I hate being on camera! I am naturally a super self-conscious introvert who hates attention, worries about looking bad and fears sounding stupid. But, I have a job that requires me to be on camera from time to time – either to film short video pieces or worse live video interviews.
I never had a problem speaking in public and it would be very ironic if I feared being interviewed by the press, but something about video daunted me. Every time I saw myself on a screen I would cringe because that was not the guy I saw looking back at me in the mirror that morning. Instead, I saw the awkward geek I was in my teens (and still am occasionally in large groups).
Earlier in my career I found substitutes to cover for me. When the occasional request came time to film something I deftly deferred to colleagues who I felt were more natural under the harsh truth of the camera’s eye. “You do it, the exposure would be good for your brand” was my common judo move to get someone else to take my place. However, a few years ago I started getting tapped to do video regularly and couldn’t get away with ducking it anymore.
And to be honest, I needed to started to practice what I had been selfishly preaching to others – to be more successful as a marketeer I needed to use video to build my own brand. Compelling material and great presentations are necessary for but not sufficient to being a marketing leader. I gave in and ended up doing about one video piece a month for over a year.
At first I treated it like the Klingon Rite of Ascension – something to be suffered through to become part of a sacred band. Even though I was doing it regularly, I was still not natural in front of the camera. Worse, the stress of being on camera would occasionally knock me off my talk track. (I will admit that my selfies in makeup garnered an incredible number of likes!)
I was whinging about an upcoming video when a friend said to me “You realize that the reason they want to film you is to hear what’s in your head, not to see what you look like.” Even though I dismissed her in the moment, I eventually processed what she had said it changed my approach to video. I realized I would always feel a bit awkward on camera, but that I needed to focus on the message I wanted to get across.
That attitude changed things and while it never made video fun, it took the anxiety out of the process and made me a much more confident subject. I relaxed and focused on why I liked my products, the compelling message we had build for them and I ended up telling a better story on camera.
In my most recent role I haven’t been called to do much video work, and surprisingly I have missed it! It’s a great tool for a marketeer to be able to use to get your message across – a short video is easier for people to consume than your 2-page solution brief or your 30 slide deck. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, so if you want customers to find you, you need to have a video presence.
But more importantly, you need to put a face to your product and why shouldn’t it be you? If you are confident enough in the strength of your message and are passionate about what you do, have the courage to say it on “film.” Your passion will only make the message stronger and it’s a differentiating skill to have on a resume!