These tips are intended to help the average person new to video recording. Most people tend to know that they are on camera. The rest are comfortable in their own skin. It is different than public speaking. You get to mess up in front of a camera without embarrassment. So be
comfortable in your own skin.
Confidence is key when presenting your product or service. Standing is usually better in most cases. It is a visual cue that the person is busy and important. Sitting interviews imply relaxation and idleness. Sitting looks better for your clients during a testimonial. It is a visual cue that they are relaxed while you are doing all of the hard work.
The interview is more of a structured conversation. You will be coached. Have no fear of messing up because this will be edited. Multiple takes are to be expected. The major difference is to restate the question or topic in your answers. If the camera operator asks you a question as
a prompt for your statement, then restate it in your answer. Your audience cannot hear the questions or anything else that the camera operator says.
Writing out some notes is fine, but never try to read them on camera. It will sound like you are reading. If you must read, then smile as you do. The audience will "hear" your smile.
Tells are nonverbal forms of communication that reveal inner motivations about ourselves. They can be subtle or obvious. While they are not a sin when it comes to on-camera interviews, the verbal ones can.
Do you begin every sentence with "well" "basically" or "so"? Do you end your statements with "you know"?
End your sentences with a clear ending. Finishing a statement by bringing up the last word is jarring. It sounds like you have more to say or the thought is incomplete. It's been popularized as "uptalk".
Accents are fine as long as they are natural. Bear in mind that some clients will judge you. However, back up your way of speaking with real knowledge and experience. Sounding incompetent about your line of work compounded with a strong accent is poison. There's nothing wrong with letting your "Houston" show if that is how you want to be seen. Clever metaphors, expressions, and the occasional spoonerism are all present in casual conversation. Avoid
dehumanizing speech. Vocal fry, valley-girl, bro-talk, or whatever popular style sounds forced. All of a speaker's intent, honesty, and credibility become suspect.
Active voice is the best way to sound confident. Simply put, the subject of a sentence is doing something. When the something is acting on the subject it becomes passive voice.
"Fidelity HVAC keeps your heating and cooling systems in check year round.
"Heating and cooling systems are kept in check year round by Fidelity HVAC."
Branding should be natural instead of obnoxious. State the name of your business up front and when saying goodbye. Constantly naming your business gets old and it sounds desperate. Clients can smell desperation and will subconsciously doubt your abilities as a professional.
Sounding pitchy is subjective because the whole point of a commercial is to pitch a product or service. The trick is to sound genuine with a dash of sentiment. We all know the cliches of "Act now...limited offer...operators are standing by..."
Never try to sound like something you saw or assumed to be of quality just because it was on TV or in a movie. All of those cliches waste time anyway. Suppose you are a family-owned business. Just stating that fact is a waste of time. So what? Why is being family-owned important to your client? Is it because you have some knowledge, craft, or experience from being family-owned? That changes the dynamic of the original point and justifies why your
client should know. For example:
"We're a family-owned business. Which means we are not driven by quotas or board members."
"These recopies go back five generations. That's why Jake's Place is and will be family-owned."
Vague statements in general are a big no-no. Think of the reason for saying something.
"We strive for excellence in every endeavor."
"All of our services are backed by a guarantee."
Customers, guests, clients, or whatever you call your adoring public all make for great interviews.
Testimonials should be brief. It should boil down to variations of three questions:
"What did you like?"
"Why should other people do it?"
Don't have any? Use a friend or family member. While it may be skirting some ethical boundary, those people know what you do. They probably believe in you just as much as you believe in yourself. That's compelling.
You should never just say, "bye."
What do you want people to do after watching the video? Make a call? Add you to their phone? Join a club? Activate an offer? Follow you on social media?
It is critical that you "close the deal" with a statement that compels people to take action.
Never sacrifice your bottom line for a discount. Will it end? If so, then that dates the video faster than a Christmas tree in July. Promotions are fine as long as you are aware of the limited shelf-life of the video. If you think that your promotion will bring in enough business to justify the limited run, then go for it. Typically, videos with a limited offer are tied to other advertising for more impressions. The best videos should be "evergreen" so they can run in perpetuity. Maybe your promotions change often. Maybe it is best to just state that anyway.
"We run specials all of the time. Please like us on (social media) to stay current."
WORDS TO AVOID
Offer - This sounds awkward in normal conversation. Have you ever said this to somebody while talking over lunch? Unless an offer was the topic of discussion, it lacks authenticity. Immediately, you are implying that your clients are line items in a ledger.
Pride - Everyone is (or should be) proud of their work. Stating that fact is lazy. Your "pride" should be seen in the service you perform or the atmosphere of your office. It is a little like a stranger telling you to trust them. Your defenses immediately go up and you begin to doubt
Try - A little, green puppet opined that there is no try...only do. Never say that word in a video. It
implies that the product or service might work. Does it? Show it.
Strive - Now it sounds like struggling while trying. Yuck.
Maybe - This is very similar to "try" in that it too lacks confidence. Avoid it and other words that lack confidence.
Believe - Another word that lacks confidence. You can believe that your product or service is amazing, but charging people for it takes results.
Set the stage with what you are doing or what is about to happen. It is a natural segue into the topic. This can also work well regardless of location. It gives energy to a busy restaurant. It propels a fitness program. It gives context to an accountant's duties.
This is hardly the last word on the topic of interviews. This page will grow with more tips and observations to make anyone comfortable in front of the camera.
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