When you’re a professional speaker your video is your most important selling tool. It’s hard to imagine any speaker who wouldn’t be even more successful with a “best-selling” video. I talked to Mark French, President of Leading Authorities, Inc., for his inside insights into what makes a great video. Here’s what he told me.
What You Want to Do
1. Grab attention quickly. Meeting planners have very little time. They view tapes so they can quickly qualify or disqualify a potential speaker. If your tape doesn’t engage viewers in the first minute, their fingers will hit the eject button.
2. Make yourself the obvious choice over the competition. Your tape must answer the question, “Why should I book this speaker instead of someone else?” The tape must establish your credentials and provide a compelling case for why you are the best-qualified person to speak on your topic.
3. Demonstrate your content. The tape must show you speaking on your topics effectively and knowledgeably. Tapes that consist of stories without examples of context are ineffective at best.
4. Show yourself interacting with an audience and commanding their attention. Humor and stories are also valuable if they advance your presentation, rather than substitute for it.
How You Do It
1. Accumulate good footage of your speaking, preferably from two or more venues.
2. Maximize the visual impact. The nicer the stage and backdrop, the more visual appeal your tape will have. The larger the audience, the better. A formal setting is usually more impressive than an informal one, but a mixture is also good.
3. Maximize tape quality. Offer your clients the opportunity to archive or distribute your tape to attendees in exchange for facilitating a quality taping. Be certain there is a direct feed to eliminate background noise. Ensure that the cameras have a clear view of you. Use two cameras if possible, one on you and one on the audience. Have the audience microphoned so that when there is a reaction to your presentation you can capture it on tape.
4. Choose the company that will help you produce the tape with care. (In the interest of full disclosure, I admit a bias to our company, Leading Authorities Creative Media. We have produced tapes for top speakers such as John Alston, Gary Bradt, Marcus Buckingham, Jim Cathcart, and George Walther, to name a few.) Whatever your choice, here are some key considerations:
- Does the vendor KNOW the speaking industry? Any editor or producer can turn out a videotape. In-depth knowledge of the speaking industry and how clients make their speaker choices is a big plus.
- Does the vendor have experienced editors and producers who have received recognition for their work and have extensive experience in broadcast media? Top talent working on your project will increase the odds of an effective tape.
- Does the vendor take a creative approach to producing a tape that is tailored to you? Or is it a cookie-cutter approach that will get you a video that looks like everyone else’s? A tape that is original and creative will help you stand out from the pack.
- Does the vendor have the ability and resources to archive your work digitally so that it is easy to update? Archiving can save time and money down the road.
“These are challenging times,” says Mark, “but also times of great opportunity. The speakers who are going to succeed are those who invest in strong marketing materials to support the selling process.”