Last November found me sitting in beautiful Delray Beach, Florida. A warm wind was blowing, water was making gentle lapping sounds against the sides of the pool, fluffy clouds scudded across the sky. And there I was, scared out of my wits. I might as well have been standing on the edge of a 170-story building. I was shaking, my mouth was dry, and my mind was blank.

Was Michael Masterson reading me the riot act?

Had Brad Pitt suddenly revealed his plan to whisk me away to Paris?

Had a leopard escaped from the Palm Beach zoo and leapt over the wall of the Marriott veranda?

No. The reality was far worse.

Consultant and Internet marketer Terry Brock had a video camera pointed at me and was asking me questions.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. Terry wasn’t shoving the microphone in my face and interrogating me paparazzi-style. He wasn’t accusing me of any horrible crime or trying to embarrass me.

All he wanted to do was get me to talk a little bit about ETR and e-mail marketing. (He posted the video on his website www.TerryBrock.com. You can see it – and other videos – there.)

Maybe, like me, you are terrified of speaking in front of a camera. Or perhaps you are applying for jobs and want to appear calm and dignified in front of your prospective employers. Or maybe you’ve been invited to appear on TV or radio to share your expertise.

If so, you’ll be interested in the seven techniques I picked up from Terry that you can use to calm your nerves and get through any interview with flying colors.

Terry’s been interviewing people for decades. In fact, when he was 16, he was asked by his local paper to cover Richard Nixon’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. He has a background in radio. And he spent six years on the Board of the National Speakers’ Association.

These days, most of the interviewing he does is for his website. He’s interviewed Harvey Mackay (author of Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive) Zig Ziglar, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield, and many others. He’s even interviewed ETR’s own MaryEllen Tribby. So he’s seasoned in what it takes to get a good conversation going.

And he’s equally versed in what it takes to calm down a nervous interview subject. (It comes with the territory.)

That’s where I come in.

As I said, I was freaking out. But Terry knew how to get me past my nail-chewing nerves and through the interview.

I think you should know that Terry charges $6,997 for a full year of hands-on individual coaching. But he agreed to let me give you seven of his nerve-beating techniques that you can use the next time you get interviewed – whether it’s for a new job or to share your expertise with a local radio or TV audience…

How Not To Be Nervous:

1. Prepare yourself. As Cervantes said, “To be prepared is half the victory.” Try to anticipate the questions you’ll be asked or the topics your interviewer might cover. You’ll feel a lot calmer if the questions aren’t thrown at you out of the blue.

2. Picture yourself in your living room, sharing a glass of Riesling with the interviewer.

3. Chat with the interviewer for a few minutes before you begin. Terry and I talked about his travels, the languages he speaks (Russian and Japanese), Ireland, and Guinness beer. When we were relaxed and laughing, he began the interview. It was an easy transition.

4. Talk to one person. This is a universal communication rule. Whether you’re writing an e-newsletter or speaking at a convention or giving an interview, don’t think about all the people your words are reaching. Instead, focus on one person. Even if that person is imaginary.

5. Visualize your audience as a friend rooting for you to succeed.

6. Be yourself. It’s a huge cliche, but it’s true. Don’t try to be some stiff Walter Cronkite copycat if that’s not the normal you. Just be sincere and true to yourself.

7. Don’t worry about messing up. Worrying about something that may happen is counter-productive. And even if it does happen (and it probably will), it’s not the end of the world. As Terry said to me, “You’re a human being. It’s okay to mess up.”

Now you may think that Terry’s advice doesn’t apply to you because you’re never going to be interviewed. Well, I never thought I’d be on camera, and now I am. As Terry pointed out, “It’s a video world.” Chances are, to reach your customers or your family or even – if you work remotely – your coworkers and employees, you will be on video at some point. So it’s a good idea to get past that irrational and blood-curdling fear of being on camera.

That said, here are two additional – more tech-savvy – suggestions from Terry for getting more comfortable on camera.

• Buy a webcam. (Terry recommends Logitech, which has a 2 megapixel model that goes for under $100.) Then find other people who have webcams and talk to them. It could be your old high school friends back in Michigan… your grandpa in Hong Kong… or your business partner in California.

• Create a video journal. Michael Masterson has recommended keeping a daily journal in writing. But Terry recommends using your webcam to record a video journal, as well. “Wouldn’t you like to see yourself on camera when you were 10 years old?” he asked me. “What about 20 years from now? Think how nice it will be to see yourself as you are today.” Plus, practicing in front of the camera is a great way to get comfortable with being recorded.

And that’s the final key.

The best way to get comfortable being on camera is to get yourself on camera as much as you can.

[Ed. Note: This may be the year you make your video debut. That’s because video is becoming a more popular means of connecting with potential customers. To learn how to use video to build relationships with your clients, and to discover the best ways to market your business in the Internet Age, sign up for ETR’s Internet Money Club. It’s a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to growing an Internet business. Find out if you are still eligible for the “Class of 2009” right here.]

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