MOVING FROM BACKSTAGE TO CENTER STAGE

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” — so bellowed the Wizard of Oz as he tried to maintain the magic that he had created.

Jessica and Meryl "backstage"

We know his pain. In Be Your Own Best Publicist, we talk about how public relations people are typically the ones behind the proverbial curtain, pulling the strings and making other folks look good in the spotlight.  And, our goal with this book is to help you learn how to promote yourself in the best way possible, so you’ll reap rewards in the workplace. But in doing that, we have had to come out from behind the curtain and take a bit of center stage ourselves — that’s what you have to do these days to sell a book!

So, instead of setting up a photo shoot for our clients or being on set while a celebrity was photographed for a magazine cover, as is often the case with our jobs, we arranged a shoot where we were the subjects.  Let us tell you, it is not easy being a model — no wonder supermodel Linda Evangelista said she wouldn’t get out of bed for less that $10,000 a day!

In the talented hands of photographer Simon Alexander and makeup artist/hairstylist Sadah Saltzman, the experience was made much easier.   For fun, we took some shots of us “behind the scenes,” a few outtakes featured here.

Getting our dance on to Lady Gaga

Both of us prefer to be on the other side of the camera, but here are a few tips we used to loosen up and get comfortable on set, all of which you can also use before you going on an interview or speaking in public:

1) Music feeds the soul. Simon loaded up the 80s tunes and some Lady Gaga to get us going on set.  If you have a big interview or presentation, before you leave for work or on your way, crank up your favorite tunes to pump you up and help your confidence so you’ll do a good job.

2) Keep a sense of humor. Laughter truly is the best medicine and helps diffuse an awkward situation or a tense meeting.  It also instantly relaxes people.  We found plenty of comical moments during the shoot and it’s reflected in some of the best shots of the day.

Laughing on the set

3) Dress confidently and comfortably (and powerfully). We brought several outfits as options for the shoot but the common thread was that they were bold, stylish and yet comfortable enough to stand around in for hours. When you’re preparing for an interview, a speech or an important work function, pick something that will reflect your personality and style, help you stand out (even if it’s a great tie or necklace that elevates that simple black shift or grey suit) but doesn’t make you want to change into your PJs and slippers after wearing it all day.  If you’re going to sport those 5-inch heels, make sure you’ve broken them in and you can walk in them. Choose your “power” look (be it “business chic” or “casual cute”) and rock it.

Last of all, no matter what the situation–photo shoot, interview, presentation, networking event–the best advice is to have fun.

Have you ever had to be front-and-center vs. behind-the-scenes? Share your story with us on Twitter or Facebook.