Good presentations and speeches need practice. It is quite easy to practice reading your speech out loud but what about getting feedback on your voice and gestures? What will the audience see when you deliver your speech?
A webcam is a very useful device for recording yourself presenting and giving you rapid feedback. I bought this webcam for $30 and use a free program for capturing the video and playing back.
I usually use the free Videopad program for Windows but the webcam also works with the commercial Sony Vegas MovieStudio which I bought a year ago. I am sure Mac users could use iMovie to do the job. Videopad is more than sufficient as the video doesn’t need to be edited or uploaded to YouTube.
A separate webcam is more convenient that a camera built into a laptop as the quality is usually better and you can position the camera independently of the computer.
These are the steps I follow to record a practice speech.
1. Set the webcam far enough way so that most of the body will be filmed. You dont want to miss the gestures.
2. You might need a mark on the floor to remind you where to stand so you don’t disappear from view
3. Start the recording procress.
4. Deliver your speech.
5. Stop the recording, go get a glass of your favourite drink, then sit down and watch the film as objectively as possible. Look at your eye contact, facial gestures, and arm movement. How is the vocal variety? Is there good variation of pitch, volume, speaking rate and good use of pauses.
6. While you listen and watch yourself, make notes on the printed speech on how to improve.
Get yourself a webcam and recording software, and get the habit of video recording your practice for a total feedback experience.
Here is a quick recording I made from my webcam capture by Sony Vegas MovieStudio.