media trainer

Are you prepared for a Peloton-style crisis?

The Peloton crisis got me thinking…

What if something terrible happened to you?

Every organization is vulnerable to a crisis. On many levels.

If you ignore it – it doesn’t disappear.

An employee sends out a racist tweet. You lay off workers. Your CEO gets in a car crash. There’s video of an employee doing something illegal. Or your product kills someone in a popular TV show.

Maybe it’s not even your crisis – but a vendor or client of yours is having a crisis.

The media calls.

You need to answer them. And release an internal statement, or even better, a video.

You don’t know what to do or say.

There are three rules for crisis management to remember:

  1. Acknowledge the issue
  2. Take responsibility quickly (think Extreme Ownership Jocko Willink style)
  3. Overcorrect

The good news is, this is easier if you prepare.

So how do you prepare for the unexpected?

  1. Brainstorm for any possible crises that can affect your organization. Once you identify the possibilities, you will see there are steps you can take to prevent certain ones from happening. Do so.
  2. Identify your crisis team. Who are the people the team will look towards for guidance?
  3. Choose and train your spokesperson. This is BIG. Make sure the spokesperson is trained for a crisis and knows how to stay on message even while managing the hardest questions. Outline which spokesperson, if more than one, is handling which news outlet i.e. local and national news outlets, social media, newspaper, etc.
  4. Notification and monitoring. How are you going to notify employees, stakeholders, and the public?
  5. Develop your crisis messages. When everything hits the fan, having this mapped out will be hugely beneficial when time is of the essence.
  6. Assess and adapt messages. When the crisis is on… assess and adapt to the situation in real-time.
  7. Post-crisis: inspect. After the dust has settled, inspect how your team and organization handled the crisis and determine what could have been done better and faster.

The basic steps of effective crisis communications are not difficult, but they require work in order to minimize the damage.

The impact on your financial and reputation’s bottom line will be more severe if you do not plan.

Employees and other stakeholders won’t know what’s happening and will become confused and angry.

Your organization will be perceived as inept and possibly criminally negligent.

The media crisis will last MUCH longer.

Preparedness is KEY.

P.S. I just gave you a brief rundown of what to do in a crisis, but if you are really serious about crisis preparedness, check out this video where I go into more detail.

P.P.S. I’ve created a special program just for healthcare professionals who need media training so they can confidently show up on camera, attract more patients, move up in their careers, and let their expertise shine. If that is you or you know someone who can benefit from this, Learn More Here.

P.P.P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 more ways I can help you build your brand, own your voice, and stand out:

  1. Want more tactical advice you can implement today? Check out my blog here for great articles, stories, and lessons I’ve shared over the years.
  2. Looking for one-on-one coaching or a consultation with me? Schedule a complimentary call to speak to our team about how we can help you. Schedule your call here.
  3. Follow me on Instagram here for more media and public speaking tips, videos… and a little fun.

How to Land Your Company on the Today Show’s Website

People always ask me…

How do I get on TV?

How do I get my company mentioned in articles?

I know media mentions help my SEO, so how do I get legit ones?

I landed the first spot in an article on the Today Show’s website this week and thought I would share how I did it – with you.

How did I do it?

I’ve built relationships with many journalists because I’ve worked with many of them as a journalist… and some, I built organically by giving them valuable information that helps them with their work.

I follow them and keep my eye on what they are searching for.

I respond within minutes.

I only give them exactly what they want and how they want it delivered.

Here’s why this week’s placement worked:

Aly Walansky was looking for last-minute help on a National Cookie Day article she was writing that morning.

She specifically said she needed help now because she was posting her article that morning.

I reached out to Kerry Brown, the co-founder of eat G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. (they make my favorite cookie mixes).

She responded within MINUTES with exactly what I needed.

I sent it to Aly seconds later. 

BOOM, the next day, eat G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. was the top placement of Aly’s TodayShow.com article.

When you break it all down, it’s about two things:

1: Relationships

2: Speaking to the reporter where they are & how they want to be communicated with

#1 Relationships

I have relationships with reporters worldwide because I’ve worked with them side by side as a journalist… and guess what?

Reporters are people.

Just whipping off a press release to hundreds of emails doesn’t land you in the media.

Reporters receive hundreds of emails a day.

Do they know your name?

Do they trust you to have their back? (i.e. know what a good story is and not waste their time)

#2 Speak to the person where they are and how they want to be spoken to

Doesn’t this work for every relationship?
It works with reporters too (of course, because they are human beings).

I teach this in my media and public speaking training.

We need to give the reporter the information they need and the way they want to receive it.

When I present to big groups on media training, I’m always asked:

How do I send my information to the reporter?

How do they want images?’

How do they want video?

Even if you don’t have the exact answers, always ask yourself: what will make their job and day easier?

Here are some tips right from Aly Walansky, freelance food and travel journalist with Food Network, TODAY Show, Forbes, All Recipes, PopSugar, Men’s Health Magazine, Your Tango and Men’s Journal.

1: Label your pictures. Do not send images attached to an email with names like “image01” or “screenshot12.” This is especially true if you are sending a batch of images for various things at once. It’s also a great way of me using the wrong image for the wrong expert/product/menu item. It’s super helpful if your image file name in some way describes what is inside. For example, if you are sending me an image of an XYZ brand serrated knife, you may want to title that image XYZ-serrated-knife.jpg.”

2: Please don’t send me giant galleries of images and tell me that the image of that one specific dish or cocktail or product is “somewhere in there.” That too increases the possibility of me not finding it, or choosing the wrong one and then you needing to ask me to switch it out later.

3: If I do a call for pitches (like the ones below) and mention that something needs an image to be considered, please don’t skip that. I got tons of great cocktail pitches yesterday for the dessert cocktail story, but a good 20% did not include a needed element (the image, in most cases.)

4: I’m FULLY OK with you sending an image as a dropbox link or a google drive link instead of an attachment, and my inbox actually prefers it. Just make sure you do the aforementioned file-identifying so we’re all on the same page and there’s no confusion.

Aly Walansky has a newsletter you can sign up for if you want to know what kinds of stories she’s writing each day – and what companies she’s looking to feature. More and more freelance writers are doing this now. This is part of the work in building the relationships between you and the reporters you would like to work with… or you’re targeting. Find out how THEY like to communicate and talk to them there.

Could be Twitter. Lots of reporters search for experts there.

Find out where your favorite reporters hang out.

This is a lot like dating, right??

Go where they hang out. Go where they are comfortable communicating.

Do not make them uncomfortable by DMing them if they say they do not respond to DMs. But do they tweet publicly? Great! Then, tweet them.

Do they have a substack newsletter? Great! Sign up for it. And then follow the rules that they’ve outlined in their newsletter regarding how they like to take pitches.

This is so important.

Like dating, we do not cross the lines — or you won’t get that second date. I.e. Don’t show up in person at her work with flowers after the first date. 

But you can send cookies to her house and tell her she’s sweet 🙂 

Extra points if you know she has food nut and gluten allergies and you send these.

I hope this approach helps next time you are trying to get an article or TV placement, as it has for me and many of my clients in the past.

P.S. Here’s the link to those awesome G.A.N.G.S.T.E.R. cookie, cupcake and cake mixes if you want to get in on the National Cookie Day celebration this Saturday, December 4th… 

I Never Thought I Would Be an Entrepreneur

I never thought about owning my own business.
Entrepreneurialism.
Employing other people.
Managing their health insurance.
Business insurance.
Liability insurance.
Workers comp insurance.
Invoices.
Contracts.

Changing lives.
Helping people earn more money.
Showing clients how to move up in their careers.
Giving people their confidence back.
Changing someone’s mindset so they can achieve their goals.
Mentoring.
Creating more fulfilling lives for people.

Today is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
I never thought I would be an entrepreneur.

And why not?

I’m sitting here sipping a coffee and waiting for my daughter to wake up.

Our nanny will arrive in an hour and I’ll commute to work by walking to my office on the first floor.

I will arrive at 8am and my first client will be there on the computer.

I’m going to meet with people all over the world today.

I’ll write new media and public speaking training proposals for credit card companies, a TV network, an app, and a hospital system.

I’ll shoot a few social media ads and a YouTube video.

And at 4pm, I’ll take my family to the zoo to see the Christmas lights.

I’ll also work from Florida for several weeks this holiday season.

I created this.
I chose it.
And it worked out because it just depended on my own drive and willpower.

No internal approval process for all my contracts.
No long meetings and debates about content.

Oh, and I never have to wait to get my holiday time off (that I earned) approved.

And I control my margins and make more.

Makes me think… why wasn’t I taught this option in high school?

I can’t wait to show my daughter how to be an entrepreneur.

How to Communicate in a Public Speaking Presentation, Social Media & On Stage So You’re Remembered

You may know Scott Galloway for his new show coming up on CNN+, but he’s also got an e-learning platform called Section4 and I was honored to be asked to present at their Member Lightning Talks recently.
The topic was communication, and I was asked to discuss how to communicate so you stand out and are remembered by your audience – in public speaking engagements, on social media, and on stage.
 
Is this something you’re working on right now?
 
Here are three strategies to help you stand out when you communicate:
 
1. Know your audience
2. Edutain (be provocative)
3. Be vulnerable to be memorable
 
P.S. – Don’t forget to prepare and practice!
 
Want to delve deeper into these concepts? Here’s the video with my complete talk.
Transcript:

Kathryn Janicek: Let’s now talk about how to craft your messages that will actually resonate with your customer the most, whether you’re on video, it’s your website, it’s social media, if you’re on stage, or in the media. I’m Kathryn Janicek, I’m the Founder and Chief Strategist at Kathryn Janicek Productions. It’s a super creative name. I’ve had my company for about seven years, I train in media and public speaking. I am a former TV exec. I’ve been the media for 25 years and I’ve won three Emmy’s. I have been so honored to be able to take three of the section four classes and it’s just been amazing.

How can you stand out as a thought leader? How can you show up as the expert in your industry? In your field? How can you impress audiences, future customers, current customers, investors make them trust and like you? I’m going to give you three ways you can do that today. There’s so many ways, but one way is to really know your audience. We hear it so often, but so many times, how often do you get to a conference and someone really hasn’t thought about their audience? Or they get up on any kind of stage or they’re being interviewed by the media and they’re really not thinking about who that end audience member is. So, think about your audience. If you’re in the media, for example, your audience is really not that journalist. Your audience is that person at home who might download your app, who might try out your brand new health thing or might buy your toy, whatever it is. But think about that 45-year-old female with two kids, who’s at home on the couch and that is who you’re talking to, that person.

You’re not talking to everyone. We narrowcast, not broadcast, right? We think about that actual person. And also to think about if you have a health company, if you have anything in healthcare or that honestly, anyone who needs to be trusted and if you need to look like you care about them, you need to look like you care about yourself. So, making sure you show up looking healthy and clean and it’s so, so important in front of anybody, right? Now, we all want a story tell, but think about your exact audience about who you’re telling a story to. And I was training a COO and other execs a couple weeks ago from a 12 billion company, I thanked them for taking the three days to fly to Chicago and actually take that time with me.

I told them about my dad was a weekend dad. He was around Monday through Friday, that resonated with this group. That would not resonate with 300 women who I might speak with who are in their twenties. I also told a story on day two about how I was misrepresented in an E! Entertainment story about Chris Farley. It was the Chris Farley biography that aired in 1998. This audience was perfect for it because it was men about 40 plus and they knew who Chris Farley was. I wouldn’t tell that story to a group of millennials or maybe women who were in their thirties because they just don’t remember who he was. So, think about who that audience is and what stories you can tell them. It’s really, really important. Another way you can think about it too, for yourself is I was training the new President of a major medical association.

And her job is to get more people vaccinated because she is in healthcare and that’s her job. She’s a pathologist. Now, instead of just saying, “you need to go get vaccinated,” we spun the story and I talk said “talk about as a CMO and as a mother of two college students, I really cannot tell you how important it is. I cannot underscore this enough, how important. When I got my two kids vaccinated, I needed them to get vaccinated before they go to college”. So, she wove in her story. So, be vulnerable and leave that in and we’ll talk about that in a second. Also, remember this is educating and entertaining. As much as CEOs will tell me all the time, I’m not a performer. I don’t want to entertain. It really is your job because you want to make sure you get your message across.

So, we have to edutain. We get up, we show our smarts, but we have to captivate an audience and keep them for 5, 10, 20, 40 minutes. So, you have to entertain. One of those ways is we can be a little bit more provocative. And I think that sometimes we think being provocative is injecting sex, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you really look at the old definition, the Latin origin of being provocative, it’s really about challenging, changing. How can you change the status quo and be provocative in your specific industry? And then how can you communicate how you’re different? You can’t compete with other companies head to head, right? You can’t compete with them with exactly what they’re doing. Try to change the status quo and then communicate how you are different.

And then really, really it’s important is making sure that your team is diverse because sometimes when we try to be provocative, you guys have seen all the bad stories out there when they backfire. When we want to be provocative, we should have a good diverse team, men, women, different people from all over the place, and also that reflects your audience because you don’t want it to backfire. Okay. In TV, we always made sure that we had people a diverse background, so we could talk to our specific audience. It’s really important. TV can do a little better of a job and they’re working on it. Also, be vulnerable to be memorable. Tell those really heart-wrenching stories and here’s, what’s really important is to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t prepare and really rehearse your speech, your talk, whatever it is, your two-minute video for YouTube, it’s really hard to then be vulnerable and be present and really emote, be thinking about every word you’re saying because you will not be impactful if we get up and read the words.

We have to really think about them because then you will touch the people, you will stay with them, you’ll be memorable. I’ve had CEOs who are great in the rehearsal, but then they get up and they get so much in their head because they’re trying to perform and look a certain way and make sure that all their ego gets going. And that vulnerable moment that we rehearse, that moment where they really thanked their team or whatever it was, and they kind of teared up, they didn’t do it when it was live because they weren’t present. They were thinking too much about how they were going to look. So, be prepared, so you can then be vulnerable. So, those quick takeaways are just making sure that we know our audience, we edutain, we are vulnerable but we rehearse, so we can be vulnerable and really be present. And I hope that was helpful.

It’s not an overnight success: How my healthcare client launched a public speaking career & published her book

Sometimes we see someone on TV, in a TEDx, on Instagram… and think, wow, she really made it.

We don’t see all the work that went into it.

No success is overnight.

Nothing is instant.

I can tell you from personal experience that no matter how famous or wealthy, celebrated or successful someone becomes, there is always a “before.” There are also coaches, experts, allies, and in some cases good therapists.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on how grateful I am to have witnessed my friend Joyce Marter’s “before.” And how lucky we are that Joyce has published a book about how we can all transition from “before” to something more in terms of our health and wealth. 

Joyce founded and sold Urban Balance, a holistic mental health practice. She integrated her own family-first approach into Urban Balance’s culture, bringing on board other moms who wanted to work part-time and offering flexible work schedules. Urban Balance faced some of the same financial challenges encountered by most small businesses, including a bumpy cash flow that jeopardized timely payroll and rent payments. Joyce found a strong CPA and other experts to fill in some of her own blind spots. The accounting expertise helped right the ship and ultimately, set the company up for a profitable sale. This freed Joyce up to focus on the work she most enjoyed — writing and traveling to speaking engagements as a means of sharing with a broader audience what she had learned in her clinical practice. 

During this transitionary period, Joyce started wondering about a central question: Does prosperity lead to happiness, or is it the other way around? She reflected on a trend she’d been seeing with her clients: as their mental health improved, her clients also began experiencing raises, promotions, or better jobs; and many clients even started their own businesses. Joyce began to formalize a process by which she had helped her clients unlock the door to a life of personal health and financial wealth. Mental health and financial health are deeply interrelated, she reasoned. She knew money problems can trigger deep-rooted issues around self-worth, identity, and fear. But, she asked, what if you could shift your mindset around finances and open yourself up to a world of mental wellness and holistic success?

I began working with Joyce at the beginning of her public speaking career. I recognized her clear talents right away, and helped bring her professional speaking, media presence, branding, and image to the next level. By giving her honest feedback, like I do with all my clients, she was able to grow as a speaker and media contributor — and her confidence grew significantly. I helped her OWN her worth. 

As Joyce would often reflect during our meetings, “Mental health is the key to unlocking a life of prosperity, joy, and happiness. Too many of us are stuck in a rut of negativity. Phrases like ‘I’m not worthy’ and ‘I can’t do this’ are uttered far too frequently. From money to relationships to career and more, we’re consistently selling ourselves short. These thoughts contribute to our limiting beliefs about ourselves, our lives, our finances, and what we’re worthy of—and they’re 100% false.” 

Joyce codified her insights into a book–the culmination of years of Joyce’s work as a therapist, but also the result of her own personal journey towards an abundance mindset. In The Financial Mindset Fix, Joyce aims to help readers shift their mindset around finances and open themselves up to a world of mental wellness and holistic success in the process.

I’ve read an advance copy of the book, and it’s a life-changer. If you aim to be happier in your personal and professional life, The Financial Mindset Fix deserves a prominent spot on your bedside table. Joyce’s wisdom connecting mental health and wealth is really a breakthrough. Frankly, I learned several things about myself (associated with my gender’s sometimes-unique feelings about money), and I’ve made a few tweaks with immediate results. As a public speaking and media trainer, I know how much confidence and self-worth are tied to financial success. I will be giving this book to my clients. 

But don’t just take my word for it. Best-selling author Stephen M. R. Covey said, “In this wonderful new book, successful therapist Joyce Marter gently takes you by the hand and walks you down the path toward better mental health and a more abundant financial life.” And entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker Seth Godin said, “Money is a story, one that too often is used against us. When you’re ready to engage with intention, this book can help rewrite your story.” Yep, totally agree, gentlemen. 

Here’s my own review that you can see on Amazon (and it’s inside her actual book). I’m sandwiched right between Seth Godin and Stephen Covey.

Kathryn Janicek's review of The Financial Mindset Fix by Joyce Marter

As Joyce says, “Your personal beliefs about money can drive you to exhaustion or liberate you. Do you want the never-ending panic of scarcity or the freedom and joy of prosperity?”

The choice is obvious, right? I’m thrilled to have witnessed Joyce’s inspiring journey, and to have played a small part in her success.

I’m also the media coach and public speaking trainer who helps you present at a higher level, tell your story, and gain media attention. So do yourself a favor and read the book. Who knows? Maybe someday soon, I’ll be celebrating your journey, as well. 

If you’d like to order Joyce’s new book, you can do that here:

https://www.joyce-marter.com/book/the-financial-mindset-fix/

Happy Reading!

Warmly,

Kathryn

5 Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Improve Telehealth Appointments for Patients

A lot changed about how we do our jobs during the pandemic. For healthcare professionals, a watershed moment arrived for technology that was slowly trickling in for years. 

All of a sudden, telehealth appointments became the norm and many felt unprepared for how to best connect with their patients in this new virtual setting. Even when the pandemic is over, telehealth is here to stay. The genie is out of the box. We now know it can be done. And isn’t it nice not having patients show up late because of traffic?

As an experienced media and public speaking trainer, during this pandemic I’ve found myself specializing in helping healthcare professionals present themselves from their computers — whether that be with patients in telehealth appointments or in media interviews and public speaking engagements for online conferences. 

We’ve seen all the mistakes on TV. Cameras too low, cameras too high, dark rooms, terrible sound, distractions, and others I’m sure you’ve noticed.

This isn’t about looking good. It’s about making sure you connect with your audience. Making sure you do what you set out to accomplish with that telehealth appointment or media interview.

What are some ways you can improve your online presence and get better results?

Make it a great experience for the patient

This is what it’s all about. Your patients are coming to you with a health issue. They’re seeking comfort. They’re seeking guidance. And everything you do in a telehealth appointment should be supporting the goal of making the experience positive for them. Even though you’re connecting with your patients online, you want to make them feel cared for in the same way you would in person. 

Experiencing a technical issue? Don’t panic! Consider jumping on a phone call instead and cut out all of the video distractions. Good sound and connecting with the patient are what’s most important here. Also don’t spend a ton of time complaining about or apologizing for any technical issues, that only takes time away from the patient’s time and it can start eroding their confidence in you. Address it once and then move forward with the appointment. Recently, I had a telehealth appointment where the head of the department kept apologizing for the tech issues and disparaging technology in general. It made the experience frustrating for me and he came across as out of touch, so it was harder to trust him. Telehealth is here to stay – learn it, love it, and definitely don’t complain about it!

Be aware of your lighting

When you’re interacting with a patient in person, they’re able to easily read your body language and facial cues. They can clearly see your eyes and connect with you. This helps you establish trust. When you’re meeting with a patient virtually, it’s important to make sure they can see you so that they can read these same cues over video. If your face is in a shadow or your patient can’t quite see your eyes, it’s going to be very difficult for them to feel connected to you and to trust you. Lighting is crucial to how you appear on the screen. You want to make sure there aren’t any windows behind you. Your light needs to come from in front of you. If you can, use natural light from a window. But if that isn’t an option, try soft lighting from a lamp you place in front of you – and be sure to avoid creating any shadows with your monitor or phone. These lights from Amazon are a really affordable option… under $100 and I’ve used them for years. If you wear glasses, try to avoid those commonly used ring lights. You’ll see the halos in your lenses and that’s distracting.

Invest in a quality camera

In the same way that good lighting is an essential part of how you appear on the screen, the quality of your camera will impact how well your patients can see you. Cameras built into computers aren’t the best quality, so you’ll want to invest in one that makes you look as close to how you do in real life as possible. This Logitech 1080p camera is about $80 and I recommend it to all my clients.

Once you have a camera, where you place it is key! You want to set it up at eye level so you are looking right into the camera – and right into the eyes of your patient. It may feel a little weird at first, looking at a camera instead of your patient on the screen, so make sure you practice looking directly into the camera and talking to it. Beware of putting the camera too low or too high – we don’t want to look up your nose or have a meeting with your neck or chin (or your boobs)! 

Don’t forget about sound

Do not forget about sound. Clear communication is such an integral part of building trust with your patients, which is why you want to make sure you’re using a quality microphone so they can hear you. The sound of your voice can deliver a message that you care. We need to hear all the depth and range. During the pandemic, I had a family member who was very ill and I attended many telehealth appointments with them. There was one healthcare professional who was having sound issues during the entire appointment – her microphone was buzzing, she was cutting in and out and we kept mentioning it, but she couldn’t understand us. It was so frustrating because my family member was so sick and on top of that we were having to deal with not being able to hear what the doctor was saying. After the second time this happened, we just started making the trip to the office. This definitely isn’t how you want your patients feeling, so make sure you invest in a good microphone. AirPods work great. The mic is good and they are less distracting than a headset. 

Dress… not distract  

Just like you would for an in-person appointment, you want to present yourself well to your patients during a telehealth appointment. When you’re on camera, there are a few considerations to keep in mind that are a bit different from in-person. For clothes, you want to avoid high contrast patterns that don’t translate well. Go for rich, solid colors instead. Should you wear your white coat? That depends on the resolution of your camera and the background. If your camera has a low resolution or your background is predominantly neutral, you’ll want to avoid wearing your white coat as it won’t show up well. This is another reason to invest in a better camera. As far as accessories go, avoid loud jewelry because remember that quality microphone you ordered? It’s definitely going to pick up the sound of your bracelets clinking together when you gesture with your hands. That will be very distracting for your patients.

Above all else, when you’re thinking about ways to improve your telehealth appointments ask yourself, “Will this improve my patients’ experience and my connection with them?” That’s the goal: to create an environment where your patients feel cared for and supported, even though you’re not sharing the same physical space.

Interested in doing some one-on-one work on your telehealth technique? Let’s connect!

My new healthcare media training online class is launching soon. To get on the waiting list, sign up here!

Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy winning media and public speaking trainer. She consults Fortune 500, healthcare, small businesses, tech companies & others on how to grow their business, attract better employees, increase brand equity and help their people be more confident by delivering more impactful messages to audiences.

How to look your best on video conference calls

People around the world are finding themselves working and conducting media interviews from home for the first time.

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many to move their in-person meetings to video conferencing on platforms like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting. It’s also changing the media landscape. Interviews that used to be done from a studio are now being shot in experts’ living rooms, offices and kitchens.

As a media and public speaking trainer, I teach executives who need to do interviews on TV stations worldwide through video conferencing and who need to reach other live audiences through their computer screen. During my executive coaching sessions, I show them how to represent their business and themselves professionally and also make sure their message sticks with their audiences.

You can make a good impression through video conferencing platforms as long as you have a few specific things in place. 

Create a background that isn’t distracting

The key to speaking on stage, in the media, in your videos, during live video conferencing and in job interviews is to keep the audience focused on your message and nothing else. Take a look at the wall or space behind you and make sure nothing behind you is distracting. Look for light switches, outlets, open doors, open windows, and anything else that could be distracting. You want people to remember your content and message, and if there’s a very obvious picture or book behind you that grabs the viewers focus — remove it. You don’t want anything in the  background distract from your message, or worse, offend your audience.

Good lighting is your best friend

When you are selling your company, your brand, a product or service – you want to be seen in the best light. Literally and figuratively. When you show up in a media interview or in a meeting and you are poorly lit or there are lots of shadows on your face, the audience can subconsciously feel like you’re hiding something. That you can’t be trusted. The majority of your message is your physical content. This is why what you do and your appearance is just as important, if not more, that what you say. Lighting is vital to the way you appear on the screen. Make sure there are no windows behind you. The lighting needs to be in front of you. Natural light from a window is the best. If you don’t have a room that works for this, use soft lighting from a lamp and place it right in front of you without creating shadows from your monitor or phone. I’ve used this light from Amazon for years. It’s under $100 and many of my clients use it for their media interviews. 

Make eye contact with the camera

Just like in person, you want to make great eye contact with your audience. When you’re video conferencing, this can be tough. The software will show you speaking on your monitor, along with the person interviewing you – or all the people you’re talking to on the call. This can create a lot of distractions for you. The key here is to make sure when you are talking, you look into the camera on your computer or phone. When you look directly into the camera, you will be appearing as if you’re looking right into the eyes of your audience. This takes practice to get it down and not let your eyes wander off and look at all the other people on the call. Why is this so important? When you let your eyes move from person to person or somewhere else in your room, you may appear to be insincere, detached, uninterested, insecure and even shifty. Make time to practice good eye contact. You do not want to portray the message that you don’t care about the meeting or interview.

Be camera ready

Working from home means you may not have to put a lot of focus on what you’re wearing on your lower half, but you need to make sure that from waist up, you’re all business. Take the time before an on camera meeting to do your hair, makeup and wear something that is not too distracting. For on camera media interviews through video conferencing, my clients normally have their makeup and hair professionally done. During a pandemic, you can’t hire someone to come to your house to get that done. There are many consultants who can talk you through this virtually right now. Our team of makeup and hair stylists is doing this for our clients. If you don’t have a professional to help you, make sure you look well-rested, alert, your skin looks healthy and your best features are emphasized. Since you want your audience to lock-in with your eyes and trust you – make sure your eyes are not blocked by extra hair and eyeglass frames that don’t fit your face properly. A lot of professionals are balancing children at home and working — so both men and women can benefit from a little concealer under their eyes. Make sure your hair isn’t distracting and falling into your face during your calls and try not to adjust your hair or touch your face while you’re on camera. When it comes to wardrobe, it’s better to wear a solid color or something that’s not as distracting. If you have a bold or quirky personality and you love bright colors and patterns, it’s okay to be yourself, just make sure you don’t distract from the conversation.

Position the camera at eye level

Before you jump on a call, make sure the audience will not be looking up your nose or at your ceiling. We’ve seen a lot of these kinds of calls and interviews! Make sure you’re going to appear to your audience at the angle they’re used to seeing you from across a table. Adjust your computer so it’s at eye level by adding books or something else to raise the computer up a little. Sit upright, in the front half of your chair, and look alert. Do not swivel. Again, you want to pretend like you’re making eye contact with the people on your video conference, so make sure you adjust your computer accordingly so you can look right into the camera when you’re speaking. 

Be heard! (and sometimes silent)

If you’re in a virtual meeting with a lot of other people, mute yourself when you’re not talking. You may have kids and/or pets at home right now and a spouse working from home. This is the time to learn how to effectively mute yourself when you’re not talking so the speaker is heard clearly. Also, make sure you shut off your notifications. You don’t want to hear your computer or phone dinging throughout. You also could be taking notes during the call, and you don’t want the sound of your fingers tapping away to distract the others.

Working from home also means creating barriers between your home and the “office.” Make sure to create a good system that will keep you happy, successful and sane during this (hopefully) short period of time where most of us need to work from home.

  • Sleep at least eight hours a night. Working from home can create some unhealthy habits like working at all hours of the day/night. Make sure you are getting your personal time to recharge and you’re sleeping. Showing up as your best during video calls and media interviews online while you’re not rested can be a big gamble. You need to be able to answer questions thoughtfully and think quickly. You need sleep for optimal brain function.
  • Shower every single day. Start your day with a shower and do your normal morning and evening routines. This will keep you alert and productive. Plus, you need to look good on camera!
  • Create 10-15 minute breaks between large blocks of meetings. Stretch, go to the bathroom and eat. You cannot show up looking healthy, trustworthy and likeable on camera if you’re dehydrated, are not sleeping, and you’re hungry.

While working remotely might be a bit of an adjustment, we’re here to help you feel confident and make sure your message sticks with your audience and makes them ACT.

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas

I was in Vegas last weekend. My husband and I wanted to get away for some pool time before a busy June hit. (It was also my birthday weekend.)

I dumped a few hundred down some slots and he made a hefty deposit while playing the tables. Thank you, Steve Wynn.

We flew in Thursday and didn’t hear about the terror threat until we landed that afternoon. Law enforcement was already boosted by the time we hit the ground. Vegas was a target because an ISIS propaganda video called for lone wolf attacks showed several Las Vegas Strip properties.

No one was really talking about it inside the casinos. Possibly because they were on vacation and drinking too many of these tasty little watermelon and vodka punches. I do know security was ramped up. Kathy Griffin also talked about it during her show. (This was three days before the President Trump beheading video.)

In my head – I was prepared for anything.

I wore sandals at dinners and shows instead of the heels that remained in my luggage. I kept my bag packed and my phone charged. (Speaking of purses… take a look at the tiny little chair waiters bring you for your bag during dinner? They’re really looking out for the girl who doesn’t want to place her handbag on the floor.)

It might be the news producer in me or because I spent three years in law enforcement… or was it all those years in Girl Scouts? I was ready.

My husband? He thought I was being a little ridiculous. But – you never can be too ready.

It’s a little like the bag I bring along on shoots for my clients. I have makeup for men and women. Deodorant, tape, body tape, things to stick in your bra to make your clothing look better, hair ties, blotters, eye cream, my favorite all-natural throat lozenges (ask me about them, they’re amazing)… you name it. You never know what your client will need. My job is to be ready and make them look and sound as best as possible.

Are you ready for your next emergency?

Ready for when the media calls?

Ready to perform?

Ready for your next boardroom pitch/interview/meeting/public speaking event/Facebook Live?

Here are some quick tips on how to prepare that I recently shared live on Facebook (please don’t mind the random thoughts and special appearance by my dog Mariel – when we’re live on Facebook, anything goes!):

I have an entire summer of ways you can get in the media or improve your public speaking — so make sure I’m making it into your inbox and not your spam! Not signed up for my free tips yet? Head on over to this page to start learning how you can get yourself noticed (and make more money).

PS: If you’re going to be in Vegas anytime soon… make sure to catch the Fogerty show. Worth every cent and more. Here’s just a taste of him performing with his sons. What a moment.

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Are you touching yourself?

It’s a very important question.

You could be doing it – and have NO idea.

Most people don’t.

They do it in meetings, at their desk, in interviews, even on stage!

It’s really not a good thing.

I had a client who did it at the beginning of his media training with me yesterday… and with my help, he stopped. You can too.

Do YOU touch your face? At work, in meetings, during interviews or on stage? You shouldn’t.

Not only is it gross because you’re transferring bacteria, allergens and viruses to your face — but it’s also a dead giveaway that you’re uncomfortable with the situation.

When you rub your face, you’re calming yourself down because there are nerve endings there. Giving yourself a good temple rub in the bathroom is okay… but don’t do it in public IF you care what others think.

People absorb all the things you do PHYSICALLY while you’re speaking to them. They take that in as content. Not just what you SAY.

If you don’t really care what people think of you – then rub away. If you’re in sales, have a leadership role, looking to move up or own a company… you DO care… and it’s definitely something to work on.

This is why I record my clients on video. Sometimes they have no idea what they look like while they’re talking until they see what I shoot. It’s much easier to fix issues when you’re aware of them.

Try shooting video of yourself.

Positive body language could definitely help you become a more effective leader.

Would you like help? Click here for a free strategy session on the phone or on Skype.