Updated: Oct 4, 2022
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We all hate the way we sound on camera, so if you're here to banish that feeling completely, go to a blog where someone will lie to you.
The truth is that everyone has some concern about being on camera. Keep in mind that overall, public speaking is the top fear among Americans, accounting for more than 1 in 4. And interviewing on camera combines this fear with the permanency of video. So it's actually pretty natural to experience some anxiety.
Here is one tip to help you feel more comfortable in your body AND actually improve how you sound and come off on camera: Use a diaphragmatic breath.
That does NOT mean just take a deep breath.
And in fact if you clicked out right there, you could make your next interview worse! Let's chat about why:
Deep breathing is common advice for relaxing people or getting them to slow down and it's well-intentioned but negates that most people don't actually know how to breathe and trying to force a belly breath could actually cause you to tense your core -- sending stress signals to your brain and causing you to panic further.
I learned the proper breathing technique in public radio and honed it further through years of mindfulness and meditation. You must follow, not force, the breath deep into the diaphragm.
Let's do it together:
First, focus solely on your nostrils and watch the body breathe in. Don't try to take a deep breath; the body already knows how to breathe– you're just getting out of the way. Stay there and watch the breath go in, in, in. Slowly down into the chest, filling the ribs and finally the whole belly. If you do this right, you may even feel a more circular breath and your sides and back will lift too. Now lightly hold the breath and as you speak, your body will slowly naturally breath out.
This controls your pitch, speed AND how much you can speak on one breath. It also mentally relaxes you so you can make the most of the opportunity in front of you.
Give it a try in your next conversation and practice a bit before your interview to get optimal results. It's an easy trick but a powerful one that major broadcasters and speakers use every day!