Video Essentials

Media Training: Get Your Message Across

The barriers to online video are low, but that doesn’t mean everything you post is going to be golden. In fact, poorly made online video can actually hurt your company’s reputation and your sales.

While that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to shell out big bucks to have a video production company shoot all your work, it does mean you should look into media training. Working with an expert can help you look more credible on camera, while avoiding common pitfalls.

To give you a few pointers on media training, we spoke to Jody Hammond, a media training specialist with On the Spot media training, based in northern San Diego county, California. Hammond has worked in radio and television journalism for over 30 years. Besides doing media training, she’s a freelance producer for NBC News and other major news organizations.

Here are six pointers from Hammond on creating effective online video:

1. Don’t Memorize Your Message
Know the bullet points of what you’re going to say on camera, but don’t let your whole presentation be scripted. If you try to recall a script word-for-word, you’re not going to look convincing. Your audience will know that you’re reciting and that will create a barrier between you.

2. Speak in Sound Bites
Before you begin, think about what you want your viewers to remember from your video. Do you have a catchy slogan? Use it a few times. Make your words catchy and concise.

3. Stay on Topic
People who are really passionate about their topic, or who are excited to be on camera, can often bombard the viewer with too much information. Stick to the essentials, and know that it’s okay to repeat important info. Use the time honored method of telling your audience what you’re going to say, saying it, then telling them what you said, says Hammond.

4. Speak from the Heart
If you want to be convincing and credible, say what you really feel. If your viewers feel manipulated, they’ll reject the message. Remember that testimonials are effective because people speak from the heart. Speak at an even speed and don’t let yourself rush if you’re nervous.

5. Watch Your Body Language
How your move your body has a lot to do with how credible you appear. Look directly into the camera, as if looking your viewers in the eye. Be sure you don’t speak with ums and ahs. Gesture a little bit, but not too much. Keep hand gestures natural and below chest level. Your gestures shouldn’t be distracting.

6. Be Conservative on Clothing
Don’t let what you wear distract from your message. Bright, revealing, and patterned clothing can all steal attention. You want your viewers to comment on more than just your clothes.

Finally, here’s a bonus tip from Hammond if you’re ever called to do an on-camera interview that you think might be adversarial: Bring your own tape recorder. It sends a message to the interviewer that you have your own record of the session, and that if he or she uses your comments out of context, you’ll be able to prove it.


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