Ordinary Managers Make Great Talking Heads: Myth Shattered

Using senior managers, directors and line managers in video is not a new thing.

And when it works, it works well.

Because managers speak from experience.

They’re frequently experts in their field, with a voice that deserves to be seen & heard on video.

So use them.

Thus runs the theory.

And it’s a good theory.

But in practice, 50% of people aren’t particularly good when appearing on video.

And even the 50% that are reasonable on camera need special treatment to make them shine onscreen.

In recent years, I blame Google.

They brought out a number of short online videos with a few of their own young charismatic managers speaking to camera about one of their brilliant new technologies.

They made it look as easy as falling off a log.

So everybody thought they could do it.

Net result: Uncomfortable managers looking and sounding distinctly creaky.

Don’t get me wrong: Some managers are very good when talking to camera.

I’ve personally filmed some brilliant ones.

But what the public don’t see are the dreadful ones.

I don’t blame the manager either.

Often they’re co-opted into appearing on camera – something they wouldn’t normally choose to do.

Often they’re asked to speak for too long.

Often they feel secretly terrified in front of the camera’s lens, and freeze-up emotionally.

I’ve seen business people who can address a boardroom – or a 5,000 delegate event – crumble when asked to deliver a minute or two to a camera crew.

There are great filming techniques to get around these problems.

But they’re not infallible.

And even the best filming / editing technique can only do so much.

The take-home messages from this diatribe is:

> don’t take your manager for granted and assume they can speak successfully to camera.

> and if it’s you, then make sure your video crew absolutely know what they’re doing.

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