Cheryl Tan is a media trainer and video coach who specializes in teaching entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and corporations how to show up better on camera in order to create a greater impact in the world. She also has a Video Bootcamp live class and a podcast, the STANDOUT with Cheryl Tan show. Before running her own consulting business, she was a TV news anchor, reporter, and host for television stations in Georgia and Virginia. In this episode, Cheryl shares the story of her trial by fire as a TV anchor and her transition to becoming a mentor. Cheryl discusses common problems why people shy away from video and gives some tips on how to overcome that. She also emphasizes the power of batching in creating video and video content. If you’re ready to use the power of video to your advantage, Cheryl Tan’s Video Bootcamp is just the thing for you.
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There’s Power In Video With Cheryl Tan
On this show, I love to bring you every way that’s possible for you to save time, energy and money so that you can take back time in essence. That’s the name of this show and what we’re out there to do for you, as our readers. We have a great guest, Cheryl Tan. She believes that everyone has a story to tell. Her mission is to help entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations and corporations to more effectively tell those stories on video. She’s a speaker, a communications coach and a host of the STANDOUT podcast.
During her extensive career as a broadcast news anchor and reporter, Cheryl had the honor of telling thousands of stories for TV audiences. Now, she shares the skills that she learned in the newsroom to help business people around the country. She’s the creator of the Video Bootcamp, a coaching program specifically tailored to entrepreneurs and experts who want to create a greater impact in the world and can do that through video. Her system eliminates the stress that’s involved in creating these videos, saves you time and helps her students to develop the skills to use video to reach bigger audiences. Cheryl, it’s great to have you on the show.
Penny, thank you so much for having me on your show. Everything you’ve talked about on your show is something that resonates with me in terms of saving time and essentially living a better life.
At the end of the day, when we can think and act more strategically and do things smarter, it’s going to make our life better in every way. Tell us a little bit about, how did you get on the news and what was that like?
It was not intentional. I will be very honest. I grew up in Northern Virginia, outside Washington, DC. I was an English major at the University of Virginia and I was working at the school newspaper. I worked at the local radio station and I thought that was my path. I thought I was going to be a radio news reporter. It speaks to the power of having someone on your side a little bit. One day, she says, “Cheryl, I think you should do TV news.” I was like, “I don’t know what that means.” I’ve no idea. I haven’t been studying to do this, but she helped me understand what that meant. She pointed me in the right direction. From there, I started talking to people. I worked for free work for very little money in a bunch of places and then worked my way up. I’ve been doing it for about twenty years or so. It’s been an amazing experience, something you couldn’t imagine, especially from someone who hasn’t studied the industry from a very young age. It was incredible.
I’ve heard from people that I’ve met who were in the industry that it was stressful.
Yes. I wish I had known that before. That’s about the power of a mentor because when she felt that this was my path and said, “I see this in you.” It was my path. I didn’t waver from that, even though I had no experience. I should not have been on television when I was. I was not comfortable on the camera. I did not look camera ready, but something about trial by fire or a lot of errors on the air that helps you grow and become the person you are on camera. That has worked and it has worked for me in business because once I left television, you realize that you have to make a lot of mistakes and you make it pretty publicly.
In everything that we do, it’s part of the purpose of growth.
We keep growing. I don’t know if I would have done that had I not started in this career many years ago. It is that trial mentality like, “I’m going to keep doing this. I’m going to keep going even though it feels uncomfortable. This is scary.” That I learned pretty early on, which I’m thankful for.
As you said, the power of having mentors and taking that a step further is engaging an expert in an area to help to get you there faster and to get you over the hurdles that you might not know are there.
When I was young, I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. It was my natural curiosity like, “What does this mean? Why is this scary? Why do I need to wear this outfit? Why should I wear my makeup like this?” All of it is very simple for some people, but for others, even asking for help doesn’t come naturally. I had to learn that pretty early.
I think that’s interesting in this environment too in how much it’s changed in terms of what’s acceptable. There are a couple of tips because you are that mentor for many other people. That’s why I started to head down that route. You’re the expert in this area. You’ve trialed by fire. You’ve learned all of the things that work and you know what doesn’t work. You can help people to get over their stress and anxiety and do the right thing to get the best impact. Let’s talk about some of the things that you might teach in your Video Bootcamp that gives 2 or 3 tips to help somebody to know what not to do and to know what to do.
The trial mentality makes you keep on doing things even though it feels uncomfortable. Click To Tweet The first one I would say is that people do want to hear what you have to say. That’s not necessarily an on-camera tip. After interviewing thousands of people, overworking many stations, over the course of many years, people hesitate to go on camera because they feel what they have to say is not worthy. Let me tell you if I’ve got a camera in your face with a microphone shoved close to your mouth, I want to hear what you have to say. If I was interviewing you for a TV news segment, that’s first of all what I would say. When I work with entrepreneurs or corporate executives to help them speak more effectively on camera, I want them to know that they have something, that what they have is valuable. The things that they need to say are things that people need to hear.
I’ve come up to that from time to time and I still encounter that part of me that goes, “That’s nothing special. What difference are you going to make in this area because there’s already a thousand people doing this?” and so forth. It’s the things that people say to themselves or that they hear. How do you help them get over that?
There are two things with that. The first part is to let them know, “I need to hear you. What you say is valuable.” The second thing is a little bit more tied to vanity. What stops people from pursuing more video opportunities a lot of times is they don’t like the way they look or sound. I can help them with that. Number one, the way you sound is the way you sound, but you’re going to sound different in your own head than the way somebody else hears you. Part of that is slowing down. For women, it’s really slowing down. I work with a lot of women so I say that because they tell me that they don’t like the way they’re voices are high pitched. If they slow down, then their voices will get into that deeper lower register and will sound a little bit lower.
When you slow down, which is hard to do when you’re nervous, people can understand what you have to say and they feel more engaged with what you’re trying to say. The other part of that is dressing in a way that makes you feel as much as you can more attractive. A solid color that you love, very simply. If you wear a solid color that you love, you probably look good in it, then you’ll feel more comfortable, confident being on camera. The third thing related to what you say and how you get people to embrace video or want to say yes when a video opportunity comes their way is to not feel like you’re selling something. I work more with entrepreneurs and they always feel, or some of them want to, they want to say, “I’ve got a sale going on at the store. I’ve got this new product launching. I’ve got this program.”
If you look at it like that, then it becomes less of an attractive thing that you’re going to want to embrace going on camera. Instead, use this as an opportunity to teach. When we’re talking about the news, if someone were to pitch me a story, for example, and a lot of people did. They would say to me, “I’ve got this new program that we’re launching or this new line of business that we’ve got going on.” I’m like, “That helps me not because if you pitch me this story continually, I’m going to send you to my sales department and they’re going to charge you for that.” What I want is a takeaway for my audience.
I’ve been thinking about taxes a lot so the most exciting subject, although I think it’s fascinating. It’s depressing, but when you’re talking about taxes and you were at the beginning of the year, you had these tax tips that you could implement and save money on your 2019 taxes. If I had seen that article or seen that interview or heard that resource beforehand when it could have helped me, I would have been all in. That information does 1 of 2 things. It shows your expertise and if you’re in the business, you know what you’re talking about. If you’re in the tax business, you probably know what you’re talking about. You’ve studied the laws and they’ve changed it. You know what you’re talking about. People who read this know this as well. Reporters know this. If you know what you’re talking about, it shows you as an expert and you’re not selling anything, yet people know exactly what you do.
Educate, don’t sell. That’s good marketing. When I was working with Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins as a business coach there, one of the things that we did was talk about education-based marketing. It’s so much more powerful and accepted. It feels better to deliver because we all like to educate and then there’s that reciprocal agreement that takes place is when you’ve educated me, then I also feel like I want to do something back, so I’m more apt to buy something. That’s in our psychology than anything else.
Those are great tips. Slow down, pick a color. I have picked two signature colors, but typically when I do my videos, you’ll see me either in purple, which is the color that I like or I wear orange. Orange becomes a color for me because, with dark hair, it’s a good color for me. I’ve heard that before that it is so powerful and you feel good when you’re out there wearing it. Everything that you’re saying, I have experienced also. It is good stuff. That education, we talked about and you said something that’s important is timing. If you can bring out your content in that timely space that you can provide it, just before taxes or if you do goal setting, do it before the New Year. That’s going to be very timely and relevant for people and that’s going to make it that much more valuable as well. Those are awesome tips. Is this what you do in your Bootcamp? What does your bootcamp entail working with people?
It does entail all of that because when I left television news, in terms of having videos be part of our job, we produce stories every single day. We had newscasts, several of them a day and sometimes, our job was to create stories for those particular shows, sometimes 1 or 2 per day. It was a job. You created your videos, tracked them, put them together and it was part of what you did. When I left television, I realized that people who are not in the business of having this be their job, look at video as something that is not on their calendar.
It is not their priority. It is just an option.
It’s more of something that is nice to have. Although they do see, especially in the last few years, how critical it has been for the success of other people’s businesses.
If you go to somebody’s website and they don’t have a video that shows about their business, about who they are and telling their story, they’re going to hit next. They’re not going to your website. They’re not going to engage with it.
They want to see you. People want to see you before they go any further. A lot of the Bootcamp is getting people to take action and giving them the tools they need to make sure they do. One of them was something that we talked about is the power of batching. A lot of people say and I’m sure you hear this as well, “I don’t have time.”
That’s the main thing that everybody says. It is overly used.
“I don’t have time to market. I don’t have time to write emails. I don’t have time to network. I definitely don’t have time to create videos.” One of the things I say to them is, “The reason we did so many videos is that it is our job, but the way we were able to do that is through batching,” especially if we had segments ahead of time. If we weren’t doing News Of The Day, but we were doing things that are more into the future, we would batch 3, 4 or 5 segments in one day, in one sitting. People get all in their heads. They’re like, “How about your clothing and how about this?” I’m like, “Let’s pause. Let’s set it on the calendar the date that we’re going to do.”
Let’s say six segments, which is exhausting. The six segments, you get it done, figure out your outfits, what you’re going to say, who your interviewees are going to be and any of the things that you need to think about. You only think about them once. You do it before that session. It’s a one jam session getting ready for this batch shoot. Once you’re done with that, you have six segments all in the can ready for the next month. People shy away from that because it seems like a lot of work. It is, but it makes so much more sense in terms of getting the result that you want.
People hesitate to go on camera because they feel what they have to say is not worthy. Click To Tweet If people think about what they’re doing in their life and where they’re having success, they’re batching. Do they sit down and write one blog or do they write a couple of blogs? Do they sit down and do one tweet or do they go onto Hootsuite or one of those tools and batch it and do a whole bunch of tweets and a whole bunch of statements? If you are going to create memes, you don’t just create one meme. You’re better off and you’re more productive when you’re creating in batching. I’m all about batching and then it gets you also to be themed in your days. You have a day that’s dedicated to your videos. That way you’re putting your videos together and you’re planning your videos. You can do all of that. That might only be 1 or 2 days a month and then you’re done.
It’s pretty powerful once you get the hang of it. Students in my Bootcamp, in the beginning, I know that they’re not thrilled. They’re not super excited.
Is that part of the Bootcamp? Are you like, “Bring your clothes. You’re going to do these segments here?”
I used to do that in a separate session. It’s not part of the Bootcamp per se, but this is an opportunity to show people the benefits of it. That’s more of an interpersonal skill that they need. It works. When batching, it’s the same as working out. The first ten minutes stink. They’re like, “You wish you could go home and have a donut to power through. You have your sneakers and water and you’re good to go after a little while.” It is the same with video batching.
The other benefit of batching and I’d love to hear your opinion on this, is it creates a simplicity when it’s spread out throughout the month, there’s more of a complexity to it. There more complexity and multiple things that we’re doing in one day, the more distracted we get. It’s more complex. We get distracted about, “I’ve got to do all this.” Then you’ve got to get into it and out of it again.”
Part of what I see too is we are all in our own heads, all of us. I’m like, “Is that good enough? I don’t know if that’s good enough.” If you get it all done at once and then you don’t look at it for maybe a day, let’s say you shoot four segments and you’re like, “That wasn’t great, but it’s done.” You let it sit for a day and then you come back. The thing about video is never as great as you thought you were, but you’re also never as bad. You’re always in the middle. If you revisit the set of videos you did, you might be like, “That was all right. Let me edit this up and send it because that’s better than I thought.”
I’m also a firm believer in good enough. I’m a recovering perfectionist. We can work something and work something, but we can also say, “Am I getting the message out there? Am I being authentic?” If it’s not perfect, maybe that’s even better.
In this day and age, people are like that.
Sometimes I think things through so when I get up to say something, it’s thought through. It’s clear and it’s directed. I was at this one event and I got up and I said what my goals were and that was part of the thing and people gave me the feedback later that they didn’t feel like I was authentic or that they could relate to me because it was too perfect. People do want to connect with you. Sometimes it’s been real. It’s not about being perfect. Let’s take a step back because people might be thinking, “We talked a little bit about why video is important and telling your story,” but let’s go a little deeper into that.
It’s what you said about authenticity. I feel that when you are on video, I’m not talking about one and done videos, I’m not talking about videos that you create with a production crew, it’s more of videos like this. Even as we’re creating a video or if you do a video using your phone for YouTube or for Facebook, more of those videos. You can only be so not you. If you create enough videos, you’re you, who are on camera. It’s a lot of work to not be you on camera. Most of the time, you’re you on these videos. I’m not talking about the ones where you have a camera crew and people with microphones and all that, that’s a little different because you’re then like a little bit of an actor or an actress.
When you do more videos where it’s more like, “How are you? This is me in my house and my office.” People see you as you are. I think they like that. I personally like that. I don’t even watch a ton of videos. I don’t watch videos like my kids do. They watch videos all day long but they do connect with the people they watch. I do too. Given that I don’t watch as many videos as they do, I watch enough, know that I feel I know people once I see them on video. It’s not so much a professional thing. I don’t care about the set. I don’t care about their hair or makeup or lighting. I just want to hear what they have to say. If we all take that mindset, then we can get a lot of benefit because people will connect with us in a way that it would be hard to do if we weren’t sitting across from each other at Panera.
The couple of things that stood out that relate back also to what we said is about people believing in knowing that people want to hear from them, is that we each have a unique way of saying it. Even though it might be similar to what someone else is saying, it’s not. It’s different in the way that you present it and the stories that you have that people do want to hear it. When you’re able to present it in your natural way, then that’s what people are attracted to. That stuck with me from what you’ve said there.
People do want to hear what you have to say. If you’re out there, you should be talking about your stories because I also believe. Tell me what you think about this. I was in an interview and we were talking about the theme that’s got weaved through lives. The lessons that we get and keep getting, but they seem to be similar lessons that we’re growing. We get the lesson at this level and then we grow. Somehow, for me, it’s always been a theme that has come back and I believe because it is like that, then it must be there for me to share those stories and to teach people what I’ve learned. Is that what you feel? What is your opinion on that?
I absolutely love that. I definitely see that with the people I work with. I see that a lot of times. That’s why they come to us first in the news. They’ve done something in a good way. I’ve interviewed a lot, but if they are not a part of a bad news story. I’ve interviewed them for something good they’ve done. A lot of times, it’s something that they’ve learned, put into motion, created in some way that has come from inside them. That is important for the rest of us to hear and we get value from it. I definitely see the people I work with are incredible and they have this passion to help others. It’s really neat. There’s no other time and place we could have done this to have all these opportunities available to us to connect and it doesn’t cost that much, an internet connection.
What stops people from pursuing more video opportunities is they just don't like the way they look or sound. Click To Tweet It’s one of the cheapest forms. The phone quality, I do all my videos on from my phone because the quality is as good as any camera I can buy.
It’s very true. The way that your story or this person’s story, that person’s story from their childhood, from work, from family can inspire somebody else is undeniable. The thing is it has to come out of you.
Where can people reach you and find out more about your Video Bootcamp and hear more about what it is that you’re up to?
Thank you so much for this opportunity to tell people more about this. The Video Bootcamp is a four-week program and it’s like a bootcamp. I like to compare it to having a fitness instructor. I’m not a fitness instructor, I’m a video instructor. We do pushups, but it’s more painful to that in some cases because it’s forcing you to turn the camera on yourself and hit record. It’s been a fun journey to help people push themselves out of their comfort zone because I know it’s uncomfortable. This was me many years ago, except I was being paid to do this and I wanted to do this.
A lot of people are still trying to figure out whether this is what they want to do, whether it makes sense, and whether it is worth their time. I will say that having worked with the people I have worked with, I know it’s worth their time in terms of clients, money and in terms of self-confidence and feeling validated in whatever they’ve decided to do. Everybody comes to this point at their own level. In four weeks, we do this and then I set you free and we cheer you on. I have a Masterclass that can outline a little bit of what I talk about and I can share that with your audience as well.
Check out the Masterclass. Is that available or free for people?
It is absolutely free. Just sign up and you’ll get the link in your email.
That’s a great way to build on what you’ve already talked about here and then see whether that Video Bootcamp is right for them.
Thank you, Cheryl. Thanks for being here. Thank you all for being here because you’re an important part of the show. Without you, there would be no show. I want to bring about the point that your story is important. If you are in business, then you need to be using your story as part of your business and the way to get it out there and to build that relationship. There’s no better way than a video because video, like Cheryl had said, people feel they know you already. It’s a way for them to get to know you without being in front of you.
That is incredible as it’s available to you for so low of a cost. In 2020, my theme is to do more with what you have. You have your story already and you have access to the videos. You just need a few tips and tricks to round it out and make it your best foot forward. That’s what I want for all of you is to be able to take your business and your lives to the next level. Use your story, tell your story, and check out Cheryl’s Video Bootcamp and Mastery Program. It’s going to help you to take your video and your presence to the next level. We’ll see you in the next episode.
- STANDOUT podcast
- Video Bootcamp
About Cheryl Tan
I’m Cheryl Tan, a media trainer and video coach who specializes in supporting corporate professionals who want to fully utilize the power of video and create a greater impact in the world.
My core philosophy is this: Great video creators aren’t born. They are made.
When we embrace this philosophy, we can shine on camera and connect with the people who need to hear what we have to say. I’ve used this approach to guide owners of multi-million dollar companies, executives in billion-dollar corporations and solo business owners on a mission to make things better.
Before running my own consulting business, I was a TV news anchor, reporter and host for television stations in Georgia and Virginia. Nowadays, you’ll find me training teams and executives on how to show up better on camera, teaching my Video Bootcamp live class and recording my podcast, the STANDOUT with Cheryl Tan show, a program dedicated to supporting high-performing executives. You’ll also find me cheering on my three sons at football games, regattas and swim meets.
While I enjoy creating videos for my own YouTube channel and speaking publicly, my best insights are shared privately to my email list. You can sign up for my email list at cheryltanmedia.com/masterclass and you’ll even get a nice gift – a replay of a webinar, “How To Create Videos That Attract New Clients & Build Thought Leadership Online.”
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