I was recently asked if I could run some training for group of people who were intending creating some short 1 minute videos of their service offerings to go on their website. They had tried it once before a few years ago and weren’t very happy with the results.
This got me thinking about the similarities and the differences between standing up in front of a group of people and sitting down being videoed.
Using my standard OSRAM acronym for the main 5 aspects of a presentation, this is a summary of what I have concluded.
As anyone who has been on one of my courses or read my earlier blog entries will know I strongly believe that every presentation needs to have a good clear measurable objective accompanied by a call to action to enforce that objective.
Videos are no different. You need to have a clear idea of what you want people to do after they have watched the video, and how they should feel about you.
Having a confident air is always the aim of a good presenter. Preparation and practise is vital to acquiring such confidence. This is even truer when it comes to making a video.
In a personal presentation your audience are likely to be quite sympathetic if you show any signs of being nervous, but will be less forgiving when watching a video. Any hesitations, errs & umms, poor pronunciation or grammatical errors will be far more noticeable on a video that in a live presentation. This is possibly because we are used to watching professional presenters on television. However, if you do make a mistake while filming don’t worry about it, just do it again, no-one will ever know.
There is always a first impression that the camera catches before you start speaking. Make sure you are relaxed and confident with a nice welcoming smile.
One of the main differences between presenting to an audience and presenting to camera is that you audience can see you very clearly. Every smile, every twitch or movement of the eyes will be seen and decoded. This means it is even more important to believe what you are saying and show them the honesty and passion behind your message. Being in the right state of mind to deliver a relaxed focussed message is crucial to get your audience to engage.
My standard three rules for the room where you are presenting are:
- Get there early
- Make it tidy
- Think through the equipment you are using
The first of these is fairly irrelevant when making a video as your audience will watch it when they are ready. But the second and third rules are just as important.
When recording the video, make sure you are not wearing any fabric with detailed patterns on it, or close lines or tight stripes, as this can cause a fluttering effect on the recorded image that can be distracting in the final edit.
An uncluttered background works best for most videos.
There are two basic formats when presenting on video. One way is to look directly at the camera. The alternative is to speak to an invisible interviewer who is sitting next to the camera. Personally, I prefer the looking into the camera style. The trick here is not to stare. Imagine that the camera is actually the person to whom you are giving the presentation and that you are sitting having a chat.
This conversational style approach will be far more effective and welcoming than if you give a formal presentation. Each person who watches the video will engage with you one to one.
When you are recording a video you don’t have an audience but when some one watches the video they are your audience. That may seem rather trite and obvious but essentially what you have is a disconnect between you the presenter and your audience. Try to minimise this disconnect so that when someone watched the video they think you are talking directly to them.
As mentioned above the best way to do this is imagine that the camera is your audience member.
For example, if the target for your video is people who are about to retire and are interested in their pension options, imagine that the camera is a couple in their sixties, imagine how they are dressed, what they look like, what they are interested in, what worries and concerns they may have and then talk to them about how you can help them to maximise their retirement opportunities.
When you are creating a video to be shown on your website you need to decide who your audience is. Unlike a live presentation where you can research your audience to find out what they are interested in and how much they already know, with a website video anyone could watch it. The biggest mistake is to try to be to generic to cater for everyone. This leads to a very average presentation which is unlikely to engage anyone. You are far better deciding up front who your target audience is and crafting a message which will appeal to them. Be ruthless, pin point the messages that will appeal to you ideal client and forget about the rest.
Unlike many business presentations that can last for 40 minutes or more, a successful video is likely to be less than two minutes long. This means you have to be very succinct and to the point. As soon as you start to ramble people will stop watching.
However this does not mean you have to talk constantly in front of the camera. As with live presentations a variation in speed and tone helps to keep an audience engaged and pausing before an important point will help to enforce that point.
I never recommend using scripts which are read word for word when presenting. Cue cards or presenter view in PowerPoint is my preferred mechanism if you need a reminder as to what you are talking about. Cue cards will not look professional on a video so as it is only going to be a short presentation I would suggest just remembering it. If you do need reminders you could use an autocue or maybe just a large sheet of paper held up behind the camera with a few bullet points.
It really depends on how sophisticated the available equipment is, when you film your video. But if you are using idiot boards try reading them without taking your eyes off the camera, otherwise your audience will know that you were reading them.
All the Best