Conquering your fear of getting in front of the camera.
I get it. Putting yourself on camera, talking about your business or industry, exposing your flabby bits and pimples - it's bloomin' scary.
What if you stuff up? Maybe people won't like you. Will it ruin your reputation?
Whatever monster thoughts are racing through your head, there’s no doubting that thinking about a video with you as the focus makes you feel so damn vulnerable. But park that thought for a thirty seconds whilst we explore why creating your own video makes SO much sense for your brand.
More and more customers are looking for brands they can connect with. Businesses that share similar ethos or beliefs, that care about them and that have awesome people working for them.
In life we form connections with people on this basis, so it's understandable that customers expect similar relationships. I'm not thinking you’ll actually got the extra mile to your customers a morning cuppa in bed every morning (like my bestie does) but being able to see a "real" person as the face of a brand will certainly help people get to know you and develop these connections. Ultimately it's about building the know, like and trust factor that works to turn people into customers and ultimately brand fans.
Being you, warts and all, shows customers the human side of your brand. It shows them the person or people behind the business, it deliverers authenticity and helps strengthen that connection.
So yes it’s a no brainer. But really how do you overcome those niggling doubts and fears and actually get it done?
Ask for some help
If you’re feeling nervous about jumping in front of the camera, ask for what you need.
Maybe you need someone to film you, help you write your script, brainstorm ideas, do your make up. The more comfortable you feel, the better the shoot will go.
f you want to fly solo do it. But being part of a team – team you – can make a big difference to your confidence and actually moving from thinking about it to doing it.
Aside from the professionals, there are very few of us who are able to just stand in front of a camera and wing it. Do the sensible thing and prepare what you are going to say.
If it makes it easier write a full script. And then read it aloud a couple of times. Then sub edit it down – lose superfluous words and waffle and cut to the chase. Read it aloud again. Then make bullet points. Only then can you say with confidence that you’re ready to start filming.
Look the part
If you’re recording tips on surfing, then sure stand in front of the camera in boardies with a towel over your shoulder. If you’re appealing to solicitors or financiers, you may prefer to wear a suit. There are no hard and fast rules about what to wear, but know your audience. Casual or smart, either works.
The most important thing is to actual be presentable – no matter what that means for your business or your audience. Oh and please check yourself in the mirror at least once before you record and remove that lettuce from between your teeth and flatten down that fly-away hair.
I’ll eat my hat if you get your video recorded in one take. No chance, nada, never. But that is fine. The more times you practice, refining your delivery, adjusting your script and improving your performance, the more likely you are to nail it. Seriously. Stop that inner critic berating you for stuffing up time and time again. Thanks to digital technology, there’s no tape being wasted while you slip and stumble your way to perfection.
And heck you might be able to turn your stuff ups into a hilarious out takes video so it wont be a wasted effort!
There’s much debate in video making circles about whether you read a script off an autocue or learn your lines. Unless you’re an experienced presenter, I’m a strong advocate of the latter. Reading lines from an autocue will ultimately look like you are reading lines from an autocue.
Instead imagine you are chatting to just one person on the other side of the camera lens. Be conversational rather than presentery. Be real.
Avoid standing stuff as a board and robot like too. Sure stand up straight and stick out your boobs. And use your hands to emphasise points and sparkle your eyes with a smile. Smiling is important. And even more so on camera – it lights up your face and lifts your voice.
Nothing beats a relaxed, natural, authentic delivery of information.
Record you whole script in one go – sure it might work for you. But give yourself a break and chunk your script into segments.
Re-frame between segments when you edit or add an effect. It’s easier to learn and practice in chunks than to memorise a five minute presentation.
Damn you inner critic
Absolutely EVERYONE is critical of themselves on camera. At the start. We’re not raised to be egotistical narcissists and our default mechanism is to be critical about the way we look, act, sound or even dress.
But it’s your brain, using fear as a way to understand the world and getting it wrong. You are okay – you’ve got this. Ignore that inner critic.
Your heart is racing, your sweating, your brain has gone to mush. Maybe you’ve learnt this script off by heart but it just ain’t coming out right. People are staring at you, there’s a distracting noise outside, your shirt fabric is irritating.
Hello irrational fear – you are getting in the way of a half-decent performance in front of the camera. Instead refocus your attention away from the camera and the stuff that makes you feel uncomfortable. Concentrate on what you’re saying, the value you are offering your audience, the amazing things you are saying that will help their lives easier.
People don’t care (about the bad stuff)
Well people do care but in a good way. Rather than judging you on what you look or sound like, most likely they will admire your balls and your actions. Your fears around bad performance, negative self-image – hello, they are merely in your head. So forget what people think and give it your best shot.
So when it comes to video, it doesn’t have to be this overwhelmingly hard, impossible, scary beast. But it is a wise business decision. You’ll find that the more you do it the easier it becomes. Honestly.
But being in front of the camera is not for everyone. So if in spite of all of the above, or you’ve tried and not nailed it, don’t beat yourself up. Come back to it later, another time or not at all. The fact that you’ve given it a go means you are serious about marketing your business or your brand and you will find other ways to put yourself out there.
Good luck people.