IMPROVING YOUR ON-CAMERA PERFORMANCE
I owe a big thank you to a news director in Phoenix whose name I can’t remember who turned me down for a job a few decades ago. Although I didn’t get the job, I asked if he would critique my tape. He replied with a wonderfully helpful letter in which he said, “You have a wonderful voice; you don’t know how to use it.”
I found a voice coach and took private voice lessons, and that training was a real education that’s helped me help beginners, veteran reporters and business executives wanting to improve their on-camera presence.
At Radio Free Asia, I’ve worked with the Cambodian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Burmese, Lao, Tibetan and Uyghur services to help their journalists improve their on-air delivery.
I don’t speak the languages. I don’t have to. You don’t have to be able to speak the language to be able to hear and pinpoint vocal problems.
What’s key to performance is the writing. It’s difficult to deliver with any sort of impact copy that’s poorly written.
For any students checking this blog, make sure you work on your voice.
o Mark your copy.
o Check your breathing.
o Listen to your own voice as you talk, and compare it to how you sound when you record.
Are you talking or reading? Whether it’s radio, television, online or on the air, you can’t read a script. You need to talk, and you need to talk with the proper emphasis, energy and phrasing. Do that and your storytelling immediately improves.###