January 2011

Hit Them with Your Best Shot (of video)

What I keep hearing from meeting planners and speaker bureaus is that they aren’t interested in your bells and whistles.  When creating a demo video or even a video clip, lead with your best material.  Give it a good solid minute of content or really funny stuff.  Don’t pull out your narrated sequence or the montage of accomplishments and awards until the end of the video.  By that time, they won’t mind and it will be welcomed information… because if they’ve made it that far, it means they’re interested in you.

When I work with speakers, I tend to recommend this approach.  I also feel that creating an artificial event is always a bad idea.  No matter how hard you try (bringing in all your friends and family, setting up an elaborate stage, adding sound effects and cut-away shots of people laughing) it will still look canned.  Nothing can replace the energy and feel of speaking in front of a live audience.  There’s really no need to even cut away to an audience reaction shot, because that’s almost manipulative.  Decision makers want to see the authentic you, not the version of you that you want them to see.

Of course, there is always a need for good video production and post-production work.  I would be blogging myself right out of business if there weren’t.  Give your video a lot of thought and do some research before you post it. There is plenty of room for the flashy production sequence. But don’t lead with it.  Save it for later, for the second half.  By then, your decision maker will have already decided.

Check out this video I worked on for Chicago based speaker Rich Horwath.  It’s the perfect example of what I’m trying to say.