• Don’t Pull A Rick Perry – How To Avoid Brain Freeze On Live Television

    I feel your pain, Rick Perry. I’ve been there. I bet that a lot of us have been there at one point or another. I’m in the middle of a weathercast, pointing to a county, or a town, or a particular highway and the name just doesn’t come to my mind. I know the name; I’ve probably said it a hundred times under similar circumstances. For whatever reason on this particular day, the path from my brain to my mouth has been momentarily blocked. Now I don’t think I’ve ever crashed and burned as bad as Rick Perry did the other night, I can certainly sympathize and know what it feels like to be in that situation.

    You never know when something like this might creep up on you but there are things you can do before, during and after a brain freeze to make the most out of a bad situation.

    Before the freeze: The key to recovering from brain freeze is to avoid one in the first place. The best way to do that is to have a sound knowledge in the topic that you are talking about, and the confidence to discuss that topic in a high-pressure situation. If you are missing either one, you’ll likely run into trouble eventually. It’s important to have a comprehensive background in the material, which usually takes some time to develop. You’ll never get to mention everything you know, but having that deep catalog to fall back on and being able to recall it easily, can get you out of a tight spot. Remember don’t memorize; internalize. Continue reading

  • Beating The Butterflies – Dealing With Anxiety At The Chroma-Key Wall

    Most people have a fear of speaking in public. Throw in a big green wall, a bunch of lights and some live television, and its understandable that broadcast meteorologists often deal with nerves when starting out. Its easy to come to terms quickly that this anxiety stems from an irrational fear. We aren’t going to die up there. No large animal is going to come out from the control room and eat us, but the nerves can still be hard to shake, and it is usually the biggest hurdle to get over when trying to become your best on camera. The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to be informative and personable.

    The Long Term Fix – There is no magic bullet to reducing anxiety on camera. The ultimate cure is lots and lots of work on camera over time. With each show you get under your belt, you get a little more comfortable on camera. Anything new can be scary. The less new it becomes, the less scary it will be. The reason why you go to a good broadcasting program is to get experience and work these nerves out now, before you head out into the real world. You should be starting the process in the privacy of the classroom and once you are a little more comfortable, graduate to live campus weathercasts. There are things you can do  before your show to set yourself up for success during your next weathercast.

    1. Plan your show. Prepare what you want to cover ahead of time, but instead of trying to memorize, internalize instead. The difference is that instead of learning exact sentences, you are learning the concepts those sentences are based around. The more you know, the easier it will be for those words to make the trip from your brain to your mouth, and you’ll be able to think about other things at the same time.
    2. Practice ahead of time. You should know the order of your graphics, and how you plan to bridge from graphic to graphic. Click through the order once or twice before the start of the show, so when you see those graphics on-air, you are already pretty comfortable with what you you want to say.

    Continue reading