Let’s talk about you for a little while. You’re a passionate believer in your business. You have years of experience in your field of expertise, and their are countless others that need to hear from you. The worth of your services have been proven over and over again.
You know your stuff, and you’ve talked to hundreds of people before about your topic. There have been hundreds of faces staring back at you, and you’ve gotten through to them all. You are a leader. You are a doer in your field, and a force to be reckoned with.
So why do you want to crawl into a little ball when the lights turn on and a little camera starts blinking at you. It just blinks. It’s still blinking. The blinking is burning a laser hole into your temple and lighting your exposed brain into a burning ember. STOP BLINKING!
Wait. Some black tape over the little red blinky light will help. Now you can get down to bid’ness.
But you can’t. it wasn’t the red light. It’s that lens. It stares at you. It sees you for the fraud of an expert that you fear- deep within- you are.
You still want to curl up into a ball and roll away like a video game hedge hog. What the F!
OK. If this description resonates with your experience, then I know exactly how you feel.
Everyone is different, and the time to overcome camera shyness varies from person to person. I’ll teach you some tricks I have picked up to help you, but first let’s look at the psychology of what’s happening.
Looking into a camera lens is intimidating. Period. Only young children are immune from this phenomenon. They haven’t been properly beaten down by society yet, and are unaware of the artificial mental boundaries that teenagers and adults are subject to.
Growing up, most people run into times where they experience some kind of emotional harm. It can very in severity. A minor example could be if you ever got lost in a grocery store, and you momentarily thought your Mother left you. Your emotional harm may have been severe, like in the case of physical abuse.
Most likely your experiences fall in the middle somewhere. This makes you normal, so don’t worry if you’ve been publicly humiliated in the past, or you’ve felt numerous failures in your past. Again, this just makes you a normal human being. What’s interesting is how a human being learns to deal with these emotional set-backs. As a defense mechanism, our brain shapes a way to keep our fragile egos from experiencing these painful feelings of humiliation and failure by trying to prevent us from repeating them. We develop what’s commonly known as Impostor Syndrome.
Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.
This, my fellow human being, is what you see staring back at you when a camera lens is stuck in your face. The good news is that we all have the power to retrain our brain. We can overcome Impostor Syndrome and we can make as many awesome videos as we need to.
Here’s what I suggest to overcome Camera Shyness:
(Optional) Consider making your first videos without being on camera. Maybe just use your spoken voice and show an information graphic (it can be as simple as a Power point Slide).
It’s true that having a face associated with your personal brand is a powerful way to connect with your audience. However, I think it’s more important to begin getting into the habbit of producing information-rich content for your audience. So if you work through the other suggestions, and you’re still not feeling comfortable on camera, then come back to this option, and make a video just with your voice and other imagery.
- Recognize that you’re not an imposter. you have worked hard to acquire the knowledge that you wish to disseminate. You have earned the right to speak because you have understanding in your topic area that other people don’t have. Even if you only know a few things that your audience doesn’t know. A true imposter would have nothing to offer. you will be sharing something of value, and that validates you being on camera.
- See the situation for what it is, and recognize that it’s not natural to talk to inanimate objects. Maybe Imposter Syndrome isn’t even a factor. Fair enough. Have a friend directly next to the camera, and talk to them while recording. If you don’t have a friend that’s available to help out, that’s cool. Put your cat on a tall perch next to the camera. Cut Paul Stanley’s face out of a KISS poster and put that right next to your camera lens. If you have a picture of a real customer, then use that. Whatever would appeal to your playful side and will help you loosen up.
- Get used to the way you look. If you’re simply not happy about the way you look when you see yourself on video, then this is the esiest thing to fix! A camera sees us like other people do- not the mirror reverse image that we are used to seeing. It is offputting at first, and takes some getting used to. The fix for this is to simply get used to it. The more you see yourself on video, then the more accepting you’ll become of what you see. (By the way- your voice will sound different too, because you’re used to hearing your voice resonate from within your own head- the voice recorded on camera is more like what other people hear when you talk. So weird- right?) The weirdness will never go away completley, perhaps, but this is normal. Repeatedly hearing and seeing yourself on video makes it less weird. I also recommend that you look at celebrities without their make up on. http://celebritytoob.com/pictures/30-fairly-shocking-pictures-of-celebrities-without-makeup/item/36168/ This will help you realize that you look like what you look like. As long as you look clean and reasonably well groomed, then you’ve done your due dilegence. You’re video on YouTube is not expected to be a polished Hollywood production, and people will be judging you on your informational content. If you look like AnnaLynne McCord without her makeup on, then you just look real. Real is what YouTube is all about anyway. So just try to look your best, and understand that you’re perfectly wonderful. This is a cool oportunity, really. It’s a chance to get to know yourself better by seeing what you really look and sound like.
- You don’t have to deliver your entire video in one long word-laden vomitous speech dump. If you can, fine. Great. However, don’t let that stop you, though. Focus on a lone concept at a time. Worry about the rest when you edit your video together.
- Join the 74% of people that are afraid of public speaking. Again, you’re normal if you feel uncomfortable in front of a camera. People naturally fear anxious and scared when they feel like they’re being scrutinized. The funny thing is that the huge majority of people that have to present public speeches do fine. Statistically, nearly 90% of us successfully speak in front of other people. The awesome thing about speaking to a camera is that you constantly are in control of a reset button! Unlike public speaking, you can start over again if you think you messed up. The camera will keep recording, and you can edit your mistake out later. Nobody will ever know!
So gather up your speech notes, comb your hair, and maybe dig up that old KISS poster.
You’re not an imposter. You’re a normal, knowledgable, awesome human being. You have some real information that people need to hear about, and you’re the only one that can help them right now. Go out there, and practice, practice, practice.
If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment. I would love to hear how you got over your camera shyness.