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Preparing Executives to be Effective in Live Video Presentations

You are a representative for your franchise system and brand, so sell what you are saying.

Supplier members of the International Franchise Association recently offered complimentary elevator speech-type videos in their booths during the 53rd IFA Annual Convention. What they found was that a majority of exhibit passers-by were open to giving their “elevator speech” on camera.

Preparing executives to be effective in live video presentations requires planning, practicing and more. Your live video presentation will likely be archived and available for viewing for years down the road, so here are tips on making your presentation the best it can be.

Planning

Set up the shot the day before and practice, mark where you can move. Whether you are speaking from a podium or using the webcam on your laptop, you need to know the area, or space limits in which you can move. A poorly framed shot will distract the viewer.
Consider the location and backdrop and all that the viewing audience will see. Stand a couple of feet from the wall or backdrop that is behind you. The more space there is behind you, the better. If the purpose of the presentation video is to boost your brand, include the brand’s logo as part of the backdrop.

Move around, but not too much. Movement shows that you are relaxed, but stay within the space limits to remain in the camera frame. Avoid sitting in a chair that swivels because you will end up moving side to side which is distracting.

Your wardrobe should be neat and comfortable, and select clothing made of fabrics with colors of a muted earth tone. Avoid bright colors and busy patterns. For example, stripes create the undesired moiré effect where your shirt appears to be electrified or wavy. Also avoid large pieces of jewelry around the neck area, as well as jewelry that makes noise when you move, such as a charm bracelet.

Speak in outline format or three points. Know what you are going to say by writing it down, and then practice saying it in a recorder and looking at yourself in the mirror.

Presenting

Talk enthusiastically about your topic, because if you don’t, the viewer will likely be bored. This is not to suggest you act like a used car salesman, but most effective presenters have lots of enthusiasm. Bottom line, you are a representative for your franchise system and brand, so sell what you are saying.

Stay on topic. If you wander, you’re watering down your core message. Remember your outline and stay with it.

If you stumble, keep going. It is only human to fumble over your words and make mistakes.
Stay focused and use bridging statements to get you back on course. Examples of bridge statements include:

  • What’s important to remember,
  • Even more importantly,
  • You should also remember,
  • What I want to make sure you understand here is
  • That reminds me.

Make what you say as timeless as possible. Use information and data that are as good today as five or more years from now. Keep in mind that this video could stay on the Internet for years. Instead of saying, “Today’s economic crisis,” say “An economic crisis” or “The economic crisis of the early 2000s” so people have a reference of time.

Use less “we” and more of the company name. Whether brand awareness is the goal or not, say your company’s name instead of saying “we” or “our.” For example, instead of saying “We strive to give the customer …” instead say “Company XYZ strives to give the customer …”
Avoid acronyms as much as possible, and certainly on the first reference, say the complete name.

Body posture says a lot. If you are standing for your presentation, make sure your posture is good with your shoulders back. If you are sitting, sit tall. Good posture exudes confidence.
Pronunciation and smiling will also make your presentation enjoyable to listen to, as well as watch.

Use conversational tone. Think of the camera as a person with whom you are having a conversation.

Relax and clear the throat. Take several deep breaths and stretch your body before your presentation. Try verbal exercises or singing so your voice is warmed up.

Maintain your personality and style, and don’t be stiff. Humor is always a good icebreaker at the beginning of a live or videotaped presentation.

Post-Presentation Options

Once the presentation is complete and it is on videotape, consider editing the video by inserting visual elements that illustrate the point you are making verbally. Whether you are sharing your screen during a Skype interview or using Ustream to broadcast a meeting or session, it will be well received if some post editing is taken. Web pages can be used for Skype and JPGS or a PowerPoint can be brought into Ustream Producer.

In December 2010, Forbes Insights/Google surveyed more than 300 executives at large U.S. companies ($500 million-plus in annual revenues) to learn more about how they are approaching web video as a source of business-related information. The findings revealed that compared to the previous year, “video appears to have evolved from a novelty into a mainstream method for executives to receive business information. Younger executives in particular appear more inclined not only to view video, but also to create it and share it over the business-oriented “social” web. Their growing influence within corporate America is likely to make business-related video even more prevalent in the coming years.”

Public relations giant Weber Shandwick recently looked into the social media activities of the CEOs from the top 50 companies listed in the Fortune Global 500 rankings, measuring everything from participation in social networks to inclusion of the CEO on the company website. Their report, “Socializing Your CEO II,” found that video jumped to 40 percent participation in 2012, as opposed to only 18 percent in 2010. The Weber Shandwick teams also found that 40 percent of the CEOs appeared in videos in the 2012 study compared to only 18 percent in the 2010 study, an increase of 22 percent.

An April 2012 report by Social Media Examiner of 3,800 marketers found that 76 percent cited YouTube and video marketing as their top areas of investment for 2012 – more than Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even traditional blogging.

Put it all together and what do you get? You get an increase in video marketing content. And there is a good chance your founder or C-Level executive will be featured in one or more of these videos.

Liz Anderson, CFE, is founder & president of E.H. Anderson Public Relations, an agency specializing in shooting/editing videos for the web, writing press releases and securing editorial coverage. She can be reached at 254-772-5909 or liz@ehandersonpr.com.

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