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July 13, 2018

Camera shy? Here’s how to banish your fear of being on camera

Feeling camera shy? Every year thousands of salespeople and marketers miss revenue goals because they’re afraid of being on camera. But Meaghan Corson, Video Marketing Speaker and Consultant, has news: you can overcome your trepidation. She did, and she’ll be the first to tell you that video stars are made, not born. You can check out her full video below.

Fast Forward - Nov 2017 - Meaghan Corson

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Be you – everyone else is already taken

As a young newscaster, Meaghan was scrutinized for seeming young. “Try to be or look thirty,” colleagues advised her as they showered her in suit jackets and fussed over her appearance. She worried because others worried, and her awkwardness showed on camera. But then she had a breakthrough.

Meaghan realized that she didn’t need to “look the part.” There was no part. She was a great newscaster, and if that was how she looked, that was how newscasters looked. Her confidence grew, and she became a video marketing evangelist.

For anyone who doesn’t have years to build confidence in their own video performance, Meaghan has a shortcut: You can make yourself more comfortable on camera through small, repeat exposures, and by preparing yourself in the following ways:

1. Dress for the meeting

Videos work best when creators use them to build relationships with viewers. That means being your authentic self, but it also means giving audiences a bit of the expected. If you’re sharing tips for account-based marketing (ABM) dressed as a circus acrobat, you’re diluting your message. Dress how you’d actually dress to meet people in person. That usually means business formal.

You also want to keep your video simple. In person, our eyes can adjust to the light level and field of view, but cameras can’t. Give your video the best viewability across channels and devices by setting yourself up in front of natural lighting like a window. Wear solid colors and when in doubt, choose blue.

Minimize visual distractions. You want viewers focused on what you say, not what you wear. Don’t clatter onto the set laden down with jewelry, and avoid shirts or ties loud enough to stop traffic.

2. Speak slower, lower, and with certainty

When you speak, lower your voice one octave. Voices sound different on video, and studies show that people find lower-pitched voices more credible. Speaking with a high pitch, ending your sentences on a high note, or speaking in the vocal fry register can turn audiences off.

Speaking too quickly can have a similar effect. Taking pauses and speaking slower is something most people know to do but frequently forget. Slowing down makes you easier to understand and more engaging. It also naturally calms your nerves.

According to Psychology Today, pausing to breathe from your abdomen stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces your heart rate and induces tranquility.

But, don’t change too drastically. As Meaghan learned, you create a relationship with viewers by being you. Whatever winning personality you show in-person with clients should come across in your video, and you may need to accentuate those behaviors. “If you’re witty and sarcastic with clients, be that!” says Meaghan.

3. Express yourself

Don’t stand stiff as a board when filming. Videos attract prospects because they’re visual and entertaining and if you stand too still, you might lose their attention. Amplify whatever you do regularly, says Meaghan, who makes great use of facial expressions and hand motions. “But do what’s most natural for you.”  

Motion is, however, a balance. Don’t move so much that it’s distracting. If you’re giving an office tour, gesture with your hands, but don’t whip the camera around. If you’re recording yourself in front of a whiteboard, don’t walk back and forth in front of it. Move calmly and deliberately, and have someone watch to give you feedback.

Even the most camera shy can overcome their fears with exposure

Want to put your fear of appearing on camera to rest? Make a habit of recording yourself every day. “Exposure therapy has been scientifically demonstrated to be a helpful treatment for a range of problems,” says the American Psychology Association, including “giving a public speech” and its cousin, recording yourself on camera.

Like riding a bike, speaking in front of videos can become second nature. When it does, and you dress, sound, and express yourself with purpose, you’ll break through like Meaghan did. Soon, you too will be using videos to blow away your revenue goals.

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Chris Gillespie

Chris Gillespie

Chris Gillespie is the writer and founder behind Find A Way Media which helps great businesses create killer marketing content. Based in Brooklyn, Chris spent years selling SaaS technology solutions and now helps those companies craft their content marketing strategies.

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