14 inches. Keep your graphics within a 9-inch by 12-inch area on the 14-inch by 17-inch cards and within a 6-inch by 8-inch area on 11-inch by 14-inch cards.

Keep words or graphs to four or five lines. Print all lettering and make it bold. Keep the focus in the center of the graphic. If you're planning to use slides or film, check with the producer, Obie Young, beforehand at (407) 719-6335. Keep slides simple and clear.

Again, limit copy to five lines. When displaying three-dimensional objects on video, display them, so the audience can see the actual size, since the camera can make a small object appear large through close-ups. Make sure the objects are well-lighted and don't cause glare. Be sure the object stands out from its background.

Rehearse your visuals before the program begins, so you'll be able to present them smoothly during the show. If necessary, number your visuals, so you can easily present them in the correct order.