Yesterday I posted about my interview about our upcoming E-Eloquence Workshop on KOHD’s Daybreak program. In that post, I talked about how fun it was and how cool Lauren Biskind is and generally rah-rah’d about the whole experience. I stand by that – it was all those things. When I read over that post last night, though, I realize I didn’t say anything about how nerve-racking the experience was for me. Which seems odd since I was crazily nervous leading up to, and even during, the interview.
I’m one of those people that often doesn’t even know how nervous they are. I realize this isn’t very self-reflective of me but I think it’s a coping mechanism and it serves me pretty well, especially considering my profession. So, when even I know that I am crazily nervous I know it’s serious. Unfortunately, this makes me more nervous. It’s a bad cycle and I don’t recommend it. That said, I noticed this time (and previous times of high nerves confirm this) that there were a few strategies that really helped. So, I thought I’d pass ‘em along:
1. Ignore It. This is the one I think I unconsciously employ most of the time. I found with this TV thing that even doing it consciously really helps. I remember being in the kitchen practicing my “party pitch” (more on this in an upcoming post) when I would begin to feel really nervous. I’d say to myself, “okay, so you’re nervous. Ignore it.” Then the feeling would dissipate to a low-level discomfort – sometimes it would even go away entirely for a blissful few minutes. Miraculous!
2. Practice a lot, with support. I went over my party pitch (essentially, the answer to “what do you do?”) one zillion times. Of course, Lauren Biskind didn’t ask me this question so I never had to use it, but I noticed that every time my husband asked me (usually randomly and unexpectedly, which was a cool way to challenge my conversational style party pitch) I got even better at saying it.
3. Breathe. I always tell my public-speaking students that this is their most readily available tool as they deal with the jitters that usually arrive right before you are about to speak. The bummer is, now that I am not teaching public speaking for a bit, I forgot my favorite piece of advice. I was pretty out of breath during those first 30 seconds of the interview, until I took a (somewhat obvious but I like to think relatively “understated”) belly breath. Then I felt soo much better.
5. Arrive early – but not too early. I think this one worked out to my best advantage at the KOHD interview. I got there about 17 minutes before the interview (I can’t take credit – they had me come at that time). It was plenty of time to go to the bathroom (it’s amazing how fearful one can be about having to go to the bathroom during a four-minute interview), check my teeth for stray breakfast items (critical!), and frustratingly balance my almost-too-long bangs at the perfect spot between my eyebrow and the rest of my hairdo. Then I got to hang in the control room and watch them do the unbelievable fancy dance of putting on a news show (the time-sensitivity seems beyond stressful). By the time Lauren came out to chat with me, I was feeling reasonably put together and just absorbed enough in the workings of the TV station to be feeling pretty good.
6. Wear something comfortable and lovely. I worried about what to wear ad nauseum. Particularly annoying because, as evidenced by my less-than-fashion-forward wardrobe, I don’t usually think a ton about my outfits. This left me particularly perplexed. I read the advice on what colors (not red, white & black) and prints (none, mostly) work best on TV. By the time I did all the research, I was all frazzled and all I could see was the vast array of flowered prints in my closet (who knew I was such a flower print fiend?) So, I shopped and landed on a lovely jade green ensemble that I felt really comfy in and thought looked pretty. It helped, feeling pretty-ish and comfy sitting there in that too high, spinny chair that left me nowhere to put my dangly foot. (looking at video, next time I’ll think over how bunchy my outfit looks sitting down – but I can get over that this round.)
I think that sums up the main anxiety-reducing tips I’d pass along from my experience of being in a 4-minute interview on TV. I still think the experience was fabulous and it definitely increased my website traffic. Plus, now I know I can do this TV thing.
One cool thing is that it’s easy to forget how nervous you were when the thrill of having it over-with (and nothing having gone totally awry) arrives. And this is a gift, really, because it makes you want to do this kind of high-exposure thing again. Exposure grows business – and that’s the idea.
So, KOHD or any other TV station, I’m ready when you are! Let me know when I can come have a public conversation with one of your lovely people. (FYI – not that you care -next time, I’m wearing something sleek and black – like Lauren Biskind.)