Lynn Smith is a former national news anchor and the Founder of Rylan Media. She’s also what she calls “a working mom in progress.” 

Lynn refers to herself this way because she cares deeply about her family, which guides everything she does. But she also uses the “in progress” moniker because she can’t stomach being disingenuous. As she tells Leadtail TV host Bryan Kramer, “Being able to get out of your own way, get out of your own head and be your authentic genuine self is going to be game-changing.”

Her popular TikTok and other video platforms aren’t just a place for her to help people be comfortable on camera, although that’s a lot of it. She also shares “mom fails” with her audience in bite-size video snippets. Bridging the gap between the personal and professional isn’t just a social media gimmick for Lynn. It’s a way to showcase her genuine self.

In a time when “every executive needs media training,” Lynn has made a business out of helping leaders unleash their confidence on video by embracing their vulnerable, authentic selves. 

Vulnerability Isn’t Weakness

Take Brene Brown, for one example. She has made a career out of exploring and sharing how vulnerability can create stronger relationships, more authentic work, and a better life. Lynn calls her the “queen of vulnerability.” Brown is “getting standing ovations” simply by embracing vulnerability and sharing her struggles. 

Lynn’s tip for executives who haven’t yet fully embraced being on-camera: “Rather than saying I’m scared to do video, try reframing what weakness means so you can turn it into a great asset.”

Why Authenticity Matters

Lynn encourages leaders to show both the best and worst of themselves. The biggest mistake she sees new-to-video executives make is “Trying to create content. And when content is so forced, it doesn’t even really matter what it is because you can’t be invested in it.”

She points out, “You have five seconds to get someone to like you. You have 30 seconds to get someone to trust you.” By staying true to your authentic self, you can “win in content marketing.”

“Authenticity is what’s going to make you stand out and provide important content for people.”

Sure, Lynn’s job is “to show you how to show up as your best on camera.” But she will also tell you how she “totally forgot my son’s lunch like six times this year.” Because, as she says, “Authenticity has to be the only thing you are focused on when it comes to your brand.”

B2B Leaders, Take Note: Video is the New Boardroom

Video calls are taking on new significance in today’s business world. What used to be accomplished in-person with a slide deck and a handshake must now happen digitally, using one of the ubiquitous online meeting platforms we all know and love. 

Coming off well on video is extremely important. “Make sure you are shining in everything you do content-wise,” Lynn says, because “executives are having to woo investors, through their video calls, or through their teleconferences.” 

This extends beyond just polished press interviews. It applies everywhere you communicate. “The skills that you get in media training are applicable across every single platform.”

How does Lynn help her clients shine? By helping them reframe the idea of being “on camera.” She teaches her clients to view the camera as a way to connect. Picture your most trusted person’s face when you’re looking into the camera. Talk to them. That helps you to talk through the lens rather than talking to the camera.

As Lynn says, “The stakes are high. If you’re not able to do that through the lens, you are not going to be able to keep up as a leader.”

Want to learn how to bring your authentic voice to social media? Let’s talk!