Is your company crisis-ready? Find out with our Crisis Preparedness Assessment.



How to Master Fear in Front of the Camera

How to Master Fear in Front of the Camera


To tell your story well — and avoid disaster — practice makes poise.

The fear. I could see it in his eyes — and the camera hadn’t even started rolling yet.

I had seen it so many times, before and since: the kind of fear that makes you tongue-tied, sweaty, and sinks the interview before it’s barely started.

This was in Winnipeg, one of many places I’ve called home over my 25 years in broadcasting. I was due to interview him in just over an hour’s time. When I saw the fear, I knew what I had to do.

With his nerves all shook up, I set out to settle him down.

I walked him around the newsroom, introduced him to my colleagues, let him see they were nice, and wouldn’t bite.

We went for coffee in the cafeteria. We sat down and had a chat. I asked him about his family, his holidays, the weather, until the conversation naturally turned toward the business he had built, and the passion that he had.

That’s when the fear disappeared. 

His energy changed. His posture relaxed. His eyes lit up with something else instead.

The words he spoke had at first been choppy, frantic, and fumbling. Now they were calm, clear, and crisp.

He was ready.

We kept chatting through hair and makeup. I guided us toward the set. We sat down without a break in the conversation. I winked at the camera operator, who nodded back.

Without the interview subject noticing, the red light switched on. The tape was rolling.

And you know what he did?

He kept talking — with confidence, with clarity, and with a conviction I knew would resonate with our viewers at home.

And so our pre-recorded interview started. I sat up straight, switched the tone of my voice into ‘on-air’ mode, and asked him the first official question on my list.

I could tell he noticed the change. He knew we were now playing for keeps. 

For a second, I worried the fear would return — the sweats, the jitters, the skittishness that sinks so many ships like his.

But there was no fear anymore. No uncertainty in his eyes. Something clicked for him, and he kept talking with the same steadiness and conviction.

The rest of the interview is a blur, but it’s a beautiful blur.

I felt like a proud parent who — after coaxing their kid onto the bicycle they kept falling off of — slips their hands off without their youngster noticing, and watches them ride away all on their own.

After the interview, I saw my interview subject to the door, expecting I would have some explaining to do.

Instead, in the lobby, he turned to me with a smile on his face, and an obvious glow of relief.

“Thank you,” he said.

“What for? You were great.”

“I had been worrying about this interview all week. I was sure I was going to blow it. If you had just popped me in the hot seat and said ‘Go’, I probably would have blown it.”

This story has stuck with me ever since.

Being on-set in a newsroom, to me, that’s home. To most people, though, that’s the epitome of stress.

The person in that ‘hot seat’ could be a fearless first responder. They could be a teacher who’s seen it all, or a community leader who’s done it all. 

They could be a senior executive who is used to making decisions that impact thousands of lives, or put millions of dollars on the line.

They could be a CEO who built a business from next-to-nothing, turning it into an empire that’s running 24/7.

To them, those kinds of consequences — that kind of stress — is commonplace.

But once the little red light comes on and the camera starts rolling, that’s when the fear kicks in.

It’s not their fault. In fact, it’s entirely natural. Under the spotlight, the emotional temperature gets closer and closer to the boiling point.

It’s not without consequences, either.

Public humiliation, permanent reputational damage, entire funding rounds that are won or lost — in front of the camera, all this is possible.

Fortunes can be saved or shattered by the wrong choice of words, the wrong body language, the wrong tone of voice.

Inside our minds, we know this. That’s why it’s natural to feel ‘fight or flight’ kick in. 

But that doesn’t mean we can’t master it.

How? The same way corporate leaders like my interview subject that day built their businesses.

Through practice, preparation, and a steady supporting hand.

Related Articles

Our Solutions

Unique and flexible offerings to tackle the most common industry challenges from environmental assessment and permitting, issue and crisis communications, working with Indigenous communities, and more.

Our Services

Essential and in-depth services for communications and public relations to help your organization craft compelling narratives, manage reputations, create social content, and reach your intended audiences.

Industry Expertise

Insightful and in-depth knowledge of industry needs, trends, and regulations to help organizations in the mining, mining technology and clean energy industries benefit from a modern communications and public relations strategy.

Start the Conversation

Are you ready to strengthen your organization’s communications and public and media relations? Complete the short form below and a PRA Communications associate will contact you to get started. 

  • Contact Us


Crisis Response

Need help now? Our team is available to provide immediate counsel and support. Contact us at:

For more information, explore our Issues & Crisis Communications service.

Get a Free Consultation

Contact PRA Communications to take advantage of our limited-time Crisis Communications Planning offer. We are the only communications and public and media relations agency worldwide to serve the mining, mining suppliers, mining technology, and clean energy sectors.

  • Contact Us