Star in Your Online Videos by Susan Hill
Online videos have become a powerful way to build your professional brand (and you do need to consider this as a school leader). You can use them as a welcome and introduction on your school’s website landing page or to offer information and tips on your site. Post them on YouTube and as testimonials for others – offering an insight as to how this person, service, or product improved your work or life. Ask and help others to video their testimonial for your school. Prepare for your successful video session with these tips:
- Smiling faces: Before you start talking, take a deep breath, smile and think of something funny to give yourself an internal laugh and help you relax. While you speak, your face should match your topic. Using a variety of expressions as you make your points will engage your viewers.
- Your new best friend: If you’re speaking directly to the camera (rather than being interviewed by someone), make the camera the face of your best friend (or spouse or mom – someone who loves you unconditionally) in your imagination. This will help to make you more conversational and natural.
- Power of three: Be prepared with three key points that you want to make. Make some notes in writing before you begin, but put them away before you start. Writing will help establish your points and a natural flow in your mind. A good construction is:
- Open with a problem or question
- Describe the solution
- Finish with a story to illustrate the point
- Timing is everything: Keep your primary three points or segments to about 30 seconds to a minute each; online videos generally are more successful and frequently viewed when they are less than three minutes in length. Don’t memorize material, but keep your important facts and brief anecdotes in mind. Stories and examples bring more life to your points. Ideally, an interview should be an educated, engaging conversation.
- Slow down. You’ve heard this before, but the idea of slowing down and enunciating your words applies particularly well in video, a medium which magnifies slushy speech. If you take a breath and slow down, you can think about what you’re going to say clearly and distinctly, and you’ll be less likely to use the dreaded filler words: uh, umm, so, like, you know, right? Right!
- Eye signals: Eye contact is a sign of confidence and social engagement. Regardless of whether you’re being interviewed or looking at the camera, keep a natural eye contact, avoiding glancing down or to the side.
- Body language: Watch people who are interviewed on national news programs, morning and evening. Notice what makes people look and sound credible and convincing. Watch body language. You’ll observe that engaging interviewees often lean forward a bit and have an open body position, arms not crossed defensively but relaxed at their sides or, if seated, on their legs, overlapping a bit. Crossing legs at the ankle if seated will help improve posture. If standing, keep knees a bit flexed and one leg slightly ahead of the other to help prevent swaying from side to side – or fainting.
- What not to wear: The boundaries of dress considered business-presentable have expanded in recent years. If you’re unsure, it’s better to err on the side of formality. For women, that means a tailored blazer or shirt; save tight knits or party looks for another occasion. You want your clothes to say, “I’m a competent professional,” not to distract. For men, a suit or blazer and shirt with tie are almost always the right choice, but if you don’t wear a tie, go with a tailored shirt or shirt and blazer. Solid colors are best for everyone. Avoid prints and stripes (except for ties). Avoid black and white, as well, which don’t look as good on camera as color.
- Finishing touches: Women should always wear makeup; outdoor light and bright. indoor lights can have a bleaching effect. Men should consider powder to eliminate shine – including top of the head! Women should avoid shiny earrings or those that move and bracelets that jangle, which can be a distraction.
- Keep smiling: When you’re finished, keep smiling for a few seconds. This will allow for a good concluding edit.
Remember, you are the expert! You know your material. Treat the video interview as a valuable opportunity to deliver important information to potential customers that you may not even be able to imagine now. Relax, smile and share your knowledge!
For more suggestions related to designing your professional presence for success, you will want to access the Get a Plan! Guide® to Deliberately Designing Your Professional Presence, which is part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series. The Get a Plan! Guide® series will give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion – so that you can accomplish your goals more smoothly, i.e., peacefully, productively, and predictably.