Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Throughout my years as an On-Camera Presenter, I was notorious for always arriving on set with my old school handwritten notes. As preparation for every interview I did, or every presentation I gave, I still wrote my research, script, and questions out? Why? I believe that you learn by writing; you get a better grip on what you are saying. Your words become a lot more thoughtful, are weighted with intention, and notes can help stop you from freezing midsection or mid-interview.
But still, I always had to try and hide my notes out of shot and stop them from being seen in the frame... I could never let the camera see my eyes glance down at them. I had to trick and play the camera at its own game, which is quite a tricky situation.
Now, we all know times have changed drastically this year, and everyone is presenting and interviewing virtually, so in fact, it's a lot easier to read from your notes and have your prep to the side of you to keep you on track? Right? No one will see; after all, we are all virtual! ...
People see your eye movement more than ever and pay closer attention to your eyes as everything is maximised on screen. So what do you do? Get rid of notes?
Keep the notes; create a new way of reading them.
You discover one-word anchors in your notes and write them down on paper in a word doc and put that information as close to the camera lens as possible.
If it's a word doc and digital, minimise the window and set the camera's questions.
If you are old school like me, write them out and stick your notes by the camera.
But Lucy, what's an ANCHOR?
It's a word that grounds you in your next thought, paragraph, or question. Your word choice should be so powerful that it helps you remember your next idea and helps you flow to the next moment. These anchors save you from overthinking, over reading, and disconnecting from your audience or guest. Keep those anchors as close to the camera lens as possible because, after all, that's where your audience lives, and that's where you need to connect.
Notes are important. But so is the moment. Never let your preparation dictate the conversation. Remember always to be present. But at the same time, don't underestimate the power of notes. Using them can help you stay on track and get the most out of your interview, helping both you and your guest to be their best self in front of the camera.