You can’t make it to a speaking event, so the organizer asks if you would be willing to send your comments by video. Don’t let this ask strike fear in your heart! Here are four suggestions that will help you master this format of speaking, which is only becoming more common as video proliferates as a medium and as technological capabilities at event venues improve.
HIRE A PRO
Sure, you could record your greeting on your phone or tablet. But hiring a professional to record you in a studio or at your home or office will result in a more professional final product. The audio and video quality will be better. The framing, backdrop, and lighting will be professionally staged. The editing will be crisp and any textual elements will be integrated appropriately.
Depending on your location, the experience of your videographer, and whether you use a studio, you can pay anywhere for a few hundred dollars to around a thousand for a short video speech. If you or the organization you’re working with have the budget, the outcome is worth the investment.
KEEP IT SHORT AND INTERESTING
It is much harder to maintain the attention of listeners with a recorded message. Limit your remarks to a few minutes (aim for 2 to 3 for a greeting and 5 to 7 for a more substantive issue update). Take pains to incorporate some interesting anecdotes and / or humor to improve your potential for keeping the audience engaged.
It is a good idea to rehearse at least six times before you deliver a presentation. Aim for 10 to 12 rehearsals for a recorded message. It may seem counterintuitive, but you have to be even more rehearsed to come across naturally in a video format than you do for a live audience.
Having excellent command of your talking points or script not only reduces editing demands, it also provides you more mental bandwidth to focus on enthusiasm (smiling and vocal inflection), which is hard to muster when you’re delivering a presentation to a person standing behind a camera. To help with this, you might ask the videographer or a collaborator to stand right next to the camera when it’s recording so you can speak with and look at a real person (and give viewers of the video the impression that you are speaking with and looking at them too).
DRESS FOR THE CAMERA
Remember that some colors and patterns don’t play well on screen. For example, red can bleed on camera and tight patterns can “jump.” A good clothing bet is a white or light colored shirt or blouse with a solid, dark-colored blazer or jacket. It’s always a good idea to have a change of clothing when you shoot your video, just in case the clothing you wore doesn’t work well with your backdrop.
Delivering a short presentation by video is a great alternative when you can’t make it in person or when travel costs are prohibitive. And, with increasing concern for the environmental impacts of long-distance travel, as well as improvements in audio-visual technology, this speaking format is likely to become increasingly common. Hopefully these tips will help you get comfortable starring in your next video message!