Have you heard of the Imposter Syndrome?
It “is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.” (Fall 1978). “The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: dynamics and therapeutic intervention” (PDF).)
If you are an entrepreneur journalist or author-preneur, you understand that you are always curiously walking into new and unexpected timewarps, new-to-you environmental situations, and talking with experts who know more about their field than you do. That’s why life holds the goods for you, but that’s also why you may feel nothing like an expert at ANYTHING.
I’ve experienced the imposter syndrome myself. Here are three issues I have faced feeling like a fake.
- My industry is often viewed as a fraudulent spin-off of traditional publishing.
- In my musical quartet, one person became sick. Others of us had our doubts, fears, baggage from life, and time constraints that made for a pile of imperfections. Besides that, we wrote our own music. How could we possibly tell if there was even a market for our music, much less present ourselves as professionals?
- The first time I approached a DJ to speak about Capture Books on the radio, I didn’t know that radio hosts are beholden to an agenda dictating what they are able to put on the air. Agendas are either self-imposed by their persona or show or imposed by the broadcasting station. I soon learned that wanna-be speaker-authors are a dime a dozen.
What is the Answer?
You’ve heard some of these things before but perhaps applied to other arenas of life. So, as you are thinking about the overwhelming challenge to present yourself an expert in the field you have written about, break down these two TIPS, A & B, below, and apply them to your new writing business.
Come Across in a Powerful, Vibrant Persona
This is how you “should” come across. Oh, yeah. Of course, just putting a “should” into the mix tends to tighten up the flow of consciousness! “Shoulds” can plug up your ready laughter, and bring on comparisons that cause wet patches to grow under your armpits. Yes, acting like the perfect example of an Alpha-personality, even if you aren’t, can be faked!
Slouching in your chair, or walking with your shoulders slumped over does not create the image of movement, good humor, or education. It certainly does not convince your audience that you are their next kicker!
So, here are the basics to win your next interview with a media host:
1. Be on time, and swing your arms. Relax your shoulders and loosen your neck in the car or elevator, or while you are waiting in the appointed hot seat (but do not crack your neck noisily before a stranger!). If you have a hot and angry topic, it will eventually rear its head during the interview, but start out sweet and savvy!
- If a media host gives you directions to the studio or station, write them down. I once attended a radio interview that could not be found on anyone’s GPS. The host did not tell me why he was giving me directions, and I assumed he was a bit of a dinosaur, but I wrote them down anyway. Don’t let GPS destroy your whole reputation!
2. Smile at everyone and try to remember names. You can hear smiles in a voice, and you want to win them over to you and your cause, not isolate yourself. A show host may begin by talking about someone he or she works with, and knowing this helps to orient you into this world where everyone is important, not just the radio host;
3. Facts tend to sober up the emotions. Learn something to fulfill the value of your time slot. If you really, really don’t know, then do your research! During your interview, read your polished-up cues taken from factual notes from your research. No-one expects you to wing it all. And, even if you side with the minority, your opinion on the facts will draw interest and controversy. So, bring to the table your own polished hook on a given topic.
In my first stressful years of learning to publish and market authors, when I spoke of my professional struggles and self-doubt to my own authors, they offered some facts they had encountered personally to allay my fears. They told me why they found my services valuable. One of them repeatedly told me that Capture Books filled the niche between self-publishing and traditional publishing. One of them insisted that we charge her more money for our services because she wanted Capture Books to be around in the future! Understanding these facts offered by the primary source – from the authors I served – tossed my emotional devaluation and angst over the cliff into oblivion.
When I mentioned what our hybrid publishing company was doing to my first radio host, this proved to be the angle that excited him to book our authors!
Bringing facts to bolster your media interview includes quoting
- something from the news, or
- from classic history, or
- something literary;
4. Turn your attention away from yourself by being genuinely interested in the person you are reaching out to, whether it is the DJ or the audience behind the wheel of the car. Don’t worry about what you are going to say or when to say it. The radio host, DJ, podcast host or television host will introduce the questions he or she has prepared for you in its proper time. Prompting you at the right time is their job;
5. Use questions if you feel yourself lecturing or “promoting”. Asking one or two conversational questions, on topic, stops your run-on monologue in the moment, breaks down the doldrums of saying the same thing repeatedly, and creates a new personal application or thought process in the mind of the listener that grabs attention;
I was in a presentation by a television host who said that she had never been asked a question by someone she was interviewing before. One day, someone asked a question that rocked her world. She became a different person because of it.
6. Simply start a story. There is an inner child in everyone who loves a good story or a good joke. Have one prepared for each segment;
7. Gipper says, “Even if you are not yet brimming with confidence, simply holding your body in a strong position will give others the impression that you are confident about yourself, and they will treat you as such.” (SoSuave)
Shift from “My Presentation isn’t Ready/Perfect” to “It is Good Enough”
If you’ve ever caught yourself saying: “It’s not ready” or “‘I’m not sure it’s what they want” — this tip is for you, reports Jeanine Blackwell (Create6FigureCourses).
Jeanine says, “the truth is: we NEVER arrive at perfect. We never know for sure that this is THE thing they want.
“And the challenge is, if ‘perfect’ is the bar, we’re pretty much guaranteeing that we are going to be stuck in the process of creating, refining, and switching gears forever rather than getting our work out into the world.
“One of the most important mindset shifts we can make as entrepreneurs is to switch from ‘it has to be perfect’ to ‘this is good enough’.”
I found this to be true regarding our musical presentations. We had to move forward with our commitments in faith. Cancelling would have ruined our reputation. When we did our best, people always responded and the music books sold well.
It’s easy to underestimate the superpower of the hybrid business’ competitive edge. Hybrid authors can add on something really fast if there’s something we have to fix, even if it has to be tackled together. We can respond quickly if there is a gap between what we see ourselves delivering and what the audience wants. It’s easy to think because we aren’t big, we don’t have enough resources. It’s actually the opposite.
Here’s the mindset move:
- Get your work in front of your customers as quickly as you can.
It is a mistake to try to psyche yourself into confidence. True confidence is built through action. To engage action, use
- courage to pursue and test. Then,
- pursue, accepting the high grades and low as any good student does,
- pursue, and become the expert presenter you always wanted to be.
Leave your dreams in the dust. Instead, follow through with every opportunity to become real.