Using Video Effectively in a Presentation


Video clips can be a useful addition to a presentation. Done well they enrich the overall experience and make the speaker appear more compelling. But when they are used badly they have a negative effect, so how can you use video clips effectively in your presentations?
Video Should Support Not Replace. Probably the worst mistake is to use video to replace the speaker rather than support what they are saying. A video that was originally designed as a standalone video on YouTube usually makes a poor presentation video because it is designed to be self explanatory and not need a speaker. What will work much better is a short clip that shows the detail that you need to show to support your explanation and nothing more. So if you are speaking about a movie effect a clip from the show reel would be relevant, or if you are explaining a new process for encapsulating single cells then a microscope video showing the process would be helpful. A complete video explaining something without any help from the speaker only makes sense in cases where you are talking about videos and campaigns. In this case showing a complete sample can be useful.
Video Should be Friction Free. Your video should start, run and finish without the audience bring aware of how it was done. At conferences where there is a technical support team the video might be separate and started by someone else on your cue; in smaller events the video clip must be embedded in your presentation file so that it starts automatically when you click to the page. Make sure that you test before the event to make sure that it works. Never rely on streamed video unless you are sure that the connection will work -- a copy on your hard drive is much safer -- and always have a plan B in case the video doesn't work. This plan B must not include complaining about the video. Replace it with something else or just move on without drawing attention to the problem.
Video Should be Relevant. It is tempting to show a cool video just because you have it, but always ask yourself if it is really relevant and contributes to your message. Otherwise just drop it. Be especially careful of popular viral videos that the audience might be sick of seeing. You can sometimes sense the collective groan as an audience recognizes the start of a video they have seen a thousand times.
Normally i would also recommend that video not take up too much of your time. A presentation is essentially a talk illustrated by images, videos and props. To focus too much on the support undermines your attempt to connect with the audience. There are exceptions to this rule, and a presentation about movie CGI technology will contain more clips than usual because of the nature of the topic. Usually I would also advise against starting or ending with video, but don't be too strict about this rule because there are situations where it works. 

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For lectures, workshops, coaching and writing about speaking and other communication topics you can contact Andrew Hennigan on 0046 730 894 475 or speaker@andrewhennigan.com

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