Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’ve been to one of our Executive Presence and Presentation Skills programs. Perhaps you were one of the many who walked into the room, saw the video camera set up in the back, and declared: “UGH! I hate myself on camera!” or even “YUCK! If I have to watch myself, I’m gonna die!” Really?

Why do we put people through this torture? We have good reasons. Suppose you have an unconscious behavior or habit that is negatively affecting your professional presence and distracting people from your message. Would you rather know or not know? In other words, would you prefer to channel your inner ostrich and hide your head in the sand? Well, you may want to check your Big Book of Bird Behavior before you answer.


In fact, ostriches don’t bury their heads to hide. That’s a widely held myth based on an optical illusion. They build their nest underground, so several times a day the mother bird puts her head in the hole to turn her eggs. It’s an act of caring, not a lack of courage! So if you’re really channeling your inner ostrich, you’re being other-conscious, not self-conscious. Watching your video helps you learn how to be more effective…for them.

Still, it’s hard for many of us to face an audience or the camera. Next time it’s your turn and you’re feeling a little vulnerable, keep these 3 things in mind:

  1. When you are invited to present, it means you have something that your audience needs. You’re giving them the gift of your knowledge or experience. It’s an act of caring. Remember, the eggs are vulnerable, not the ostrich. Make it about them, not about you.
  2. Our opportunities to get objective, specific feedback are few. Watching your recording with eyes wide open is a great way to empower yourself, increase your self-awareness, and make smart, brand-enhancing decisions about your delivery.
  3. Haven’t had the pleasure of being recorded by one of the Heads Up instructors? Be your own videographer. Take advantage of the video feature on your smartphone or tablet and record your own practice sessions. See yourself before others see you… again, would you rather know, or not know? You can’t manage what you don’t know… I think you’d rather know.