How to Overcome Being Nervous on Video


By Pam Terry

Whenever I give a workshop on public speaking, I always enjoy asking, “How many people here like to see themselves on video?” Nearly 100 percent of the time, absolutely no one raises their hand! In spite of not enjoying watching yourself on video, one of the best ways to practice a presentation is to watch a video of you doing one. Even if it is for only a couple of minutes, you need to watch what you’re doing and hear what you sound like. Why? So that you can decide what you want to keep doing and what you want to stop doing. It’s a great way to really “see” what to improve. Plus, you may find that you actually like what you see. The curious thing is that the more you see yourself on video, the more you’re likely to think, “Hey, I’m not so bad after all. In fact, I’m pretty good!”

Alas, we get nervous presenting in public and on video it’s even worse! Why are you even more nervous when being videotaped? Because the presentation is never over; it can be replayed again and again and again. But, ask yourself, “Who are you comparing yourself to?” It’s a total waste of time to compare yourself to anyone else because it can cause lots of unhappiness. Only compare yourself to yourself. The key to overcoming nervousness on video is to build your confidence because fear/anxiety/nervousness cannot exist when you are truly confident.
Here’s how:


75% of anxiety/nervousness can be eliminated by just preparing. Make a list or outline of the 3, 5, or 7 things that you are going to share that include your introduction and close.


You are the expert. The more you share your knowledge, the more confident you become. In other words, become extremely familiar with your content so that you can confidently share it. You can have an outline to keep you focused but you want to spend your time either looking at the camera or looking straight ahead as if you were speaking to an audience. If you do have an outline, have it up next to the camera so that you can keep your head up or use a teleprompter. (There are free teleprompters online.)


Presenting is not about the presenter. It’s about the audience. Thoughts about not being good enough (whatever your version is) cause anxiety and nervousness; the reasons don’t matter because it could be any reason. It’s what you’re thinking that matters. Change your thoughts because whatever you focus on becomes your life. If you focus on how bad you are, that’s what you will get to feel like. Instead, remember N­C­F: Notice your anxiety or nervousness. Consciously shift your thoughts/focus off of you. Focus on the valuable content that you are going to provide and get busy preparing and practicing. Every time you feel nervous, remember to repeat the steps of N­C­F. You are developing a new way of being and it can take some practice. By repeating N­C­F whenever you are nervous, you will develop a new habit and over time, the ability to shift your focus off of you will become automatic. Try it!


What do you do if you freeze up during your presentation? Do you start having those anxiety thoughts again? Pause and take a breath to give yourself a chance to regain your composure and pull your thoughts back together. The power of the pause is very effective. Your audience doesn’t know what’s really going on. Pausing is a good attention getter. It actually is a tool for engaging your audience and can be used for emphasis.


Looking and feeling your best means just that. It doesn’t mean that you should compare yourself to anyone else except you. Wear a color that pops on camera or at least looks good on you. Do all that you can do to look good and feel good and then let loose. Don’t waste your time trying to be perfect. No one is perfect and anyone who appears perfect is difficult to relate to. So be comforted knowing that no one can be you better than you.


Join a video challenge or start one with your own community. By doing video on a regular basis, you will gain experience, knowledge, and confidence. You’ll learn things that work and don’t work. Experience can be a great confidence builder. Take any opportunity you can to be on video by participating in Google Hangouts, video conferencing, posting videos on your blog, and videotaping every speaking engagement you do. Invest in a good web camera or standalone video camera and tripod.

In addition to public speaking, Pam Terry is a coach, trainer, and marketing strategist. You can reach Pam by phone at 832­276­4153 or by email at For more information, please visit her website at


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