Public Speaking Tips from Media Trainer and Public Speaking Coach Kerry Barrett

An interview with Kerry Barrett Media Trainer, Public Speaking Coach and founder of Kerry Barrett Consulting.

Public Speaking Tips

Most people hate talking to a live audience or on camera. They don’t know how to be their best self in front of their target audience. Today, video content is everywhere, and it can dramatically increase your trust factor. But if you don’t do it well, it can hurt you.

How you should appear on camera:

  1. Have an understandable and memorable message
  2. Appear calm, confident and relaxed
  3. Appear knowledgeable on camera
  4. Influence your audience to do what you want them to do

Kerry has two decades of experience in the broadcast news industry as a producer, as an anchor and as a reporter. She is familiar with everything that can go wrong. She is teaching from experiential point of view, rather than just an academic point of view.


KP: Hi Kerry. Thanks for joining us.

KERRY:  My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

KP: So, can you tell us what problem you solve and how.

KERRY:  What problem I solve. I can. So most people hate public speaking, right. Most people get up in front of an audience and their mind goes blank. They’re terrified. They don’t like the eyes looking at them. I help people be their best self, be their rockstar self, when they’re in front of their target audience. So that means not only when you’re talking to a live audience, but also especially, increasingly, in this day and age, on a camera. Video content is everywhere. It dramatically helps increase your like, know, trust factor. But if you don’t do it well, it can hurt you. If you look like a hostage in your video, you’re not doing yourself any favors. So I help you make sure that your message is understandable, memorable, that you appear calm, confident, relaxed, knowledgeable on camera, and that you are able to influence your audience to do what you want them to do.

KP: And what is your secret sauce? Why should somebody work with you? What’s different about you?

KERRY: What’s different? Well a lot of things. But as they apply to this, I think what makes me different is that I have two decades of experience in the broadcast news industry as a producer, as an anchor and as a reporter. So I am familiar, intimately, with everything that can go wrong. I am familiar with people’s fears. I had to battle my own fears, overcoming really being terrified to speak in front of an audience, or in front of cameras. So I know where those fears come from. I have a unique experience in overcoming them.

KERRY: I have, like I said, decades of experience figuring out what messaging works. Not only the words you use, but the performative aspect of being in front of an audience, or in front of a camera as well. How you use the space around you, how you use your eyes, your facial expressions, your body language. Because everything you do is part of your message. And a lot of people get afraid to move, or really speak from the heart when they’re in front of a camera. Their personality and what makes them unique can evaporate. And I get it. I’ve been there. I mean, I was terrible when I first started in broadcast news. But I know how to overcome it, because I personally have done it. And I think that’s what makes me different. I’m teaching from experiential point of view, rather than just an academic point of view.

KP: And since you’re here, I want to throw this at you. How do you fix this? Like can you give me a couple of tips on how can I improve?

KERRY: Well I think you’re fabulous, number one. You’re wearing all the right things. You’re wearing a great color for on-air, which is blue. That’s a universally flattering color. Maybe stay away from small prints. You never know what kind of camera you’re going to be in front of, and they can dance or [inaudible 00:02:40] sometimes, as you call it. People that are outside, make sure you take your sunglasses off. A little powder to help with the shine. That’s something. You don’t realize that a camera can magnify flaws, and it also has a flattening effect. So those two things combined together can sometimes take people aback when they see themselves on camera.

KERRY: But some simple makeup, making sure that you’re not wearing fussy clothing, and making sure that what you’re wearing is something that you feel comfortable in and is not a costume. Those are the basics of appearance as far as speaking, which you do very well already. It’s making sure that you retain what makes you unique and interesting. Nobody likes a perfect person. Not on camera and not in front of an audience. So using your mistakes as personality showcases, that’s what I like to call them, kind of reframing them in your mind as an opportunity to display who you are, genuinely and authentically, don’t lose that. Keep that. Don’t whitewash yourself. And I think if you are able to combine a couple of those aspects, you’d be good on camera. You already are.

KP: Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you. And how do you get the word out there? Because you do something that’s really important. Everybody needs it. How do you get the message across? How do you win over clients?

KERRY: Well, I think it’s interesting. I just started my business a few months ago, about five months ago, in April. So I’m still very much kind of learning how I get the word out. I’m not a marketing expert, but what I do know is that today, anything that you can do with a keyboard, you can also do with a camera. And while text content is certainly important, and you don’t want everything to be video, putting video out there on all of the different platforms that you have available to you has been extremely beneficial to me. People may scroll through Instagram, they may search public speaking hashtags, or media training hashtags, and see what I do and contact me that way. That has been instrumental in growing my business. But I’m sure as I scale and move forward, how I go about that process will change. But I’m still figuring it out.

KP: And which one works best for you right now? Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube? Are you a fan of any of these platforms?

KERRY: Well, you know, really I just started my YouTube platform, but I will say I’m anticipating that YouTube will be one of my biggest growth areas. And the reason that I say that is because, especially for younger clients, they’re not doing their research on Google, or at least they’re not only doing it on Google anymore. They’re supplementing with YouTube, or maybe they’re strictly YouTube. So if you have video content out there, A, it’s a smaller pool of people that they’re looking at, and it’s a huge, wide, there’s tons of millennials who are doing their research on YouTube. So I anticipate YouTube being a big growth area for me. Right now I find that I’m getting a lot of traction on LinkedIn. That will probably change.

KP: And how does somebody reach out to you, get started, try to figure out how they can work with you? What’s the best way?

KERRY: What I like to do, so I always, I welcome people to give me a phone call or schedule time to have a Zoom call on my website. And one of the things I like to do is, first of all, I like to find out somebody’s short and long-term goals. And it’s really hard to put a plan together without knowing what somebody’s baseline is in terms of their ability to speak on camera. Some people may think they’re awful. They’re really not. They just need a little bit of fine-tuning. Some people may think they’re great, and they’re really not, and they need a lot more help. But I’ve seen it all, and I’ve been through it all. I was not so great when I started.

KERRY: So what I try and do is really put a plan together. I try and get an idea of what somebody looks like and acts like and sounds like on camera. I like take a look at their short and long-term goals, and then I put a plan together that will start at the end and kind of back out to the different steps that we need to get them to that end point.

KERRY: So a phone call or an email is the easiest way to get ahold of me.

KP: Perfect. Then we’ll include the links below.

KERRY: Thank you.

KP: But I look forward to working with you actually, so I can improve some of this.

KERRY: Oh my gosh. Please, well you’ll be one of my easy clients.

KP: Thank you very much.

KERRY: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Kerry Barrett Consulting


Founder of Board Studios Inc, an animation production agency that helps B2B companies simplify and communicate more effectively. Specializing in B2B makes a big difference because we know what information your clients need, what works and what doesn’t. B2B communications can be very different than B2C, so if you get your video explainer from a B2C agency you may not get the results you deserve.