I started toying with the idea of doing a Mith Books YouTube channel sometime last year. I honestly had no idea where to begin. From filming, to editing, to post-production… How does it all come together? How do I even begin to chart this uncharted terrain? Each time I found myself facing my hyper critical inner voice, I would remind myself that that’s how every professional starts – as an amateur.
My career as a teacher had taught me that before a student learns to write their first word, they first have to master their ABCs. I highly doubt any of my ex-students would describe me as an introvert – but authors are generally introverts by nature. After all this time I still find myself feeling shy and self-conscious as I speak about my book and business. The reticent part of me wanted to hide under a rock in the ocean and let the characters in my debut novel do the talking.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m no wallflower and definitely no stranger to speaking in front of an audience. During my Japan years, I worked on a livestream education show – but again, I was a teacher with students.
Business communication requires a whole different skillset.
I’m both a young adult author and the founder of a boutique author consultancy service. My readers come from a completely different demographic to my clients. Should my first video be targeted towards my readers or my clients? Since the channel was about my business, I decided to do a video on the Mith Books Story to begin with.
I first presented it at my local Toastmasters Club – to get a gauge of how an audience would respond to the story. The speech was well-received and I won best speaker. I listened to the feedback that was given to me and proceeded to work on the delivery.
Prior to shooting this particular video, I had already filmed two trial go-with-the-flow Q&A videos. There’s nothing like a mirror to show you who you truly are. I was both startled and amused by what I saw.
When I watched myself on screen, I wondered – do I really talk that fast? Do I really speak that casually and say the first darned thing that comes to my mind? Where is that filter that stops me from putting my foot in my mouth? One thing was certain – my readers may appreciate this content – but a client might not.
So I decided to film and re-film it till I got it as right as an amateur possibly could.
As I looked straight at the camera and told my story, I would burst out laughing in a middle of a sentence for no reason at all. There were two people behind the camera and I had no idea where to look. In Asian cultures, eye contact is reserved for people with whom one has a close relationship – whereas in Western cultures a lack of eye contact is perceived as being untrustworthy. I had no idea which side to lean towards…
In addition to being an author, I am also a businesswoman – so I found it difficult to show any emotion at all as I was speaking. That is simply not the way I was raised to conduct myself in business dealings.
And then finally – the video was done.
I knew there were places to improve. I knew there were things I could have done better. But a startup founder must focus on the big picture and not the details. I know that if I spend too much time focusing on the details, it’ll be MONTHS before I get anything done.
Remember that hyper inner critical voice I was telling you about? I put it on mute.
So I uploaded the video and decided that this was as good as it was going to get – for an amateur.
And now my video is out in the big bad world…. What do you think? Did I master my ABCs?
About the Author
Dipa Sanatani is the Merchant of Stories. She delights in gazing out at the ocean and jumping in. She sees life as one great adventure and is an ardent student of the human experience. She is the author of The Little Light and the Founder of Mith Books. She works in a top secret day job.