According to the song, video killed the radio star. But the recent explosion of easy-to-use video tools has also made video a killer opportunity for salespeople to create content and share with prospects and customers. It captures all of the nuances of in-person communication with the ease of on-demand access.
You don’t need to go through the hassle of uploading videos to YouTube anymore (although you still can). Facebook Live and the new embedded LinkedIn video app make it easy to put video on social platforms. And new services like Vidyard and Bombbomb let you easily send personalized videos right to contacts, prospects, and customers.
There's an opportunity to engage easily, efficiently, and powerfully.
But it's also easy to screw it up.
If you are ready to dive into creating videos for professional purposes, don’t hit record just yet. Production value matters. It’s not just what you have to say, it’s how you say it. The boom in video creation has created a corresponding rise in people’s expectations. You can’t release a poorly lit, tinny-sounding video and expect it to knock people's socks off.
There are some super-simple steps that you can take to make sure that your videos look and sound great. And when you take the time to prepare the right way, your audience is much more likely to take you and your message seriously.
Even if you think that you know what you are going to say, sketch it out. The few minutes it takes to outline your video will pay off exponentially. Every video from one of your heroes, where it seems like they are just talking off-the-cuff, has been scripted (and probably highly edited). Trust me on that.
You don’t have to read a script word-for-word, but you’ll sound much more natural if you have an idea of what you want to say. It will also help you avoid your verbal tics. I know you have one because we all do. It could be “um”, “you know”, or “like”, but it will creep in when your brain doesn’t know what you are going to say next. Mapping out your message allows you to avoid that as much as possible.
Your phone, tablet, or computer probably has a microphone built in. And it probably sucks. These devices aren’t meant to be full media-creation devices, so they don’t have robust mics. That’s why you sound tinny or like you are in an echo chamber when you use them. It's not the end of the world, but it's such an easy problem to fix that it's worth doing.
It’s inexpensive to buy a serviceable external microphone. You could spend hundreds of dollars for a nice mic, but really, 20-30 dollars on Amazon will get you a wired lavaliere mic that will clip on your shirt and up your game a lot. Just make sure that the mic plug is compatible with whatever device you want to use. Not all 3.5mm jacks are created equal.
Eye contact is important. Oddly enough, this is one of the most challenging ideas for beginners. It's easy to look below, above, or to the side of the camera. Your goal is to pretend that the camera is your conversation partner's eyeball. So make eye contact as if the person was right there.
And obey the same rules as if you were talking to a real person. In other words, you also don't want to stare at the camera like a maniac. It's OK to break eye contact for a moment. It's OK to blink. It's OK to use facial expressions. This will come with practice and familiarity, so don't worry if you aren't a natural right away.
It may sound obvious, but since they can see you, it matters what you wear in your videos. Especially if you are making videos that are going to be seen by prospects or customers you don’t know well, take the time to dress well. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit to make your videos. But don’t assume they are going to take you seriously if you’re wearing a T-shirt because it’s "casual Friday" in the office.
You also have to take into account how your attire will show up on video. For example, stay away from pure white, black, and red, because they wash out. Don’t wear distracting jewelry or other accessories, because they will pull focus. And take a look at your environment and make sure it's not too distracting either. Maybe push that messy stack of papers out of frame.
Last, but certainly not least, keep your videos short and to the point. This is where scripting can help because then you won't ramble on. Remember that your viewer can't skim through a video like they can an email or article. Keep it concise, and put your most important points up front. You can share a lot in 60-seconds if you are focused and prepared!
David J.P. Fisher (D. Fish) is a speaker, coach, and best-selling author 7 books, including Hyper-Connected Selling. He combines nuanced strategy and real-world tactics to help professionals navigate a world where social media, networking, and old-school sales and communication skills are the key to creating human connections and winning business. He lives in Evanston, IL – next to a huge cemetery which helps him appreciate the value of every day. Visit his website to learn more www.davidjpfisher.com