performance

015: 5 Myths About Being On Camera

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The podcast dedicated to giving you a no-bullshit look at what it takes to build relationships through video. This is for the scared, the overwhelmed, the awkward as fuck, and all those who believe diy doesn't have to mean amateur but don't know where to start ...

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TheHost

Tors Grantham

Tors is a television professional, who studied all aspects of television production before launching her career spanning almost a decade. She's worked with a BAFTA nominated production team, has her own entry on imdb.com, and has even walked the red carpet several (terrifying) times.

She's had chips thrown at her by David Tennant (it was an accident, he's got terrible aim), she's interviewed some amazing actresses, and she attended the cast and crew screening of Empire Strikes Back at the grand old age of four. 

Now she lives in south Wales with a large dog and a small cat, where she uses the knowledge she gained in her television years and beyond, to help online biz owners step in front of the camera and connect with their audience.

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In this episode

I’m loving today’s topic, because getting people to go on camera can sometimes be like dragging them kicking and screaming towards a scary thing. A rollercoaster, I’m afraid of rollercoasters so it’s like dragging me literally kicking and screaming towards a rollercoaster. I have no shame in that situation, I’m going all out to never get on that thing even though I feel like I should, and that feels a bit like the people who want to get on camera but aren’t. So I’m digging into some of the lies people believe about being on camera, maybe you believe some or all of them too. These are by no means exhaustive, I wanted to keep this episode short and sweet after all … insert cheeky winky face here.

First, let’s hit the ground running. There’s nowt wrong with you for being afraid of going on camera, I’d be more worried about you if you weren’t. By the way, if you don’t speak Northern, nowt means nothing, not to be confused with owt, which means anything. Britspeak lesson over, let’s get back to lies.

The only people who aren’t afraid of going on camera are narcissists and psychopaths. I mean, I may be taking some liberties there, sweeping generalisations and all that, but typically the fact that you’re nervous about putting yourself front and centre is actually a good sign. Fucking inconvenient, but good.

Often what’s making us nervous are these five misconceptions I’m going to go into in a just a sec, and I’m saying we and us because my fear of going on camera showed up like this, and I know I’m not alone in these. But we get these ideas in our heads and I figured it was time I kicked them to the kerb, so to speak.

Lie number one: you have to be like other people on video.

I thought that people would expect a certain type of woman on camera, you know the kind - the Marie Forleos and the Sunny Lenarduzzis. In short, a woman with perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect clothes, and perfect make-up. An American woman, with high energy and a big personality. Someone who doesn’t swear like a sailor, or say things just to amuse herself. Someone who didn’t appear to have any trouble getting on camera.

Maybe you think that too, not necessarily about the Marie Forleo or Sunny Lenarduzzi looks, but you have your own industry leaders that you’re probably consciously or unconsciously comparing yourself to. So here’s the thing:

It doesn’t matter if you do or don’t look like them, neither is inherently bad. There’s nothing wrong with their look, but if it’s not your look that’s when it becomes a problem. Your thing is your thing for a reason, my thing is untameable hair and short nails. Jeans and no lipstick. This is not a look that Marie Forleo or Sunny Lenarduzzi are ever likely to rock, but it is what sets me apart from them, amongst other things. Not to mention, there are people out there like you, looking for people who’re like them, right? We all want someone that’s like us to stand up and show us it’s okay to beus, it makes us feel better about our choices. Sometimes, you have to be that person. And if positioning yourself as an expert or a thought leader is important to you, then you need to stand up as yourself. Embrace who you are. 

You can totally be successful being yourself, you don’t have to look or sound like everyone you look up in order to have the reach, community and success they do. But you do need to learn to accept who you are and how you show up on camera, that’s kind of non-negotiable.

Which leads me into lie number two: that you have no control over what people think about you.

I‘m just going to say it, this is bullshit. I mean it kind of isn’t, because you can’t make people think certain things and not other things, but you can use behaviours and ways of communicating that help you lead people to certain conclusions. Here’s a really simple and obvious example, if I want to position myself as someone who’s intelligent, aiming to work with CEOs in Fortune 500 companies, I wouldn’t use slang or swear words when I communicate. Thankfully that isn’t my target market, so I can use as many slang and swear words as I fucking like.

But going beyond that, how we communicate isn’t just through the words we use. So consider this less simple and less obvious example. Let’s say you’re doing a live stream and someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to. Typically, our body language would reflect that and we’re likely to lean backwards if we’re sitting, or shift our weight backwards if we’re standing, maybe even take a step back. That question has just thrown us for a loop, right? It’s literally put us on the back foot.

If you’re smart though, you’ll lean forward and say you don’t know the answer. I mean, regardless of what you’re doing with your body, you should still be owning up to the fact that you don’t know the answer, audiences appreciate honesty. Don’t do the bullshitting thing, that’ll never work in your favour. But if you can be present enough in the moment to choose to lean forward instead of letting your body do its own talking, then you’re suddenly giving a whole new response. One of interest, one of authority, one of engagement.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a better way to say ‘I don’t know’, and I think people will think better of you if you use it.

We can help guide people towards certain thoughts by the language we use, the body language we display as we say it, and the tone of voice we use when we’re saying it. So if anyone tells you you have no control over what people are thinking, send them to me so I can explain it’s bullshit to them too.

Lie number three has to do with the way you talk. We all hate the sound of our own voices the first time we hear them from the outside only, but what if you speak fast or have an accent? Sometimes that makes that dislike even worse. Depending on how you speak, you may think you sound stupid, particularly as certain accents have historically been ridiculed and are associated with many bad jokes about stupid people. Again with the bullshit.

The only time an accent or way of speaking is a problem is if it hinders understanding, I mean isn’t that the whole point about talking? You’re not actually doing it to hear your own voice, you’re doing it to connect and communicate with other people. 

Again, there are things you can do to help. Work on softening your accent if it’s a particularly thick one and you’re not talking only to local audiences who’d have no trouble understanding it. If slowing down is a problem for you, try adding in more pauses instead - speaking quickly often isn’t actually the problem, the problem is that the words come too fast for people to processthem, adding in more pauses gives people that processing time so they can listen to what it is they’ve heard, meaning that speed is no longer an issue.

Fun fact, my accent is one of two I had growing up. I had this one so my Mum wouldn’t beat me up and a regional cockney accent at school so the kids wouldn’t beat me up. I made a decision in my  early twenties to keep this one and to work on refining it further. Accents are actually something you can work at changing entirely or just refine in a way to make communication easier, if you feel you need it. But often, you’re getting in your own way, and it goes back to that looking and sounding different to the people you see on video. You’re allowed to be different, in fact I encourage it, it helps you stand out.

Lie number four: you’re shit on camera.

Look, just like everyone’s afraid, everyone’s shit in the beginning. I haven’t met a single person that’s told me they loved going on camera from the start and were amazeballs at it from their first go. There’s a learning curve to video, just like there is to everything in this world. There’s no shame in needing to go through that learning curve, however long that takes you.

There’s mindset shifts that need to be made around video, and for some of us there’s a lot of them and they involve deeply held limiting beliefs. It’s not as easy as showing up on camera and pretending to be someone else, that’s acting, that’s not what we do as online business owners. You don’t want to be putting on an image on camera just because you think you should, you should be putting an image on camera that’s you. The great thing about video is that it’s very hard to be someone else, but if you’re trying to show up as someone not you then you’re going to run into trust issues because your audience will know there’s something fake going on.  

Give yourself permission to be shit on camera. Really embrace it, enjoy it. Have a good laugh about it and make it something you don’t beat yourself up over. Make it something more likely to help you keep getting on camera instead of something that’s scarring and stops you ever going on camera again. That’s not productive. Turn it into a learning experience, because you have to learn to get better. And remember, you don’t actually have to put your first videos up for everyone to see, I think sometimes people forget that you can have a private learning curve in the beginning, so long as you continue to move towards the goal of sharing them, then you’re golden.

And lie number five: you don’t know enough to be interesting.

Ah, sweet sweet bollocks.

Firstly, you don’t have to know everything to know enough to be interesting.

Secondly, you know your shit, I know you do. You’re a fantastic, well-rounded, capable individual who’s running a business. You may not know as much as the person you’re comparing yourself to but that in no way means you don’t know enough. Comparison is a waste of time, not only because you have no idea what’s actually happening behind the scenes, but also because your experience and their experience is different. Not to mention, they may have been doing their thing longer than you, this happens. You can’t compare your start to someone else’s middle, that’s not fair on you.

What people often mean when they tell me they don’t know enough to be interesting, is that they’re worried they’re not interesting to watch. And that, my friend, is a whole different ballgame. But just like being able to control what impression you give to help guide people’s thoughts, you can control how you appear on camera so that you’re engaging to your audience. Practice makes … well not perfect, because who relates to perfect? No one, that’s who. But practice makes for someone who’s amazing on camera, and I want that to be you.

So these myths about going on camera, stop believing them because they’re really not true. Embrace who you are, create an intentional impact, learn to communicate effectively, and throw yourself at that learning curve with joyous abandon. But most importantly, stop putting off getting on camera.

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If you're not getting on camera for your business, it's a good chance it's because you believe one of these 5 myths about being on camera. This week on the #videomatterspodcast, I dive into why they're wrong