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What is it about getting in front of a camera that petrifies us? I remember vividly in high school social studies we had to give a five minute no-notes presentation… and it would be video taped. It was a terrifying prospect, one that few of us did without much nerve wrecking and practice.  Five minutes and we couldn’t handle it. I was so nervous that I introduced the wrong person when I was asked to introduce the next speaker.

So what about promotional videos?

I recently had the privilege of performing video interviews of several people for a non-profit. This whole event gave me graphic flashbacks to the terror of that high school presentation.

Maybe I’m tooting my own horn, but on reviewing the videos for formatting, I realized that during each interview I was coaching and helping the speakers. They were unscripted. Some didn’t know they were going to get interviewed until moments before. Some clutched to the chair like it was about to take off. Others took on a cold scholarly tone.

The cure? I made fun of the situation. For the lady who was nervous because she didn’t get the questions ahead of time, I asked, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?” when she was getting too stiff. That got a bright beautiful grin out of her. When the camera made another lady shrink into a mouse-voice, I made jokes about tap dancing and my own camera follies.

We all get nervous. I suppose the camera represents all the hundreds of theoretical people who might be watching you later. Either way, it’s without a doubt that laughter is a beautiful cure.

Try it. You might find your smile and your presentation is softer and more genuine because of it.

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