Video is an amazing tool that allows us to connect with people wherever they are, but like any tool it must be used well in order to have the desired effect. Regardless of whether you are selling a product, demonstrating a breakthrough idea, conducting training, or delivering some other type of persuasive content, there are universal principles you can employ to make your video presentation one that people remember for all the right reasons. Below, we’ve gathered six tips that will not only help you create an engaging presentation, but deliver it well via video.
#1: Go to Your Room
Before you develop your video presentation, take a moment and consider the room in which you will present. If it’s on-site at your company, visit it to determine if there are any issues with the room that need to be addressed beforehand, such as poor lighting, noise, or other minor items that can create major distractions on the day you desire everyone’s undivided attention. If you are a road warrior and regularly give presentations from unknown conference rooms, call ahead and talk to the person who is coordinating your visit and ask to see pictures of the room’s layout. You will also want to know the tech set-up of the room. For example, do they have a universally easy-to-use, HD video conferencing system, like Highfive, or is it a complex legacy system that requires an equipment reservation and assistance from IT to ensure everything operates correctly. Lastly, if you are working remotely and giving the presentation from home or your hotel room, seek a quiet space with a tidy background that will help viewers keep their focus on you.
#2: Break the Fourth Wall
Hollywood directors have long used a trick called “breaking the fourth wall” to engage audiences and make them feel like they are a part of the story. It’s simple to do and occurs when an actor looks into the camera and speaks directly to the audience. If you are new to giving video presentations, then make a point of training yourself to look into the camera as much as possible. In the world of video conferencing, this is how you develop eye contact, which is crucial to connecting people with your message. If members of the audience are in the room with you while giving the presentation, think of them and the video camera as two sides of a room and make a point of spending an equal amount of time looking at both. Of course, when members of your remote audience interact with you during the presentation, be sure to look at the screen so you can view their facial expressions and body language before looking back to the camera to respond to them.
#3: Tell a Story
Jimm Fox, the President of OMM, a marketing company that produces scripted corporate videos, maintains that good storytelling is as essential to video presentations as it is to movies. “Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. They make us think. They make us feel. If told well, they inspire us. At the heart of any good story is an emotional appeal – it may be subtle or it may be dramatic, but without that emotional connection, the story is quickly forgotten,” said Fox. Experts at Harvard Business Review agree with this approach, and recommend beginning the story in your presentation by sharing a compelling fact, asking a provocative question, or relating to your audience through a personal anecdote.
#4: Visualize It
Video is a wonderfully visual medium that allows you to both show and tell, so make sure you capitalize on this advantage by supporting your presentation with images and slides that offer a feast for the eyes. To ensure you use visuals well, we recommend you follow four simple rules:
- Use a well-designed template that creates a cohesive backdrop for visuals.
- If available, solicit design help/review from a marketing professional.
- Slides are like billboards, most people are done with them in eight seconds, so keep moving.
- Words on a slide should be minimal, legible, spell-checked, and never ever read aloud.
#5: Command Attention Through Confidence
Confidence is enticing. People are drawn to others who are confident, and will both listen to and respect them even if they disagree with what they are saying. So how do you become confident giving video presentations? You practice. Once you have developed your presentation, solicit the help of a friend or colleague, who you can trust to provide honest feedback. Then, have that person watch your presentation via video conference, so they experience it exactly the way your audience will. Afterwards, incorporate their advice into your presentation and practice daily until the big day arrives. For the technically challenged, practicing with the actual video conferencing equipment is critical to developing presentation confidence. Video-conferencing devices, like Highfive, are usable by anyone right out of the box, and can add much to a presenter’s confidence.
#6: Dress for Success
Whereas the sky’s the limit on what people wear to the office these days, what you wear to a video presentation is bit more limited. Newscasters, TV hosts, and other video regulars know that stripes, busy patterns and neon colors can create a blurred effect on video that makes you appear fuzzy to viewers. To avoid hurting the eyes of the very people you want looking at you, choose tailored clothes in solid colors that flatter your skin tone. It’s also a good idea to take Coco Chanel’s advice and keep accessories to a tasteful minimum.
Just like in-person presentations, video presentations can be a bit nerve-racking the first few times, but with a bit of preparation, you can set yourself up for success. As you gain experience, you’ll become more comfortable with video presentations, and you’ll be mastering them in no time!