I have seen a handful of vanity channels, so-called business presentations, video blogs, and all the rest, and I gotta tell ya.. owning a video camera or a web cam no more makes you a talk show host than owning a guitar makes you Erc Clapton.
I was compelled to start watching these folks because they had a headline that drew me in, they said something interesting, or because I know them. Truthfully, I didn’t last more than 3 minutes.
So I keep coming back to something I’ve said time and time again: Either you want to be known as an expert, or you want people to buy a product or service from you, so be as professional as you know how, or the next guy will. Online video has no excuses for poor quality. If you’re going to shoot yourself, here’s how to do it with a little class:
- Find an uncluttered spot. Look at your surroundings the way the camera is going to see it. Don’t let anything get in the way of the camera’s main focus.
- Back Away From The Camera. Really. All this fisheyed e-trade baby video is making me nauseous.
- SMILE !!!! And hold eye contact. Put a picture of someone you care a lot about beside that camera lens. Then talk to them. You will be more natural
- Take off the headphones. You don’t have to hear yourself. It also looks really low tech. If there are music cues or an interview you have to respond to, get an earpiece, or just set the phones down out of camera range. You’ll still be able to hear it.
- Don’t take five minutes to get to the content. I don’t really care that this is your fifth show, and you now have two thousand viewers. Acknowledge what I came to see. At least Letterman and Leno start with a rundown of what the show’s going to be about. It’s not a bad idea for you to do that, too. Of course, it will mean actually planning, and not talking off the top of your head.
- That will directly affect your “um” quotient. Take notes, and use those notes to prompt you for the next idea. Planning and focusing keeps the “ums” to a mimimum. A little silence is a lot more preferable to inane babble.
- Keep it short and to the point. I’m not going to watch you for an hour. Especially if it’s just you on camera. Sorry if it hurts your feelings. Brevity is the soul of wit. You’ll get more viewers with a shorter piece. You’ll be more focused. Did you know that all of the network evening news shows used to be 15 minutes long?
If you can do those simple things, you’ll be surprised how better you look, and how much more professional you come across.
–That’s A Wrap.