Getting comfortable and confident on camera can be hardest for the introverts amongst us, myself being one of them. Here are the 10 steps I worked out to help me through the process.
The Daunting Decision
So you’ve decided to create videos to promote your business. Maybe you even tried recording a few, but every time you watch it back, you cringe.
You think, “Is that me? Is that what I sound like? Look like?”
Then the fear rises. Maybe you start to think crazy things like “How can I do this? I can’t do this”
Believe me when I tell you I’ve been there and more.
Stress eating chocolate helped a little, but it didn’t exactly grow my business.
I wanted to promote my photography and video business, but how could I get people to trust me if I couldn’t get in front of the camera myself?
So, I got out of my introverted bubble. I stepped way outside my comfort zone, stood in front of a camera and hit record.
I was horrible. After the first hour of terrible footage I was in tears. But I wasn’t kept down for long. I was determined. If this was something I had to do for my business then I was going to make it happen.
I looked for help around the internet, but all I found were slick extroverts taunting me with their ‘3 steps to camera confidence’ that didn’t seem to take into account what I was feeling as an introvert, albeit a determined one.
So I spent the last 12 months working on getting better, teaching myself. Working out my own system that took into account my introverted ways.
These are my 10 steps. I have done them all, repeatedly. I still do them. Let me know if they work for you, or if you have other steps that work for you.
My 10 Steps
So here’s the part you probably scrolled straight to. My 10 steps. Now, I’ve separated them into three areas: Mindset, Approach and Practice. Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. It’s not about you!
Yes, get out of your own head. This is the first and one of the most important steps.
The biggest thing that causes you anxiety is that you are focused on yourself. How do you look? How do you sound? Will anyone even listen to you? You, you, you.
See where I’m going with this?
But, the minute you change the focus to the person you’re talking to, then the anxiety starts to dissipate. When you catch yourself thinking these thoughts, actively put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Who are they? What is their day like? What are they struggling with? How can you help with that? Are you providing a solution or simply some entertainment or a distraction from their life.
The minute you think only about the other person while creating content, the more you can focus on proving great information, being helpful and you won’t have time to wonder if anyone is watching or what they are thinking.
2. Visualise and Believe that you will get better than this
This can be the hardest step to master, especially in the beginning. Take the video I shot to go with this post. Right now as I write it, I hate it. I want to take it down. It definitely doesn’t feel good enough.
But that’s the thing. This feeling is only temporary. The more you practice the better it will get. We just have to get through this uncomfortable feeling. I say we, because I’m going through it right now, as I write this post.
The trick to getting through it, is to visualise yourself in the future, the not too distant future, being more confident, more relaxed, more personable, heck shining in front of that camera.
Picture your audience interacting with you, asking you questions, wanting to work with you.
3. Lower Your Expectations
This works in with the step above. If you’re going to be visualising yourself crushing it in a not too distant future, it helps to make sure you have realistic expectations of what crushing it will look like.
Every Youtuber, video maker, business person started somewhere. Remember ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ – I have no idea who said that but it is an extremely apt quote for what we’re dealing with here.
Don’t compare your humble beginnings with someone else who has years of experience behind them. Go and research their early work.
Check out Marie Forleo’s early videos. They are great content but still not quite as polished. Research Gary Vaynerchuck’s Youtube show ‘Ask Gary Vee’ from 2011 when he first started. You’ll see the content was good, the lighting not so great and it wasn’t anywhere near as polished as his current iteration.
Make sure you set yourself some realistic expectations for camera confidence.
4. Be kind to yourself
Now don’t roll your eyes. This is all part of the discomfort of learning to get better at a new skill. At times you won’t like what you create, but you need to be kind to yourself.
Make sure you look back at how far you’ve come. Don’t spend all your time focusing on all the things that are lacking. If you celebrate your accomplishments, it makes it much easier to move forward.
Also, everyone moves forward at different rates. So be kind to yourself.
5. Challenge negative thoughts
If you find yourself thinking things like ‘Who am I to do this?’ or ‘Who would even listen to me, anyway?’ or even more negative things along the lines of giving up you need to challenge those thoughts.
Write them down, and then write down all evidence to the contrary. Go through all of your client testimonials. Find all the information you can about all of your successes.
Believe me, it helps.
6. Treat the camera like a person
I know as a photographer a lot of what I do is distracting someone from the camera so that we can get the best, candid expressions. It’s so natural for most of us to tense up when we know a camera is on us, recording our every move.
If you can treat the camera like it is a person, it will feel more like you are talking to a person. Then, it will be far easier for your audience to connect with you.
Amy Schmittauer suggests putting a person’s face on the camera. Other tricks I’ve used is putting a friend behind the camera, so I have someone to focus on while talking, which improves my cadence and delivery.
7. Use your smartphone
If you check out my guide to getting started with the technology, I do suggest using a smartphone to get started with your video efforts.
However, in this situation, even if you have your normal camera, make use of your smartphone. Modern smartphones have great cameras and they are always handy.
It’s a fantastic way to get started practicing without getting distracted with equipment. You can just keep it in your bag or pocket and pull it out, click record and start practicing.
8. Don’t upload your early attempts – just focus on practicing
This point goes hand in hand with the one above. If you’re using your smartphone all the time to practice talking to a camera, then just focus on practice. Don’t muddy the waters with the intention to upload it anywhere.
You’ll see in the video above, that some of my practice did end up online as an example. That’s only because I wanted to show you that I have done all the steps in this guide.
It’s a lot easier to practice if you know noone is going to see it. You can be a lot more forgiving of your mistakes, when there isn’t any pressure to quickly get new content uploaded etc.
9. Starting a Podcast – or practice with audio only first
This step was a complete surprise to me. Now be aware, I’m not talking a full-on professionally produced podcast, but using an app on your phone called Anchor. It’s an easy click to record and click to upload the results.
Starting out in this easy way, allowed me to focus on talking, cadence, delivery and content. It also helped me to work through issues with um, ah and so as well as other filler words.
Even if you don’t want to record yourself on Anchor, you can use the microphone app that comes standard with your smartphone.
This might be an optional step for some readers, but for me it was invaluable.
10. Listen to Music
Have you seen the Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix? It shows behind the scenes of one of his big events.
Before he goes out on stage, he has a whole routine to get himself in ‘the zone’. He jumps in pools of hot water, cold water and there is music to get him psyched up to lead a crowd of thousands of people for hours.
Like Tony Robbins, you can find a song that helps you build confidence before venturing out of your comfort zone.
I’ve used this technique for calls with new customers, webinars, presentations and of course videos.
I have a song, that is my song. It represents me, my brand and perks me up. I feel confident just hearing it. I get in a mood of ‘I can handle anything’. It’s a brilliant way to psych yourself into the right mindset before recording.
Looking for more?
The hardest part of working through these steps is doing it alone. If you’re looking for support as you tackle this hurdle in your business register your interest for my next Camera Confidence short course. [link]
Opt-in: Ultimate Guide to Getting Comfortable in Front of the Camera: For Introverts
- It has more of this but more details on working through the blocks
- Checklist for getting ready for filming – mindset / mentally wise