Taming Your Inner Critic: Improving Yourself On-Camera

The most effective leaders have the special skill of turning their mistakes into opportunities to improve. But for many leaders, appearing on camera is a new and daunting challenge. In the process, things are bound to go wrong, and you will grow through trial and error. But if you are too hard on yourself, you can fall into a pit of frustration. You need to know when to tame your inner critic.

Personify Your Inner Critic

Personally, when my inner critic starts talking to me in a way that I would never speak to anyone else, not even my worst enemy, it’s time to give the critic the boot. A coach I once worked with suggested that I give my inner critic a persona, so I could talk to it and make it go away. In case you’re wondering, I’ve made my critic a villain with a handlebar mustache.

Be Objective About Your Shortcomings

You may feel like a master of public speaking, but video is a whole different ballgame. You have to approach it like you’re a beginner learning any new skill. Give yourself some slack, do your research, and prepare yourself for a few messy first tries.

Some people find it hard to look at their performances objectively. Either they see nothing wrong with their performance, or they have a hard time correcting their weaknesses. If this is the case, you might want to consult a trusted media professional. They can help you identify why your video performances are ineffective. It might be a habit of misleading body language, like crossed arms or a nervous tick. Or it might be that you get lost following a script and sound more natural speaking from bulleted ideas and topics.

Strong Performances Send Stronger Messages

The real goal of an on-camera appearance is not so much to unpack a bunch of facts or concepts. It’s more about using your authenticity to make an impression on viewers.

You’re going to do your best when you’re comfortable. Everybody has their own unique method for getting comfortable on camera—don’t let your inner critic tell you that success is impossible.

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“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


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