So I just got back from Toronto where I did my first ever national television show guest appearance. It was live. There was a guest audience. And I am soooo relieved to report: I didn't lose my lunch.
Authors and small business owners know all too well the importance of publicity. But I can honestly say that for me, it has been a HUGE learning curve, from how to craft the perfect pitch, to how and who to deliver it to. When I wrote my first book five years ago, I naively thought my work was done and that someone else was going to do the PR for me. Pfft -- talk about a rude awakening. And it's been a gradual ascent, one push outside my comfort zone after the next, ever since.
This national appearance, which was on a daytime talk show called The Social (it's Canada's The View), was offered to me when I emailed the producer about my book. You see, I was hoping to be chosen as their next book club selection, and I figured I should put my book in front of them since it's soon coming out as a Lifetime Movie (and on The Movie Network in Canada).
(Me in the middle, with the hosts)
Instead, the producer got back to me wanting me to do a segment on "dating after divorce." She said they'd mention my book, but they wanted me to speak as a divorce coach/therapist.
When I first read the email, I froze in fear. Please understand that had I been selected as their book club choice, they might have written a blog post about me or maybe put together a video segment all neatly edited together -- but never had I envisioned talking off the cuff on live television!
But as I've learned these past years with this book project, when opportunity knocks, just say "yes!" and worry about the "how" afterwards. I knew I had three weeks to hone my skills before the appearance -- more specifically, how to control my nerves or "fight or flight" response.
I've no doubt that many of you reading this get nervous, as do I, before going on TV or radio. So I want to share a few things I learned to help me get a grip on my nerves before I went on this show. I really do think they helped.
6 Tips to Get You Ready for Being on Television
- Preparation is key. Know the material inside out.
- Visualize visualize visualize. Visualize the interview, how you speak, how they respond to your questions, and how you handle unexpected questions. Do it so many times that your brain registers your visualization as real; our brains don't know the difference.
- Record yourself practicing on video. Look for annoying and distracting tendencies like flipping your hair (which I still did), ummms, looking down (which I still did), posture, quivers, trembling hands, too many hand gestures, etc.
- When the fight or flight reaction kicks in big time before or during the interview, touch something like your pant leg or the couch and tune in/become aware of it. You can't be "in your head" and kinesthetically aware at the same time. Further, say to yourself, "I'm back." It's all about exiting the brain and coming back to the present.
- Right before going on the air, breathe deeply. On the inhale, breathe into the tension spots (for me, it was my stomach). When you exhale, imagine your solar plexus and heart chakra opening up and push your aura out.
- Have a sip of water RIGHT BEFORE you go on the air. Dry mouth during a segment sucks and makes your mouth do funny things.
I'm certainly no "expert" on how to calm nerves for public speaking or media appearances. But for what they're worth, the above are a few things I did, which no doubt helped me immensely. I wouldn't say I knocked this national appearance out of the park so-to-speak -- I still see LOTS of mistakes and groan over them. But over all, I'd say "not too bad"... especially for a newbie.
Here's the link to the segment since it can't be embedded: http://www.thesocial.ca/video?vid=317926
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