Have a friend video you while you’re speaking. And yes, watch it!

I’ve never met a person who liked to watch himself speaking. Not once. But there’s something magic about it. Every person who ever watches himself on video decides to become a better speaker. It’s like it lights some huge fire inside of people. It’s amazing.

How do they become better?

First, they become more aware of themselves.

You see, beginners tend to think they’re a lot better than they really are. They don’t realize what nervous habits they have. For example, they don’t realize that when they get on stage they pace back and forth like a caged animal. Or they don’t realize they stand ramrod straight, like an old tree.

When you’re speaking, time goes all weird too. For example, you might be thinking, I held my hand up forever. When you watch the video, however, you see you only held your hand up for a fraction of a second. Or you might be thinking, I stood still the whole time. In the video you’ll see that you were practically running in circles on the stage.

Watch yourself on video. You’ll become aware of what your body does, how your arms move, how your voice sounds, what your feet do. You’ll become aware of embarrassing quirks, weird little tics, like that weird thing you do with your hair for example. You’ll learn stuff about yourself that you would never, never, never learn if you just asked yourself, and others, afterwards, “How did I do?”

The second, and perhaps more important, benefit of watching yourself on video: You’ll start to learn one of the most useful, yet most difficult, lessons of public speaking: The audience is almost never thinking the same thing as you.

We see it happen again and again: Clients watch themselves on video and realize how radical is the difference between what’s going on in their heads and and what’s going on outside their heads.

And that’s just one step away from realizing that what’s going on inside your head is radically different than what’s going on inside your audience’s heads, and that’s just one step away from stopping listening to your own fear and nervousness, and listening to your audience’s desires instead.