What’s the number one reason business people don’t use video to promote their message? FEAR!! Fear of not knowing enough, fear of doing it wrong, and fear of spending a lot of money (only to have a disappointing product) rank up there on my clients’ list of reasons to avoid using video to take their message to the next level.

And I totally get this – most of us are not born natural broadcasters, and even people with lots of speaking and video experience still need ongoing support and training in crafting a compelling message, navigating video technology, and delivering an authentic presentation.

The truth is, I wish that after all my years of schooling in broadcast journalism and marketing, I could sit back and confidently say ‘My education is now complete!’ and not have to continually hone these skills, but I know from personal experience the only way to improve my speaking and on-camera skill is to practice, practice, PRACTICE!

This is the philosophy behind Speakers Camp, an event that we’re launching this month in Victoria and Nanaimo (and will be bringing to Vancouver and Seattle in the new year!) The vision was to create a training ground for business people to improve their speaking and networking skills, while using professional quality video as a promotional and learning tool – essentially helping speakers prepare and groom themselves for their next level of speaking and / or media training.

If you’re in the Victoria or Nanaimo area, please check us out here:

Victoria: Victoria Speakers Camp Info and Registration

Nanaimo: Nanaimo Speakers Camp Info and Registration

If you can’t make it to Speakers Camp, not to despair! Here are some tips to take your speaking and video skills to the next level:

1. Shoot and view! Even though the video may not be the quality you need for your web promotions, I still highly recommend using your smartphone or computer camera as a training tool. With each practice session, you’ll gain confidence, improve your message and you’re likely to pick up on distracting habits and mannerisms you didn’t know you had.

2. Don’t go it alone! It’s SO much more effective to practice speaking with a buddy or small group – your message will be much more animated and authentic if you’re talking to a real, live person. You’ll also be able to track your progress more effectively with an objective partner, and are more likely to stay with it if you’re supporting each other towards success.

3. Resist the urge to use a tele-prompter. Broadcasters use a tele-prompter to scroll their message as they’re looking at the camera – a FABulous tool if you have a long script to memorize and are practiced in the art of looking natural while reading. There are now inexpensive apps that will do this on an iPad or smartphone; the only problem is that unless you’re a ‘tele-prompter rock star’, chances are good that you’ll look like you’re reading – your eyes will look sketchy and slightly disengaged, particularly in a close-up or medium shot.

4. Keep it short! If you’re using video on your website, one of the most common mistakes is trying to jam too much information into an introductory clip. My rule of thumb for intros or promotional messages is 2 minutes or less of video. Here’s a heads up: November’s newsletter will feature a template for writing your non-salesy short script!

5. Tell stories! For starters, if you’re relaying a story about you, your business or product, you’re more likely to remember and connect with each point. You’ll deliver a more grounded and authentic message, and audiences tend to lean in more when they’re hearing real-life examples of your message rather than canned and polished sales messages. Whether you’re the teller or the listener, everybody loves a good story!

We hope to see you at one of our live events or on the web as you practice using video to connect with your audience!