How To Be Kind To Yourself When Reviewing Your Tapes

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on March 19, 2014 – 6:02 AM

Little relaxes me more than cooking (usually on the weekends). I’m an enthusiastic cook, and I’ve become pretty decent over the past few years.

Sometimes after making dinner for me and my wife, I critique my own cooking. “It needed more acid, perhaps a touch of lemon,” I might say, or “I should have boiled the potatoes a bit longer before pan frying them,” or “It wasn’t flavorful enough. I wish I had added more curry.”

My wife always responded to my self-critiques by telling me how great the dinner was. In her typically kind way, she didn’t want me to feel badly about a meal that was generally good.

It took her a long time—several years—to realize that I wasn’t being hard on myself. I knew the food I had served was good. I wasn’t beating myself up. I was just commenting analytically, without any self-judgment, about something I knew I could do better.

Man Cooking Cheg

My hope is that you’ll approach your self-evaluations of your performances during media interviews and speeches in the same manner.

Now, I know: If you’re like many of our clients, you may find it far too painful to ever listen to your radio interviews or watch tapes of your speeches or television interviews. I get it. But that’s a mistake. As uncomfortable as the experience may be, do it anyway.

Analyze what worked and what didn’t. Be completely honest with yourself, but try to prevent yourself from making sharply critical observations about your very being.

I looked so stupid there!” should become “I need to work on my transitions from unexpected questions.”

“I sounded so boring!” should become “I’m going to do some vocal exercises to learn how to expand my range.”

“I have a double chin!” should become “I should read some blog posts about how to dress in a more flattering manner for my body shape.”

It took me a long time to listen to and watch my own performances without cringing. But I’m glad I forced myself to do so, as I’ve learned a lot from my imperfections along the way.

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Comments (4)

  1. By Art Aiello:

    Thanks for this post, Brad. I avoid my broadcast interviews like the plague. I might like what I said, but I hate the way I sound and look. I know I should watch them as a learning experience. But I don’t. I will do so from now on, though, using the advice you put forth.

  2. By Brad Phillips:

    Thank you, Art, and good luck when reviewing your own interviews. In my experience, it got less painful the more I did it. For the most part, I’ve reached the point where I no longer hate the sound of my own voice, even if I don’t exactly love the process of self-review.


  3. By Sally:

    While I don’t know much about media interviews, I have had to learn (the hard way) not to disparage myself in the workplace and especially in front of my boss. If it happens to be near review time and he’s searching for things to put on my critique, anything negative I say becomes his fair game. Gonna assume this is the same in the media industry – never give anyone a stick to hit you with.

    My lesson learned: Critique yourself when alone with your supporters. In public return a blank look when someone says, “during that interview, weren’t you embarrassed when….” and make it a non-sequitur.

  4. By Steve Alexander:

    Great post! Since I do a lot of teambuilding and executive coaching work, along with this type training, we suggest clients take the approach to focus on: 1) what works and 2) what can be improved (EBIs – Even Better Ifs). This gets everyone invested in solutions, not just problems/critique.

    We also help folks understand an analysis of what was done is just data – neither positive or negative – like taking a temperature and determining whether to adjust the room up or down – it’s not a good or bad thing, it’s simply information we review and analyze in order to ‘adjust’ to the improved ‘environment’ so we can feel better, be better and do better!

    Hope this helps!

    Great stuff, Brad!

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