Do As I Say, Not As I Do

In my role as the communications director for a large nonprofit organization, one of my many responsibilities involves serving as a national spokesperson. This often requires me to do media interviews for TV, radio and print news. 

There is nothing I dislike more than public speaking, so whenever possible I try to respond to media requests by email or phone. This only works some of the time, so I do occasionally need to be on TV or radio for an interview. When this happens, I do my best to slow down and not say “like” every five seconds. I usually get through theses experiences with my fragile ego intact, but I still remember one interview in which I awkwardly stood sideways to the camera in an effort to hide the black eye that my three-year-old had given me with his elbow the night before. 

The worst interviews for me happen in a “green room.” This is usually a small circular booth where I need to sit on a stool and listen to an interviewer through an earpiece. A fake background (ie Toronto skyline) is added digitally by the technicians. During the interview I can’t see anyone or even locate a camera in the booth to focus on, so the process feels very unnatural to me. I often have a panic attack right after the interview wondering if I remembered to keep my eyes open while I was concentrating on hearing the interviewer through my earpiece.

So, it’s totally logical that I will spend tomorrow morning leading a training session on how to speak with the media. The truth is that I’m better at teaching people how to be effective spokespersons than I am at doing it myself. Rather than feeling like a fraud, I’m trying to own up to who I am and accept myself for my strengths and weaknesses.

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