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7 Easy Strategies for Overcoming Your Fear of Being on Camera

Becoming a pro at facing the camera takes time and practice.

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I was a painfully introverted geeky sound engineer who was only comfortable behind my laptop. I stumbled into internet marketing after I recognized the unbeatable power of video while learning from different courses. It struck me that this was a medium that I had to explore. But how would I get rid of my crippling camera anxiety? How would I get out of my own head?

Today, after recording more than 1,000 videos and more than 700 webinar courses online, I believe videos are the fastest way to establish trust and rapport with an audience. Now I can literally jump out of bed and record a 20-minute video without breaking into a sweat.

It didn’t happen overnight. Overcoming my awkwardness took a while. Confidence is something that has to come from inside. There's no magic bullet or special technique that can make you confident other than working on yourself. The way exercising at a gym helps build muscles, self-confidence can be built. Yes, the first few days in the gym are painful and that's how the initial process of facing the camera will feel. The difference is you work relentlessly on your mindset to bring out that new level of confidence.

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Here’s what worked for me:

Anchoring

There is a neuro-linguistic program (NLP) technique that is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and panic attacks. You need to develop a mental anchor to overcome your apprehension and unease to get yourself back into balance. This could be a picture you can look at, a ring you can touch or even a memory you can relive so that your brain will experience those positive feelings. It could be the specific moment you won an award and the adrenaline rush experienced when you smiled and held it in your hands. Set the intention to capture that exact feeling when you face the camera and you’ll see your confidence soar. Instead of dwelling in your nervousness, you're invoking the energy of accomplishment and achievement that flows into you. 

Practice

You do feel vulnerable when you record a video. It’s almost as challenging as public speaking without the feedback of a live audience. But quell those butterflies in your stomach; just do it anyway. There's always a starting point. Forget about not being photogenic, don’t concentrate on your flaws.  Every single person starts from ground zero. We all get jittery. We may freeze, but that is part of being human. Practice. Practice. Practice. Commit to making one video every day for a month. Watch a couple of your earliest attempts and correct any changes in body language if you need to. I love to say this: whenever you feel nervous, think about service. You’ll be helping someone out there.

Prepping content

You don't have to fear being judged as long as you're providing value to your viewers. To use the muscle analogy again, if you’re a regular at a gym and someone asks you the best way to build biceps. You'll be knowledgeable enough and have the confidence to speak about it because you have been working hard at it. It hasn’t come from reading a book or blog or watching a video. If you have a strong internal game, all it's going to take is a calm state of mind for you to bring out that good stuff spontaneously. You have done your homework and you know all the hot buttons to push. Just don’t procrastinate. Don't overthink it. Don't get into analysis paralysis. It’s not about you, it’s what you have to share.

Get comfortable

Find a familiar space, perhaps your study or a quiet corner in your bedroom where you can work undisturbed. Eliminate all distractions so you can focus on recording a video without pop-ups appearing on your screen or someone walking in when your red recording light is flashing. Initially read your piece aloud and reduce it to maybe three or four bullet points of the concept you need to present and make sure you don’t miss anything while you talk. 

Take a few deep breaths and get more oxygen into your body. Make a conscious effort to slow down your speech so you don’t sound squeaky. You will feel calmer when you have a manageable rhythm. Your viewers can always play it at up to two times the speed if they prefer.

Talk with confidence as though you’re sharing your thoughts with a good friend. Keep a steady gaze and imagine there’s someone watching on the other end who you’re making frequent eye contact with. This will make it feel like a two-sided conversation. Sit up straight but don’t be stiff — do some stretches before you start. 

Will your video be scripted or is it spontaneous? I prefer the latter. Keep the more human moments in your videos rather than editing them out. Just set the intention and let it flow. That's why spontaneity always works. If you goof up, that's fine. If you’re stuck, it’s not the end of the world. But just keep moving on. Small mistakes give everyone permission to be human. Instead, it will make your video more engaging.

Try doing it in a single take to keep it raw and real. The audience will sense the passion and excitement you convey when you talk from your heart. The right topic can give power to your voice.

Related: How to Overcome the Fear of Being on Camera

Dress right

Pick a few clothes in basic colors that you like and make you feel at ease. Avoid any print that’s too busy. You don’t want the viewer's eyes to be distracted. Pick something that you feel confident wearing or something that brings back good memories.

Smile

The more you smile, the more you will relax and appear natural on camera. Fake it to make it. While it may feel strange at first, try thinking of something funny to lighten your mood. Be as well-groomed as you can and let your body language be open. Your inner agitation will vanish

Relax and be yourself: Don’t take yourself too seriously or worry too much about other people’s opinions. An opinion is not a fact. Your strength is you are an average person in whom others can see themselves. You're at a level where you know what you really want out of life. You know your priorities. You have established your core values by which you want to live your life. So, it's just maintaining that shield of armor around you. From your tone of voice and body language, your audience will get a sense of your conviction and commitment. This is true charisma.

Intent

The experiences from our own lives teach us the lessons that we'll be able to share with others. Remind yourself that your videos are authentic. They are helpful as a way to communicate. They’re not meant to be perfectly produced.

For your videos to improve, keep acknowledging even the small wins and move forward. Your charisma comes from your intentions and what you stand for.

It is not about how impressive your vocabulary is. It's not about how many awards you’ve won. It isn’t even about communication skills. If you set out to climb a mountain and keep focusing on the peak all the time, you’re going to get really, really scared. But if you just look at the peak once and fix that as your goal, you just take the next step. And the next step. And the next. Before you know it, you're going to be at the peak.

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