close menu

How Not to Feel Like an Idiot on Video

How not to feel like an idiot on video

Do you want to level up your impact and authority using confident video or even live video? But maybe you’re not feeling very confident?

You could be struggling with one of the three video challenges… 

#1 Video Camera Fear

You get nervous in front of the camera or feel self conscious. You want to be better at communicating to your audience and putting more energy into your delivery.

#2 Video Tech and Gear

You’re struggling with what tech and gear you need for effective video production. Then there’s how to use the tools – it can seem very complicated.

#3 Video Content Marketing Sphere

You’re struggling to know what your videos should be about. How do you structure your videos? And how do you increase the reach and engagement of your videos once they’re published?

To learn how to deal with all three challenges, check out this webinar recording:

How to Level Up Your Impact & Authority with Video

Tune into this webinar with Ian Anderson Gray, Live Video Confidence expert, and learn how to overcome one of the biggest video marketing challenges - being on camera! 11 July 2019 at 11 AM ET. Ian will talk about: * Challenges of Live Video * Gear and tools * Camera confidence tips * 5Ps of Video Marketing: Planning, Pre-Promotion, Production, Post-Promotion, and RePurposing content. 👍Follow us:

In this article, I am going to focus on the first video challenge…. That Video Camera Fear!

Video Syndromes

Many of us can come up with lots of excuses not to do video. I’ve asked my audience and clients and it usually comes down to one of these video “syndromes”. And of course, they are all lies.

Do you identify with any of these?

  • Imposter Syndrome

Video fear - Imposter syndrome

Most entrepreneurs I speak to have some level of imposter syndrome. It’s when we feel a bit like a fraud, and we doubt our accomplishments. It’s an irrational fear of being “found out” as a fraud – where we feel our success is just down to luck.

  • Comparison Syndrome

Video fear - comparison syndrome

You think other people out there are doing (or will do) a much better job with video than you. When you compare your first attempts at video with someone who has been doing it for a lot longer than you.

  • Perfectionism Syndrome

Video fear-perfectionism syndrome

You spend too long preparing or thinking about doing video in the futile pursuit of perfection.

  • You’re an introvert

Video fear - introvert syndrome

An introvert is someone who gets their energy from time alone. Most introverts love spending time with people too – and need people. I’m an introvert!  

But spending time in bigger groups of people is often draining of their energy. Many speakers and performers are introverts, so it’s not about having a fear of public speaking. Some introverts can use the fact that they are an introvert  as an excuse to hide and not to get in front of the camera. 

  • You don’t like the way you look and/or sound

When you look back at your videos, you squirm and really don’t like the way you look or sound. You think you have a “face for radio”. You assume other people won’t want to watch and hear you on video.

  • Tech Excuse Syndrome

Video fear - Tech Excuse Syndrome

When you over complicate your video tech and gear as a subconscious delaying tactic, because really you are too afraid of getting in front of the camera.

  • Feeling Like an Idiot Syndrome

Video fear - Like an idiot syndrome

You’re just afraid of making a mistake, saying something silly, falling off your chair or basically appearing like an idiot on video!


How to Stop Feeling Like an Idiot on Video

So, I’ve shared the problems. It’s now time to focus on how to knock down those barriers.  Here are 7 ways you can become much more confident with video and stop feeling like an idiot!

#1 Counter Perfectionism Syndrome with the Confident Video Chart

Are you a perfectionist? Well, join the club! 

But perfectionism can you really harm productivity and even stop you from creating your amazing content. We all have to start somewhere, but so many of us compare our first video with someone else’s 100th video or even 1000th video. 

Take Gary Vaynerchuk. Many would argue quite rightly that he is doing rather well at the moment! But his first video is arguably basic and poor quality – at least by today’s standards. But he started. And he kept going – increasing in quality each time.

Gary Vaynerchuk - Episode 1 - Verite

The very first video by Gary Vaynerchuk, the chairman of VaynerX


It’s important to realize that your first videos will probably not be that great. Your confidence levels will also be very low and the fear factor very high. But the great news is, once you get going and the more consistent you become, the fear factor will decrease and your production value will increase. 

This is highlighted in my “extremely accurate” Confident Video Chart:

Confident live video chart

So just get started, because things will always get better. If you don’t get started then, well, nothing will happen!

#2 Embrace the Wrong with Live Video

Following on from the last point, people don’t actually want perfect. 

I love this quote from Philip Kotler who says

Marketers need to adapt to this new reality and create grounds that behave like humans approachable likeable but also vulnerable. Brands should become less intimidating. They should become authentic and honest, admit their flaws, and stop trying to seem perfect.

A great place to start introducing video is live video. 

This may surprise you, because live video can seem even more terrifying. But once you get it going Live video is a great antidote to perfectionism. Instead of focusing on trying to be perfect, you could instead focus on your expertise and delivering valuable content. 

Embrace the wrong in your videos and resist the temptation to delete the bits where you make mistakes. This could include forgetting words, the cat jumping on the table, the kids bursting into the room while you’re in mid flow, or the cleaner coming in and emptying the trash. You can use these in blooper reel or even to add a bit of fun to your content.

You’ll no doubt be familiar with the BBC News interview with the North Korean experts when his children storms his office. Him and his family became an overnight sensation.

Children interrupt BBC News interview - BBC News

There was an unexpected distraction for Professor Robert Kelly when he was being interviewed live

Janet Murray does a great job of embracing the wrong and repurposing content where things don’t go according to plan. Four example the time when somebody flushed the toilet while she was Recording a video!

Or Louise Humphrey, an online Pilates Instructor who had the delivery man interrupting her live Pilates session. But she kept going, and it was rather amusing!

#3 Practice with Instagram Stories

If you’re really struggling with the idea of getting advance of the camera, a great place to start is with Instagram stories. Instagram stories are only 15 seconds long, and so you can practice with short video clips of you in front of the camera. You can intersperse these with text, images and video clips. 

Practice doing live videos with Instagram stories

Did you know that Wave.Video can help you create Instagram story video clips too?

And what’s the worst that can happen? Instagram stories only last for 24 hours after which they disappear into oblivion. 

They will help you gain your confidence in front of the camera and help you build consistency. It’s one of the main ways that I gained more confidence and consistency and it will definitely help you.

#4 Be Constructive with the “Three Things Journal”

Be constructive about your live videos with the “Three Things Journal”

Do you have an inner critic which analyses and criticises everything created that you do? If that’s the case, you’re in good company. Most people including many online entrepreneurs that I work with. 

I recently interviewed Claire Josa on my Confident Live Marketing podcast. She has been researching the psychology behind The inner Critic for many years. If you want to learn more then I recommend you watch the episode.

If we were to treat our clients the way we treat ourselves, they would sack us in no time! We need to turn that inner critic into our inner champion!

I recommend keeping a video journal which tracks your progress overtime. It’s absolutely vital to write down three things that you did well. Resist the temptation to immediately focus on the negative. 

After you have written down three positive points, then write down three things that you could improve upon. It’s really important to be constructive here.

When you next create a video, you will have more confidence, and be able to implement any changes that came about from your constructive improvement points.

#5 You don’t need to show your face in your videos

Live video without showing your face

Of course, you don’t actually have to show your face in your videos at all. You can create a “how-to” video by sharing your screen and explain what’s happening on there with your voice. Or create a video with a music soundtrack and text on screen using stock video. 

You can record your screen using tools like Quicktime or Ecamm Live for Mac, or for PC, OBS Studio or Snagit. You can upload these videos to an online video editor like Wave.Video.

Online video editor

With Wave.Video you can choose from hundreds of millions of stock videos, images and soundtracks. So, instead of speaking, you can add your own text throughout. You can also upload your own video or audio track, or if you prefer, not include any video or audio at all of yourself!

#6 The Confident Live Warm-Up Formula

Athletes, singers, actors and other performers all work hard to warm up their bodies and voices before the main act. 

Before you get in front of the camera, you’ll greatly enhance your confidence and delivery if you warm up. I’ve developed a warm-up routine to help. It’s called the Confident Live Warm-Up Formula….


  • Arms & Legs

Stretch up your arms up for 7 seconds.  Then shake your arms and legs out – releasing any tension there. Do the same thing again, but stretch your arms forwards in front of you. And then finally, stretch them backwards.

  • Shoulders

Pull your shoulders up and then relax them down. Then look to your left and take your left hand and massage your right shoulder. Finally, look to your right and massage your right hand and massage your left shoulder.

Live video warm up formula

  • Neck

Drop your head slightly – not quite to the floor, just gently look down. Take both hands and then just use your thumbs and fingers to rub your neck up and down. (You may end up yawning and closing your eyes – that’s ok!)

  • Jaw & Face

Loosen your jaw and massage your cheek muscles and jaw.  

Then make a “big face” by widening your eyes and opening your mouth – as if you are shocked or amazed at something. Then make a “tiny face” by scrunching up your face as small as you can. Make the big face and little face a few more times – exercising your facial muscles more.


If you can, it’s much better to stand while on camera. This really helps your posture and your breathing. I am a big believer in the “Noble Position”.

Live video warm up_posture

The Noble Position comes from the world of singing – the Italian Bel Canto School. 

Try to lengthen your spine, keep your head up and your tailbone down. Make sure your shoulders are back and down comma and imagine that you are balancing a book on your head! 

This will result in a much more relaxed upper body and an expanded rib cage.  You will feel much more relaxed and confident, and this really aids your breathing. 


Now that your body is relaxed and you have a really good posture, it’s time to breathe properly!

Many people get nervous when they are speaking (particularly on podcasts, videos or live video). They end up speaking really fast and taking in breaths quickly and they almost sound like they are hyperventilating!

What’s really important is that you control your breath and that you are expanding your lungs. As adults, it sounds silly, but we have forgotten how to breathe properly and tend do more (lazy) shallow breathing.

What we need to do is use our diaphragm muscle to regulate our breathing. This is how you can do to practice this:

  • Put your hands just below your bottom rib – by the fleshy bit
  • Press in quite firmly with your thumbs at the back and your fingers at the front
  • Then breath in very slowly – into your hands as your lungs expand
  • Then slowly exhale letting it out as a “vvv” sound.

If you don’t feel a lot of expansion at first – that’s ok, it will come with practise. When you take a breath in – we don’t want to hear you take in the breath. If you can hear your intake of breath then you are tensing your throat. Just try and relax – as if you are doing a big yawn.

Once you’ve done this once – repeat. 

When you do it again, extend the exhaling – by counting for 6 seconds… and then try 9 seconds. This is a strengthening exercise – you will get better over time. You can practice with different long consonants like Sss, Zzz and Fff.

Live video_warm up exercise

If you fancy an app that can help you with your voice warming up – I highly recommend One Minute Voice WarmUp (for iOS or Android).


This is really important. Have you listened to a podcast or watched a video and the person is incredibly monotone and sounds quite boring – with no passion at all?

We want to add a bit of excitement to our voices so we can improve the listening experience which will keep our audience engaged.

Here’s an exercise you can do to use the lows and highs of your voice and increase your range – it’s called the “Lip-trill” exercise:

  • Get your lips nice and relaxed and then blow air through your lips (almost like a child blows a ‘raspberry’…but keep your lips more open)
  • Then slide up from low to high and back again.

Live Video Warm Up Formula


This is all about getting your words out really clearly. Start to practice speaking slowly and enunciate your words. Over time you can speed that up – but start slow. 

A fun way is to practice some tongue twisters:

Live Video Warm Up Formula


It’s important to have more energy when speaking on video, but you still want to be yourself – authentic. I call this “Heightened Authenticity”.

Practice speaking the following sentence:

“Level up your impact and authority through the power of confident video”.

Imagine you are in the following situations and repeat that phrase – increasing the energy you put into it each time…

  1. One to One – a conversation with a close friend in a coffee shop
  2. Small Group – chatting with a group of friends
  3. Workshop – giving a workshop to 10 – 12 people
  4. Video – communicating something valuable  to your audience through the camera
  5. An important presentation on the stage at a big international conference.

Live video warm up formula - heightened authenticity

#7 It’s Not About You – it’s about your Audience

It’s so easy to stress over the tech, your confidence, getting things perfect and so much more. But while you are stressing about these things, your audience is missing out. 

Your audience is not hearing your message – your expertise, your knowledge, your fun and entertainment and your personality. Think about that while you’re stressing, because as harsh as it sounds, it could be argued that you’re being selfish and being self-obsessed. I should know, because I’ve been there! 

I stopped creating videos for a whole month because I was concerned that my camera and background weren’t up to scratch. And my audience missed out on my content.

So, stop trying to be perfect. Stop thinking about yourself or how you compare to others.

Create content that delivers value, that’s entertaining and also communicates your message in an authentic way.

What Next?

So, what’s been holding you back, and what are you going to do about it? Don’t spend too long thinking about it. 

Plan when your next video is going to be in your calendar. Start small and overtime build up your confidence. 

I can’t wait to see what you’re going to create!

How to not feel like an idiot on video

We’ll keep you in the loop!

Join 5,000 marketers who read our articles first