8 Hacks to Become Better at Teaching Online Video Courses

Is your fear of teaching on camera holding you back from creating an online course? If so, it's time to turn your Nay-attitude into a Yea-attitude.

In this video, you'll discover 8 hacks to become better at teaching on camera, develop confidence and build a successful online business presence.

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While feeling comfortable and presenting your course in front of a camera comes naturally to some, this might not be the case for others. Luckily, it's a skill that you can definitely learn and improve through practice.

Malcolm Gladwell once wrote:

"To achieve greatness in any area, to become truly great in any area, you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice."

With practice comes revelation about what works and what doesn't. Here are our top 8 tips & tricks to teach effectively on camera:

1. Script Your Videos and Examples

Creating a script for your video is an important part of your prep-work. So is jotting down some examples, if you have troubles coming up with these on the fly. And be sure to practice your script before switching on your camera.

A Word to the Wise

Don't stress the small things.

Don’t script every single word, but rather leave room for spontaneity and authenticity, otherwise you'll be shooting retake after retake after retake just to get the perfect clip, and you’ll lose valuable time in the process.

If using a teleprompter is helpful to you, use one. But be mindful of the time and effort that goes into typing out a script word-for-word and reading it off, all the while trying not to look like an emotionless robot.

Get into the habit of scripting your main points and speaking right into the camera.

2. Learn to Finish Your Sentence

Sounds simple, but is it really?

Pay attention to people around you and you'll soon notice their tendency to never finish a sentence, and thereby never bringing a topic to a close properly. An easy technique to indicate that you are nearing the end of a sentence or thought process, is to simply lower the intonation of your voice. Try making this a habit and you'll quickly see the benefits - it’s not only easier to talk, but also way easier to edit (in post-production).

3. Cover Only One Topic at a Time

"Today we'll be covering the top 5 ways to ..." or "Here is a list of the 10 best techniques on ..."

Opening with sentences like these allows you (the speaker) to limit your presentation and focus it down for your customer (viewer). By doing so, you'll make it easier on yourself to stay on track and efficiently cover one particular topic.

So, how do we put this into practice:

  1. Decide on how many points you'd like to talk about in your video.
  2. Announce it, thereby forcing yourself to stick to your limit.
  3. Try not to ramble.

4. Don't Get Frustrated!

Stumbling over your words and doing retake after retake … you're bound to get frustrated!

And this can happen whether you're alone or have another person in the room with you. What is important is how you deal with your frustration.

Every time you restart, you bring a different energy to the video, thus making it harder for yourself to stay on the same psychological level... and even more difficult for the video editors to cut out and cover your mistakes or moments of frustration.

Best Piece of Advice

Stop talking, compose yourself and start afresh.

5. Film With Editing in Mind

Keep your video editor in mind when speaking into the camera. If you stumble mid sentence, try not to restart where you left off. Instead try the following:

  1. Stop
  2. Gather your wits
  3. Think back to the last verbal / mental full stop you spoke
  4. Restart

And remember hack # 2? Learn to Finish Your Sentence.

Yip, funny how this circles back around. Isn't it?!

You'll be doing yourself or your editor a huge favour by paying attention to this helpful hack.

6. Look Through the Camera

Do you want to come across more calm and natural on camera? Well, there's an easy solution for that. Try looking through the camera, literally straight down the barrel of your lens.

Believe it or not, viewers can tell the difference between you looking at the camera versus you looking through the camera. What's the give-away? It tends to be that glazed-over look in your eyes that viewers quickly pick up on, making them feel less connected to you.

And if you need even more motivation, imagine someone standing behind the lens of the camera. Create scenarios in your mind that assist you in your process.

7. Amp up That Energy!

Is it weird, sitting alone, in front of a camera, speaking to an invisible audience, all hyped and psyched? Yes, it is. However, even though it might feel exaggerated to you, trust that it will come across as natural and confident on camera. Being yourself is great, but being yourself on camera… can quickly look boring, which might cost you a viewer or a few.
So, why not amp it up to an 11?!

Be it a strong coffee, a little dance or 50 push-ups on your kitchen floor.

Whatever it takes for you to bring energy to the screen.

8. The More You Do It, the Easier It Gets

Read that heading again - The More You Do It, the Easier It Gets! You'll inevitably become better and more confident at speaking on camera as you keep on creating your course content.

So, that begs the question: Are you up for a 30-day challenge?

Here is how it works:

  • Every day, for the next 30 days, choose a different topic to talk about on camera.
  • In order for this challenge to work and for you to improve, you'll need to record yourself speaking on a topic, watch back your video and choose one thing you'll improve on in the NEXT recording (in the 30 day series).
  • No re-recording, no retakes. Learn from your mistakes and do better. 

So, what do you say?

Are you ready to create that online course?

If so, Thrive Themes has a free training for you - How To Sell Online Courses on Your WordPress Website

Already have a Thrive University account? Click here to access the course

I also want to hear from you... Do you have any tips that helped you get over your fear of presenting on camera? Is something else stopping you from getting started? Let me know in the comments below!

Author: Hanne Vervaeck

Hanne knows exactly what companies have ever retargeted her (she keeps an updated file). And when she's not busy discussing high-level funnel design over cocktails with the equally geeky, you'll find her discovering a place for the first time

  • David says:

    Excellent! Thank you.

  • Cher H says:

    Great article! Here’s another tip for #5: If you have to stop, clap! The clap creates a big spike in the audio which is easy to spot when you’re editing. Then pick up at the beginning of the sentence again, so the break can be spiced out easily. Thanks for all these great ideas!

  • Pablo says:

    Hi Hanna,
    What is holding me back is….. how to edit videos!!! incredible but I don’t know how to do it.
    The model I have in mind is (obviously) Shane’s videos.
    I know my topics
    I am not scared of the camera
    I simply don´t know how to start how to combine the video with the slides, or adding text at the right moment of the video
    Anyway, your article here is awesome as usual.

    • Gabriella Kozma says:

      The same here. And I don’t have time to find all that stuff out. I would need a list of great free (or affordable) tools.

    • Jafar says:

      What software you use for screen capturing ? I use camtasia and screen o magic both are easy to work with once you have spent couple of hours playing around with it. L

    • Hanno R says:

      Thanks, Pablo! I´m also chewing on this question. I work with Screenflow for Mac. Cutting and rearranging is not a problem, but composing a compelling video is also a big task for me.

    • Hanne says:

      Hi Pablo,

      What I did when I first started out (and didn’t have a video editor at my disposal) was asking a friend (who was an editor) to sit with me for 1 hour and show me the basics of Premiere pro. This allowed me to quickly learn how to do basic editing.
      However, it’s fairly easy to find someone on a freelancing platform (such as fiver or Upwork) at a good price to do basic editing.

      • Pablo says:

        Thank you, Hanne,
        Yes I will try to find someone (even in Fiver) to teach me
        Tutorials are fine, but…… not enough

  • Kelly McClelland says:

    Always fun to see your videos. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips.

  • James says:

    Thank you Hanne.

  • Gabriella Kozma says:

    Thanks. I did most of these already. My problem is the editing and finding the time. I would appreciate a post about video making (equipment, programs etc.)

    • Hanne says:

      My opinion on this is that too many people overcomplicate this… You’re better off using your phone and a basic editing software than procrastinating on video all together.

  • Andrew says:

    Awesome! Thanks Hanne. Exactly what I needed to hear. Like Pablo, I’d also like some tips please on how to edit videos, what tools to use, etc. Thanks again!

    • Hanne says:

      I use a DSLR camera (Lumix) and H1 mic with a lapel and Camtasia for screenrecording. But that’s mainly because I have the gear.
      For starting you can use your phone! And for sceenshare Loom is pretty awesome.

  • Peti Morgan says:

    These are excellent tips Hanne! And so super relevant. Thank you.

  • Tim says:

    Great tips there Hanne, it’s encouraging me to go back to video content soon after some time away from it, although I’m not sure I’m quite up to the 30-day challenge – yet!
    As others have said, a similar article with tips on how to edit video would be great. 🙂

    • Hanne says:

      Maybe I can ask our editor to make that post 😀 I’m no specialist on the topic (I can cut videos but that’s about it 😀 )

      • Tim says:

        Sounds good!
        Could they also include something about the different editing apps available and which one(s) are best for which scenarios? 🙂

  • what video editor tool do you recommend? Not knowing how to edit is holding me back.

  • Timothy Seeley says:

    Hanne, some great advice. As someone who worked in radio another trick when talking to a camera is to visualize your best friend in front of you and just have a conversation with them. It will really make a difference in how you are perceived authentically.

    • Hanne says:

      O yes I like that 🙂 I would just make sure to know what you want to tell that friend so that you’re not just rambling on 😀

  • Pablo says:

    well, Hanne,
    After reading the comments here I think it’s pretty clear that Edit Videos is the main barrier for most of us.
    We will appreciate a “nice, instructive and clear” post (like yours or Shanne’s style) explaining How to Edit properly.
    Next time perhaps?
    It would be a nice summer present for your loyal fans
    We all love you guys!

  • RCL says:

    Hello, what is better for voice recording?

    Please help me choose between ZoomH1 or Blue Yeti nano.

    I would appreciate comments for each one.

    Thanks!

  • e.jean says:

    Fantastic Hanne. Real simplification. Really effective. See you in one month. I have to drill it now

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