Coaching Presentation

Public Speaking and Speaking on Camera: Why “Just Act Natural” is Bad Advice

Let me explain what I’m doing right now. I am sitting alone in a room and I am talking to a piece of glass.

And that’s why I think the advice “just act natural” is a bogus piece of public speaking advice. It’s especially egregious for anyone who has to talk in front of a camera.

That flat piece of glass that I’m staring into will suck about 10% of the emotion and energy from my face. So if I don’t bump up my personality by 10 to 20%, I’m going to come across as dead and flat on camera.

And let’s face it, there is nothing natural about this. Our cave people ancestors did not go around talking to flat pieces of glass. And when it comes to public speaking, they didn’t stand up in front of large crowds of strangers, either!

So “just act natural” is “just bogus advice” for when you’re on camera, but also for when you’re speaking on stage or in front of a class or big meeting.

Instead of “acting natural” — try bumping up your emotional energy. That way, your audience can see that emotion in your face as you talk on camera. Or feel your enthusiasm when you present in person.


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

🔥🔥🔥 Laura also teaches “Presenting On Camera” – a live, interactive group class for sales and training professionals who need to shift from in-person to on-camera presentations. Call to inquire about availability and rates.