"I need to start putting myself out there... but it's so uncomfortable."
Do you get the media anxieties? A client recently told me that they had been procrastinating on submitting a video pitch because it made them uncomfortable. Another client backed out of a recorded interview. And a third confessed that they twitch every time they hear the word 'live.' I have more than once wished for simpler times of Mad Men style advertising with poster boards and in-person boardrooms. Though I suppose if this were the case, I wouldn't be a female CEO running a multi-tiered brand strategy enterprise.
I remember my first media interview. It was for an iHeartRadio podcast and I was so nervous, I was sweating in places I didn't know I had. I wore a deep red lipstick that I was convinced was my signature shade (thank you to my oh-so-talented makeup artist, MakeupByCG, for lovingly convincing me that it is not). I thought that I was ready. I thought that I was excited and enthusiastic and all about this interview... then I watched it back. And I looked half asleep.
If you do the deepcreep in my social media you'll see the evolution of Facebook Live videos, and media interviews. They are painfully akward, and I have been my own harshest critic. As I started a new form of media- hosting my own podcast- I once again became acutely aware of my speaking habits. With a couple recorded seasons behind me, I am becoming more comfortable each day. I thought I'd share a few tips that have helped me get more comfortable with media.
Get Over Yourself. No one cares. Honestly. The person who watches you and picks apart everything you do wrong is not the person you want to work with. No one more successful than you will ever criticize your steps to success. And at the end of the day, it's not about you. You shouldn't be speaking or sharing your thoughts for you. It should be for your audience. When you can get over yourself and tap into the generosity of sharing the expertise that you have with someone who wants it, you will be infinitely more successful.
Discern the Difference Between Macro and Micro Mistakes. Did you try to participate in an interview without any subject expertise? Did you try to promote yourself as having one brand or character quality while living another? These are macro-mistakes, and probably do mean you are not ready for media. But if you are doing little things like looking at the wrong camera, using filler words, fidgeting in your seat... these are micro-mistakes and you can work on these as you become more comfortable. Don't let these things disqualify you from sharing your very valid and needed expertise.
Watch the Experts Fail. Often we can watch media through fame-goggles. We assume that because someone is televised, that they are more worthy than someone else. Just because something is famous, doesn't mean it's worth fame. Let us all think of pet rocks, 80s fashion, and most modern pop music. Spend some time watching experts as if they are your peers. You'll start to see the human in them and may even notice the micro-mistakes that they make and how they bounce back. Their professionalism isn't in avoiding mistakes- it's in the way they carry themselves to move the show forward.
Evaluate, Don't Eviscerate. Fight the urge to tear yourself apart. A good rule of thumb, particularly if you're just starting out, is to only watch yourself back with someone else in the room. It is tempting to nitpick and notice every little flaw. But there is a difference between destroying your self esteem, and recognizing that you say 'umm' way too often and need to work on cutting the filler words. Feedback doesn't mean you failed. It means you can keep getting better.
Pick Your Media- Don't Let Media Pick You. When you're starting out, it's tempting to accept every media offer that comes your way. Just because no one knows about you yet, doesn't mean they won't. Invest the time in pulling together a media kit. Ask questions like "Who is your audience", "What kind of promotion will I receive?" "Will I be compensated? If not, how will this benefit my brand?" "Do I have rights to share this content as well? Will it be shared in any other contexts?" Be picky about where you choose to share, and who you choose to collaborate with.
Have Fun. You have worked your derrière off to become an expert in your field. This is the fun part- where people pay you just to talk about the thing you've invested your life into. While you are offering this content for others, you're also enjoying your life for you. Take the pressure off of yourself and enjoy being present in the conversation.
A few other tips:
- Wear more makeup than you think you need.
- Take note of your lighting and audio- quality can make or break the user experience.
- Speak more loudly and energetically than you think that you need to
- Use a consistent microphone and camera when possible.
- Capitlize on each media experience. Try to pair your content with things you are already working on so that you can get the most out of your promotional opportunities.
- Use consistent branding photos and messaging (Have a brand map before you engage in media so you are clear on your brand image and messaging).
- Set your energy before you speak. Whether it's a favorite song, a mantra, a walk around the room, put yourself in the present moment.
- Talk to one person. Let go of the pressure of speaking to the masses, and focus on speaking to the one.
- Laugh at yourself. Mistakes happen. Learn how to make them work for you.
Got more tips? Share what works for you.