Video Is For Business: The 10 'Sizzle Secrets' For Video And Webcast Success

May 6 2014, 9:23pm CDT | by

“The typical video presentations? You tell the audience how you’re going to bore them. Then you bore them. Then you tell them how you bored them.” – Doug Jefferys (tongue in cheek)

There’s an immutable fact emerging in business communications, according to new findings by Mass.-based market research firm Wainhouse Research: Online video rocks.  In 2013, business users viewed 1.12 billion hours of live video in online webcast events drawing 25 or more attendees.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of viewing time for live online video in business took place in North America with the balance of viewing (27%) taking place in the rest of the world. (I wonder if the stronger statistic is that 72% of CEOs view live video webcasts as a powerful communication tool.) WR predicts online video will increase by 23% during 2014 and that the 2013 market size will double by 2016.

This is a wonderful development, right? Well, it depends on your perspective. Despite the growing prevalence and effectiveness of online video, in WR’s earlier 2013 research the company noted that many of today’s CEOs (the majority, in fact) are still intimidated by the thought of appearing on video.

What are companies to do? Delegating training videos and presentations to others is one alternative, experts acknowledge, but company messages resonate best when they come from the CEO. Furthermore, the growing trend of broadcasting outward-facing messages such as quarterly financial calls via webcast requires today’s senior executives to get comfortable with the concept of communicating live and online.

Salt Lake City-based Rob Chipman, CEO of BizVision (a friend and client), has been in the business of video since 1992. His company BizVision is an outgrowth of private communications network company Broadcast International (BCST:OTC). As its own entity, the company has been providing video-powered communications and e-learning services to businesses and associations since 2009. Last year the company managed some 13,000 hours of live webcast events.

This week I interviewed Chipman about the tips he gives CEOs (and others) to help them get more skilled and comfortable about the realities of appearing online. From his company’s own experience and aggregated from the experience of others and culled from the company’s national network of videographers, he offers the following video tips:

  1. Be conscious of body language and gestures. Use movement to reinforce the points you’re making and to signal transitions.
  2. Learn the power of telling a story — the imagination is the theater of the mind.
  3. Is there a product involved in your presentation? Pick it up and handle it. Let the audience experience it with you.
  4. A scripted presentation feels canned. But having an outline nearby can help keep you on track with the proper transitions.
  5. Think “visual” in preparing your presentations. A simple graphic can be a highly compelling way to portray the details of your story or news.
  6. Keep text to a minimum. And never, ever rely on simply reading the text on your slides.
  7. In the style of Steve Jobs, who became a masterful presenter, remember the power of a great headline. Present a problem, then take the audience on a progression to the solution with you. Focus on a confident start and a strong and confident finish, even if you’ve ad-libbed the elements in between.
  8. As painful as it may be, watch yourself on video in advance of a formal presentation to become aware of any distracting gestures that may come into play. Beware of over-dramatic gestures that can translate into wild hand gyrations when they appear on the screen. Avoid the temptation of rocking or swaying back and forth as you speak.
  9. Pace yourself. Pause to breathe, and use the pauses in your speaking to give the important points you make the chance to sink in.
  10. Be yourself — but take the necessary time and preparation to be your best self before you appear.

And without further ado, here’s the video (not live, but a chance to put the input in action) from my interview discussion with Rob:

How are your own video and presentation skills? In an upcoming column, I will re-connect with Bill McGowan, two time Emmy-winning producer and author of the book Pitch Perfect: Say it Right the First Time Every Time, to hear his advice on staying cool under pressure as the video cameras roll.

What are your own best tips for communicating well via video? I look forward to hearing your additional ideas in the comment section below.

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