Fear of speaking on camera is one of the most common complaints that I hear! Often it feels insurmountable, but I’m here to promise you that you can overcome this phobia! One of the most important ways to address a fear is by practicing a lot—by confronting your fear in lower-stakes situations, you can start working through it so that when you need to be on camera for important events, you are better prepared.
In addition, this also helps train your body. When we are afraid, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in (this is the same thing that triggers fight/flight/freeze responses. When you are in a high stakes situation, your body is anxious and already primed to go into emergency mode. By practicing something that you fear, you literally train your parasympathetic nervous system to understand that the trigger is not actually something it needs to be protecting you from.
At the same time, practicing being on camera can be tough! Here are three tips to help you find ways to practice your on-screen skills:
Connect with a Coach
A really great way to get practice and good feedback is to work with a coach. Video Coaching can be specialized to your specific needs, and you will have particular goals to work on. Perhaps most importantly, you can trust that the feedback you receive from a good coach will be relevant to your industry and specific needs and goals. (Want to work with me? I offer 8 week coaching packages!)
Network with Peers
There are many online networking groups available with a wide range of price points; these groups have many benefits beyond developing your on-camera skills, but that part shouldn’t be overlooked! Many networks have a combination of regular attendees and guests, and group discussions as well as one-on-ones, which means you get to interact in a variety of contexts. In addition, most networking groups have occasional presentations by the members, which gives you an opportunity to practice more formal presentation skills. Once you’ve built strong relationships, you may even ask specifically for input about your on-screen performance and things you can improve. However, first and foremost, having a regular meeting time that allows you to practice is a great opportunity to conquer your fear of speaking on camera and meet new people in your industry or local area!
Enlist the Help of Friends
If your fear of speaking on camera is making it difficult for you to more forward, reach out to friends for help. Even friends who aren’t familiar with your job duties—even friends who themselves hate being on camera!—will often be happy to help you get more accustomed to being on camera. They are also great options for things like finding the best clothing for your on-camera sessions and checking the lighting, sound quality, and space where you’re going to be presenting. Consider starting slow: dress like you would for work, but just video chat and have a normal conversation. Or do the reverse: dress in comfy clothes but try out your work presentation. If you will be speaking to groups of people, enlist that group chat of friends to have a video chat instead. It can be vulnerable to ask for help from friends, but you might be surprised at how eager they are to lend a hand!
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