How to Like Yourself on Video or in Podcasts

Woman hiding from the camera - Overcome your fear of being on videoThe other day my attention was diverted (as it often is) by a compelling graphic in a Facebook update, along with this bold statement:

“If you’re avoiding video because watching and hearing yourself on video is pure torture, I have good news for you . . . You CAN learn to LOVE yourself on video!”

Hmmm, that seems HIGHLY unlikely to me.  Yet, I knew I needed to listen.  You can listen to the recorded call at

Why Use Video and Podcast?

In all my years of web design and social media work, I have recorded exactly ONE podcast and ONE video. Both caused me extreme anxiety and preparatory angst.  Even now, I cannot stand to listen to or watch them Yet, they both have provided more exposure and quality leads than all my blogging combined.  Ugh, so that means I need to do it more.

So, this phone call did provide some useful insights and tips. I took notes.  Lots of them.  Starting with,

 Why We Don’t Like The Sound of Our Own Voice on Recordings

When we hear ourselves speak in real-time, the sound waves travel through the air to our ears to produce the sound everyone else hears (and the way it sounds on a recording).  However, we also hear the reverberations and echos of our voice as it resounds in the chest, throat, mouth and sinuses – producing a unique sound that only WE hear.  Lynn likened it to a sound system – in which recordings and others hear our voice in mono, while we hear stereo.  The resulting difference is what makes us so uncomfortable.  We don’t sound like ourselves to ourselves!

Then she asked a great question:

Has anyone ever run screaming from the room because of the sound of your voice?

It’s safe to say, no.  Try this exercise: record yourself speaking for 2 minutes on a topic you know well.  When you listen back, do so objectively.  Is the voice of this person, whoever it is, OK?  More than likely, it is.

Record yourself speaking for 2 minutes on a topic you know well, listen back.  Listen objectively.  Is this voice, whoever’s it is, is it OK?  More than likely it is.

How to Improve the Sound of Your Voice:


Sure, there is probably nothing terrible about your voice, but we can all make improvements – and that may make you more confident in recording video and pod casts.

Use an Outline, Not a Script

Did you know it is harder to read out loud than to talk?  When we read, we have to think about how we read, and it involves a more complicated thought process than speaking alone. Afraid you will forget what to say, or that you have nothing to say?  Start by writing a script so you can be intentional about what you say.  But when you are ready to  record, in order to sound most natural, create and use an outline so you can speak from the heart.


Start with correct breathing for a louder voice, which projects excitement, passion and authority.  Breathe from your diaphragm (is your stomach moving up and down as you breathe? Good!) Expert Tip:  Sit on the edge of the chair – you won’t be able to slump!

Use a “Forward” Voice

A voice that projects to every corner of the room.  Watch opera singers, and how they expand themselves to get their voice to every row of the theater.  You’ll project a more articulate, authoritative voice.  Practice by calling your kids (or in my case, dogs) in to dinner.  You know how to do it – and you know it is more than about JUST a change in volume.

Hate How you Look on Video?Why we don't like pictures or video of ourselves - woman in mirror

Intellectually, we know we see a mirror image of ourselves in any reflection, but that’s the one we see most often, so we think that is how we look!  When we see images or video of ourselves, the image is reversed from that we normally see, which reveals subtle differences we would rather ignore.

Another reason we are more comfortable with our mirror image? When we look in the mirror, we make subtle adjustments to our appearance -like tilting the head, sucking in the gut, etc. to make ourselves look better.  We don’t even realize we are doing it.

Cameras (and mirrors) are not 3 dimensional!  So, something about us, is, indeed lost, when we are captured on film or video.

How to Look Better on Video

Wear makeup! When on video, you need it to look normal.  Not just good – normal.  Even slight oil shine is exaggerated on video, so  use face powder that matches your skin.   Make all your makeup matte, not shiny – no frosted eyeshadow, lip gloss or blush. Ladies, you’ll be fine with a heavier version of your regular makeup.

Men, this goes for you, too!  Use a powder to control shine and diminish any slight five o’clock shadow. If you find the right shade, no one will notice.  We promise.    Beards and mustaches must be neat – eyebrows, too.

Think carefully about what you wear. White washes you out, even if you are a person of color.  Strong patterns appear to bounce around on the screen because the camera can’t focus, so it jumps back and forth. I always wondered why that happened (thanks for that, Lynn!)   Jewel tones look good on everyone, so stick to those in a solid color when possible.

Fix your lighting.  Bad lighting can turn people off in a second.  Pay particular attention to lighting around your eyes.  No need to give yourself extra dark circles!  No one wants to look like a ghoul on camera.  A simple goose-neck lamp may be all you need to get it right.  Enlist the aid of a co-worker for best results.  Aim for a slight shadow on one side of your face to create dimension.

Consider your background.  Background items must be there for a reason.  What kind of image do you want to present?  Surely not one of disorganized clutter (yes, I’m talking to ME!).  So, straighten up and consider a branded background if you will be recording often – and you will, won’t you?

A Tip From A Fearless Video Star

When he saw this post on Facebook, Scot Maitland (owner and editor at Pharmacy Marketing Quarterly) said, ” I always find that it’s best to just be conversational and especially if you’re doing a recording that’s going to be edited, to just keep the camera rolling and give yourself to the count of 10 between starting over again. Then get some good editing software and music to lay over your voice track.”  You can see him in action here.  I also think it helps to have just the tiniest bit of “Ham” in your genes :).

Do you use video?  Why, or why not?  Care to share a link to some you’ve done?  We’d love to see!

Lynn Ruby helps entrepreneurs use video to make more money in their business.  Get a FREE copy of her Special Report: “The Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing” at

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.

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