Many people have been have been inspired by the buzz about a very recognizable TV producer’s search for the next big TV show host! If this sounds familiar, you already know I am talking about Oprah. Whether you are going for Oprah’s contest, or you have your sights set on other networks that would be more appropriate to you than Oprah’s OWN network, shooting that pitch video is a great idea. But it can be tricky!
There are a few essential things that you should know; some of these things are insider realities from the casting perspective. I’ve been on that side, looking for star talent that will blow my project out of the water, and I can tell you the brutal realities of what it’s like in that seat! So many things can make or break your video pitch:
Put your best stuff up front.
This comes from that casting office perspective that I mentioned earlier. Just like any presentation, consider your audience first. In this case, the “audience” is a busy casting office, and, specifically, a poor chap who has been sitting in font of his monitor watching hundreds of faces talking at him for many hours.
Casting reality check: Producers like Oprah don’t sit through all the submission; all videos are screened and only the most promising make it to the producer at all!
The folks at the casting office want you to be great, but they need you to be great fast. Imagine how long it would take if they actually watched every video all the way through? It doesn’t happen, so don’t try to be “artsy” or “different” and put your best stuff at the 2 minutes-and-thirty second mark…it will not get seen.
Take your first 20 seconds and fill them with energy, ideas and whatever makes you different! Show that passion, and show the possibilities for many years of programming! Remember, your idea needs to be long-lasting, and if it can reach other countries, so much better! Think big picture.
Don’t forget to show your personality and humor; producers want your show to last for a long time, but they are human, too, and would prefer to work with someone they like!
Tried and True Tips to Command Attention
Do you know someone that enters a room with flair? They don’t just slide in…but they command a certain amount of attention and recognition. People will glance at this newcomer as they walk by. If they have not been introduced, chances are they soon will be. (Being drop dead gorgeous is not the prerequisite to create this phenomenon, by the way.)
On a stage, on TV, in networking events or a small dinner party, being in control of your space is the platform from which you can send out clear and highly effective messages. It is the very foundation that can support any conversation or call to action and command respect from those around you.
Without this foundation your message is like a house built on sand; it may look pretty, but might not be trusted all that quickly.
So, how to you achieve and better yet, maintain this owning of your space? There are oh so many layers to this answer and many situations that can threaten your ownership as well… each of them could be a course in itself. For instance: How do you handle an aggressive reporter during an interview? How do you handle audience members that are in private conversation without giving up an ounce of your authority? So many unexpected circumstances and interruptions can knock a person off their foundation, but some basic principles will carry the weight of the burden, even in the challenging times. Often the best, established speakers go back every once in a while and examine how thoroughly they are using these principles.
Today, I’ll share three of these principles with you.
Think of these as the mortar that holds the bricks together in your foundation!
Even the seasoned communicators can falter on occasion by neglecting the basic principles. We have all heard that 80% of all communication is, in fact, not what we say, but how we say it. It never hurts to review ourselves on video and evaluate!
These principles are the first steps to owning the room before you even step on the stage!
Have you ever noticed how some of the best motivational speakers seem to have trouble completing a thought?
It’s not that they don’t know what to say, but I’m referring to the way some will leave a sentence hanging in anticipation of the audience completing it: For example, a speaker might say, “ You’ve got to be hungry like a _______” (He pauses and the audience finishes his thought by chiming in, “wolf!”).
Audience participation in a live presentation not only keeps the listeners engaged and feeds the energy level in the room. It has also been proven to greatly improve retention.
Another easy way to encourage audience participation is to ask questions, and ask for a show of hands. Questions not only stimulate mental alertness, but the physical movement of the raising of hands boost’s the group’s energy. Internationally acclaimed speaker, Les Brown asks for a show of hands throughout his presentations, and the feeling in the audience is that you are actively engaging in conversation with Les.
How do you create that feeling of connection when a camera lens seems to distance your audience from you?
First, I invite you to realize that speaking to a camera, or appearing on TV can be a much more intimate experience for an audience, for two reasons:
1. They literally are looking at you more closely. Nothing like a close-up in HD to send you back to the makeup table! But seriously, TV is perceived to be a more natural conversational distance to the viewer than a speaker on a platform.
2. Empathy is easier when subtle expressions can be seen. If you are looking into the lens and speaking to your audience with sincerity they can feel as though you are speaking only to them. It can be powerful.
Connection, ok, but “audience participation”? There’s no way to accomplish that with TV or Video viewers, right?
As a host, guest expert, or star of your website video or DVD course you have a “call to action” or something that you want your audience to think about, or do. It may to pick up the phone and donate, to buy your book, or start investing in real estate. The action that you successfully move them to is audience participation! You want to influence them to change something in their life.
Your ability to influence others through your appearance on their TV or computer screen is directly related to three things:
1. Your energy level. Keep it high! This is so crucial. I cannot emphasis it enough. It is the most common problem I see as a media trainer.
2. Entertainment value. Find the humor. You certainly don’t need to do a stand up routine; in fact, jokes can be risky, but people love to laugh. Tip: If your subject is a serious one, search to find the lightness in your story somehow; it creates a comfort level so that your message can get through and affect your audience.
3. Give them what they want. Don’t forget, human nature is to always evaluate a message by asking, “What’s in it for me?” Let them know how you can make their life better, and let them know quickly! In a web video, for instance, you have less than 7 seconds to engage a visitor or they will click off, and be forever lost!
With the proper message, skilled delivery and appropriate marketing, your message can literally affect millions through a camera lens. You may not be able to see the show of hands, or hear the viewer’s voice right away, but you can change people’s lives through your story. You can move your audience to make a change for the better, and that is the best audience participation you can ask for!
Keep the resistance to a minimum by incorporating these elements
The Olympic sled racers inspire me. How meticulously they must train to eliminate every bit of resistance in order to win, and victory often is determined in mere portions of a second!
To be a champion in our chosen field, we should be meticulous, too, with our words. Every time we have the opportunity to talk about our expertise, we are either creating a flow of energy around us that will streamline our path to our goals, or it will create resistance that we must then work to overcome.
Streamlined sounds much better, doesn’t it?
It is impossible to eliminate all the bumps in the track, but if you include these basic elements when you talk to the media, mingle at networking events or get interviewed those bumps can propel you forward or hardly slow you at all.
We have heard the phrase, “God doesn’t make junk,” but do we realize how divinely equipped we each are? Do we wake up in the morning and see a reflection of God’s best work in our mirror, or do we focus on the negative? Do we see only the things that we would like to improve in our lives instead of the gifts we innately have? So often, we see only those few pounds of weight that never seems to leave us or the friend that doesn’t call anymore or that big break that never seems to come. We can magnify these negative things until they become beliefs, and fear is nourished by negative beliefs.
I have caught myself being pulled into that way of thinking, but my higher consciousness, or, as I like to say “my smarter self,” knows nothing positive will come of it. That’s when I remind myself that we are all “divinely and wonderfully made.” Until I accept this as fact, I am starving the Spirit and standing in my own way.
In my profession, I help people overcome one of the biggest fears known to man: the fear of public speaking and its dear cousin: fear of speaking on camera. Fears are created and conquered in the mind first therefore; the biggest obstacle to overcoming the fear of speaking on camera or in public is the belief that we are not ready. It is my job, and my good pleasure, to show people that if they have the desire to share their message with an audience, then they are probably already divinely equipped to do just that.
When we stand in our own way, we stand in the way of what could be God’s plan for us. So, what does standing in our own way really look like in the mind? Here are few things I’ve learned along the way in overcoming my own obstacles and in working with others:
We have all heard the acronym, “F.E.A.R. as False Evidence Appearing Real.” So here’s the good news about conquering those fears we’ve been discussing: they are all false until you believe them!
Previously I mentioned my belief that if we have the desire to share a message about something, then there is already a natural ability given to us to connect to exactly the audience that needs to hear it. I absolutely believe in preparing your skills as a communicator, and that there is great value in researching your target audience… this way you are sure to be reaching those that are most ready for what you are offering. These are things that a professional media trainer or coach can assist with. While there is true value in learning the art of speaking, the foundational strength to any charismatic communicator is the passion for their subject and the authenticity with which they share that passion. Any training on the art of presenting is icing on the cake, but the batter is made of basic ingredients: passion and authenticity.
Here are a few tips to consider when preparing for an opportunity to speak that may help alleviate some fear and increase confidence:
When you allow your passion, and your purpose to be a gift to others, you have no room for the negative thoughts that create fear. One of my business coaches said, “When you enter a dark room, and flip a light switch, the light dispels the dark with out us even questioning how.” You are divinely equipped so, flip the switch and allow your true light to dispel your fears.
Service. I used to look at the word differently. Of course, I appreciated great service when I received it in a restaurant or hotel, but I didn’t associate the word with service to others in regards to what I can do for them. My appreciation of service has become more pronounced because of my venture into the entrepreneurial world; as I observe the most successful and charismatic public figures, I can’t help but observe that I am undeniably drawn to those that give back. I am particularly aware of those that first serve the world with their talent and then share those blessings in charity.
We all know people like this. When asked to picture someone that fits this description, you may immediately think of someone in ministry or military, but how about the business professional that actively looks to serve?
War hero, Nathan Hale said, “I am not influenced by the expectation of promotion or pecuniary reward. I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary for the public good, becomes honorable by being necessary.”
What vital service do you provide? How can you help people? How do you find the recipients that your talents would best serve?
Service. Imagine if you were to approach every opportunity to promote what you do with that in mind first? We may consider it a lovely thought, but can it be manifested into reality? It makes sense, that as a business professional, your focus might be on the possible rewards from a media opportunity, large networking function or an important studio pitch meeting. But when you enter those events with a new mindset of servitude, the payoff can be amazing on a personal and professional level.
Think about this: Have you ever met someone that you admired, and they asked about you? A friend once related a story about a major recording star that he shared a moment with. The country-music artist had a song that my friend had associated with the loss of his daughter. He met the star, and the thing that amazed him most about Garth Brooks was not his obvious talent, but his attitude of servitude. Songwriting is an expression of emotions that others may not be able to articulate and can sometimes heal the soul. Garth embraced that.
What talents do you possess that might lead to a healing or a breakthrough for someone?
A prosperous life and financial resources can be a great reward, but our eyes needn’t always be on the reward to receive it. If we focus on serving others first, we might temporarily lose sight of the reward, but when the time is right-it is all that more glorious!
How to avoid a common mistake in storytelling
Are you a specialist in your field? Do you have a way of working, coaching, developing a product or creating art that is so unique that you can’t wait to talk about it? That’s fantastic! There are people eagerly awaiting your story, and hungry for what you have to offer. The trick is not to bore them before they get to the good stuff about you!
We all have experienced the situation that I am talking about; You simple ask, “ what is it you do?” to a new acquaintance and what seems like an eternity later, the flood of information is still rising and you are searching the room for a rescue.
Well-intentioned as this person may be, they suffer from what my husband has termed “lack of situational awareness”.
We certainly don’t want to think that we could ever be that person (heaven forbid!) but there is an awareness that we need to have when we develop our stories; I am speaking specifically of stories that we tell about ourselves, what we do, and how we help others. These stories are crucial to the success of entrepreneurs, authors, coaches… really anyone that wants to be successful and influence others.
The key is to keep your story succinct. Follow this easy template:
The most difficult of these steps for most enthusiastic professionals is the third one, “what did you do?” (This is where “succinct” gets forgotten) This step is the most difficult because a specialist loves what they do, and wants to proudly say “how” they do it. Problem is, the listener, at least initially, is more attracted to “what was the result?” Don’t forget, it is human nature to constantly use the filtering question, “what’s in it for me?” Drown your listener with your “process” and they won’t see the payoff quickly enough, and they zone out. Eyes glaze over and a polite exit from the conversation will most likely me next.
To prevent that disconnect, learn to be aware of when you go into “process.”
A woman named Liza runs an alcohol recovery program. She proudly tells: “ A 21 year old man was brought to me; he was living on the streets, hungry and very thin and truly didn’t know how he would survive the next night, I introduced him to our unique program and within months he learned that he could contribute greatly to society, and now owns a business, and a home and is living a life he could not imagine just two years ago!”
Curious about that program, huh? Notice, nothing is said about the process of what she does… the experience of the young man’s recovery is engaging, and we are left to ask the question, “ wow, what is this program?” If you get the listener to want to know more, then you have permission to go into what your process actually is.
Had Liza gone into detail right in the beginning, “ we placed in him a room in our facility where there was 24 hour watch, and provided him with nutritional testing, and a need-specific diet. We engaged him in group session and single therapy sessions on a daily basis until…. ( blah blah…uh huh), how many people would be ready to ask for more information? There would be no need, and the experience of the man’s story would have been diluted by excess of words.
It takes some practice to understand what “process” tallk sounds like… I had a coach that would call me on it! Every time I would start to describe the “How I do It” she would shout, “process!” (And I would hate her momentarily… but, it helped!)
Focus on the experience of what you do. Let them see how you can help them, their company, their loved one. Then, let them ask for more.
Watching others present and host can create a false need to be like them, and we may not even realize that we are creating that expectation for ourselves!
You have uniqueness and your own style and presence that cannot be duplicated, and so do the people that you are watching. Don’t misunderstand, admiration is fine and appreciation of talent is great. Watching great communicators can be a powerful bit of homework when you are training to be excellent in that area yourself!
The trick to freeing your charisma comes from the ability to blend what you appreciate in others with your own attributes that no one else processes. Sometimes it takes someone on the outside with a trained eye to help you do just that.
As a media trainer it is sometimes my biggest challenge and the most rewarding aspect of what I do.
Experience how it feels to free the flow of your natural Charisma and its power of attraction with our private sessions and workshops. http://www.charismaoncamera.com/Classes_Workshops.html
Need to know more? Contact me at Sandra@charismaoncamera.com, or 866 -672-3818. I’ll book your free phone consultation to determine if our training will benefit you!
I have been at odds with a crooked palm tree for a long time.
Every time I would enter my bedroom, my eyes would inevitably focus on this plant and I would sigh in irritation. For whatever reason this palm has grown sideways, twisted, and then just slightly upward. It defies the rule of a straight and majestic palm. It was not pretty to me. Since I can’t discard a living thing, I placed it in the master bedroom because it was less likely to be seen by guests. That decision prompted the lesson because I inadvertently positioned it in my eye line every day.
In truth, I saw it as a representation of how off-course parts of my life were. I had new business ventures and my learning curve resembled the path of an arcade pinball. Some days I would be right on track, then an unforeseen challenge would knock me to the side and I’d want to start all over. The tree mocked me. I scowled at it. I wished it straight. Then I’d wish it dead. I imagined how pretty that area of the room would be with a lovely “perfect” tree in its place. It taunted me daily.
Just this past weekend, we had several plants treated to their much-needed repotting and feeding; as the crooked palm was lifted back inside the house I was sitting with my business coach. I saw her eyes glance toward the offensive plant and I immediately quipped, “ I don’t know what to do with that, It’s so ugly. I don’t know why it has grown like that.”
Her simply stated response was filled with the type of wisdom that comes naturally to a great coach. With an appreciative evaluation of the twisted trunk, she said, “It’s not ugly. Think of it as a lovely symbol of how the path to success is not a straight one, but as long as you are still growing, success is still being achieved.”
I contemplated the tree with this new filter.
Certainly, this palm was persevering, despite the odds that caused its deformity in the past. The leaves were bright and fresh green could be seen as new shoots were sprouting. It was still reaching for the sky, undaunted. It was really something beautiful.
I love this tree now.
How many times do we sigh in disgust at our perceived inadequacies, or try to hide our flaws at the cost of the progressive experience of learning to accept ourselves, as we are, where we are. I’ll admit I’m guilty.
I work with very smart, successful, talented individuals to overcome inaccurate perceptions of their shortcomings every day (Almost nothing can help with this better than a camera lens). Often, the very thing that we think of as an obvious personal weakness is part of our uniqueness that is so attractive to others.
A nursing professional doing an informative video for others in her field need not worry that she doesn’t have the polish and cadence of an entertainment reporter; it’s her down-to earth approach to her information and her subtle, honest humor that will create a comfort level with her particular audience. She is perfectly equipped.
I always recommend media training to really share information efficiently, of course, but I also firmly believe that we are perfectly and divinely gifted with the individual characteristics that enable us to best communicate with our desired audience. Our perception may be the only thing standing in the way of our greatness. Sometimes it takes an outsider to help us appreciate our most beautiful assets.
Where are the beautiful crooked trees in your life?