Tools & Resources mentioned during the episode:
Welcome to Episode 15 of the Virtual Summit Mastery podcast. My name is Jan Koch. Today I want to talk about how to get comfortable in front of a camera. So the chances are that you have never done an interview online before, or at least not a series of interviews.
And I want to break the ice for you. I want you to feel comfortable while you’re doing those interviews. I want you to not be too conscious of the camera anymore when you’re doing those interviews. This is the most important part of a virtual summit because if you don’t feel comfortable, these sessions won’t be as good as they could be.
And you will not provide the best experience for your attendees. So stay with me in this podcast. And let’s talk about setup tips. Let’s talk about mindset. Let’s talk about interview preparation and post-production, so you don’t need to worry about being in front of the camera doing interviews online anymore. Let’s dive right into this.
Start with Having the Right Mindset
So first of all, realize that everybody felt uncomfortable when they started doing video content. I felt uncomfortable. Any expert I’m talking to felt uncomfortable. Chances are you will feel uncomfortable too, and that is totally fine. This is because you are doing something you’ve never done before.
And it’s just human nature that when we do things for the first time and when we do things that are new to us, we don’t have a routine in them. We don’t feel comfortable doing new things. That is fine. That is a sign of growth. So embrace that.
And I did my first interview in 2013 with Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. I remember that I stayed up until 2 am because of the timezone difference between Germany and the United States. And I was so bad in that interview. I mean, my English wasn’t nearly as fluent as it is now because I’m not a native English speaker.
And my first interview was very, very rough around the edges. I was coughing all the time because I was so nervous. I was obviously tired because it was in the middle of the night. And Pat was super nice. He was super comforting. He was very eager, kept me encouraged, and did not try to be honest about how bad the interview was.
But in fact, he said that I did a great job even though I clearly didn’t. And he just tried to congratulate me on getting out of my comfort zone, and this is what you really have to keep in mind. It is totally okay to feel nervous. And it’s even okay to mess up during your interviews because mistakes make you human.
And your attendees will see you as one of them if you mess up. And by messing up, I don’t mean leaving connection breakups and stuff like that. In the recording, we’ll talk about this later on in the post-production section of this podcast. But if you stumble upon your words, it’s fine. If you forget a question, it’s fine.
It’s totally fine, and people would rather like you more than less if you let those flukes, if you let those blackouts stay in the recording.
Don’t Obsess About Having Expensive Gear
So let’s talk about setup tips because this is something that I hear many many people obsess about and that themselves held back by setups. Don’t. Start with whatever you have. Don’t obsess about the gear.
To do a solid interview recording, just get a decent microphone, wear headphones. It’s super important. Headphones are key because you want to have the output from the interview. You want to have that other person come through your headphones and not through your speakers. Otherwise, you will have an echo.
Regarding the lighting, use sunlight if you can afford official lighting like Elgato Key Light Air. I think it retails for around 130 US dollars right now. Use sunlight. Position yourself in front of a window. That’s good enough. In terms of camera, use any cam you can afford. A Logitech C920 or a Logitech Brio webcam is totally cool, to begin with.
And you can upgrade to a DSLR and Elgato Cam Link 4k or something later on in the process. Don’t let the lack of gear hold you back. Another tip that I have for you is you want to record in a quiet place. There should be no background noise if possible. When I record the interviews, I even turn off the air conditioner because that humm would just be too distracting in the background.
Even though I get all sweaty and the sweat shows on the camera, I prefer that over having a static humm or hiss in the background of that recording. That totally messes up the audio quality, whereas if sweat pours here and there on my forehead, it doesn’t impact anybody, really. As for the tools, there’s no need to go fancy with recording tools.
I would just recommend using streamyard.com. Get on the highest plan. I think it’s around $50 a month, so you can get separate audio recordings for the speaker and for yourself that will make post-production so much easier. And then just get started.
Set Aside 3-4 hours Preparing for the Interview
Regarding the interview prep, this is probably the most important factor you can have to feel secure and comfortable during an interview. You want to spend around three to four hours preparing every single interview for your summit. Know your guests inside and out so that you can have a fluent conversation with them.
Always keep in mind what your summit attendees would want to ask your guests. Don’t just come from your own perspective. But also keep in mind that the guest is there to solve the problems of your attendees. So you want to talk about those, of course. You want to know what topics the guest is passionate about and prepare questions.
And ideally, you can ask some questions that your guest doesn’t get asked often. So you want to go through other interviews that the expert has done in the past and avoid asking the same questions. There’s nothing more boring when you are interviewed. And you’re answering the same questions over and over again in every single interview.
So you want to write down questions on a note-taking sheet to have them handy when you prepare the interview. And you also want to write down two or three questions to ask when awkward silence comes up. So when you are at a point in the conversation where there’s an awkward silence, maybe your guest didn’t understand the question, or something just went wrong.
And you miscommunicated or had a misunderstanding; you want to have two or three questions that you can fall back on to overcome those awkward silences and keep the conversation flowing. And as the last pro tip, before you start the recording, you’re in the pre-chat with the guests before you are recording; tell your guests what outcome you desire for the interview and what topics you’d like to focus on.
They’d do their best to help you achieve those outcomes because they want to look good during the interview themselves.
And lastly, for the post-production to keep this podcast episode rather short and to the point. Post-production is a crucial step, and you don’t need to be a video editor to master this.
In fact, I would recommend hiring a virtual assistant or using a flat rate video editing service to edit your videos. Those are extremely affordable nowadays. You will be surprised how cheap it is to get a good video editor. They can cut out all the uhms. They can cut out all the ahh’s, the awkward silences.
And if the connection breaks up between you and your guests, they can cut that out as well. And lastly, you want to have them add intros and outros animations.
So those are four steps. How you can feel more comfortable in front of the camera. The most important thing, though, is your mindset. The most important thing that is you realize that everybody felt uncomfortable when they started doing video interviews and that you will become more comfortable over time. Don’t hold yourself back on this.
I understand how challenging and intimidating video content is because I went through the same process as you are now. The same is with this podcast. Yeah, I’ve never done a podcast before this, and the first episode wasn’t so good. I think even when I look back at this right now, I’m in Episode 15.
Even right now, just a couple of weeks in, I cringe seeing or hearing the first episodes, and I already have so many ideas on how to make the next episodes better, more interesting, but the point is that you have to get started. And if you want to dive into my old video content, you can search my channel on YouTube.
I’ll link it below the podcast in the show notes, that’s VSMpodcast.com/15, so that you can see the oldest videos from my first summit in 2015 while I was still living with my parents in my own room. And you can tell I wasn’t comfortable in front of the camera, and I still ran a virtual summit; I still got 3000 attendees, 6x my email list, made over five figures just from this event, even though I was not used to doing video interviews. And I was not a native English speaker.
So please let this be a story on what is possible when you overcome these mindset challenges. And just press record. Just get started. Don’t expect perfection. You cannot be perfect in video interviews, you will never be, and even if you were, it wouldn’t resonate with the people watching because they aren’t perfect either.
And they would rather see a genuine conversation between two human beings than having a human being, your guest talking to a robot who does everything perfectly. That would be you if you were perfect. So just get started. Don’t let yourself fall back. Use whatever gear you have, prepare thoroughly, and nothing can go wrong really.
And again, VSM podcast.com/15, if you want to get the show notes. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the podcast. That would help us out tremendously. And if you want to learn more about virtual summits, go to virtual summitmastery.com/workshops to get a free workshop series.
That’ll get you started. If you prefer learning by reading instead of watching videos, go to virtualsummitmastery.com/book and grab my number one Amazon best-selling book, the Virtual Summit Mastery Method. Thanks so much for tuning in. I’ll catch you next week.