How I survived my first TV appearance

In business, as in life, there are firsts. Our first interview, our first presentation, the first time managing people, etc. The firsts are always scarier because of the unknown. We haven’t experienced it before and we don’t know what to expect. We may not know everything we need to know to be good at the task and that’s the hard part. Often with firsts we have to learn by doing.

As a business owner almost everything I’ve done has been firsts – my first client, my first Puget Sound Business Journal article, my first keynote speech and many smaller, less exciting firsts. I experienced another first on Monday; my first TV appearance. Eight months ago, I was invited to be on TV and I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready for this first so I found an excuse to get out of it. I then berated myself for being afraid. But, in hindsight, I want to honor that I needed more time to feel ready for this big step.

This time, I was invited by a business associate and friend to be on TV. Shari Storm is the chief marketing officer for Verity Credit Union and author of Motherhood is the New MBA. She is one of the most talented, bright, hardworking people you will meet. Verity sponsors New Day Northwest, a KING 5 program, and every month Shari shares financial tips on the show.

Shari wanted to highlight their online community resource called Spend, Save, Live, that I blog for. She feels that having good manners is important to finding, landing and keeping a job, which leads to your financial well-being. My last blog post was about office holiday party dos and don’ts and Shari thought it would be perfect timing to share those dos and don’ts on air.

So when I got the email asking me if I wanted to do this I didn’t hesitate this time, but the fear was right there. What helped me push through the fear this time and do this first? A few things; I knew I would be going on air with Shari, which took some of the pressure off.  Also, Shari gave me helpful advice – how to prepare, what to wear, and at the studio, what to expect from Margaret Larson, the show host. All of that helped me feel more at ease.

I followed her advice and practiced my talking points so that I could recall them even under stress. The morning of the show I was so nervous I thought I was going to lose my breakfast, thankfully I didn’t. After gathering in the green room I was energized by talking to some of the other show guests. We then went into the makeup room to be powdered. And we waited. Shari and I practiced what we were going to say. When we were finally taken into the studio we were ready.

Was I nervous? Oh yes! But, thanks to years of public speaking experience starting with Toastmasters, I knew my nerves would give me energy and enthusiasm. And they did. It helped too that Margaret was such a warm, friendly host. She put me at ease immediately.

As she asked me questions, my talking points were right there in my brain, thanks to all of my practice. I even fielded an unexpected question without getting too ruffled. And, before I knew it our five minutes were up. Wow, I survived my first TV appearance!

Practice and preparation were absolutely key in not only surviving, but thriving in this first situation. So, next time you’re faced with a first, acknowledge your fears, they are normal, and prepare as much as you can. Read books, ask for advice or get training. You too will survive and thrive.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Barb Hunsinger on December 17, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Congrats on that very big first!!! Wish I had seen it – I know you were great. 🙂

  2. Arden Clise on December 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Thank you Barb. It was a lot of fun. Happy Holidays!

  3. shari storm on December 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I had no idea you were that nervous. You really didn’t show it – not in the green room and not on air. You must be a natural.

    Perhaps a weekly etiquette show is in your future?

    And thank you for saying those nice things about me.

  4. Arden Clise on December 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Shari, once I was in the building I wasn’t as nervous as I was at home. The anticipation always makes it worse. You helped me feel relaxed. I’m thankful for such a great mentor in you!

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