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Q: We want to use video at our conference this year.

Our business is IT based and the conference keynote themes are about IT initiatives and culture change within our organisation.

As the lead speaker I’m onstage for up to an hour, so I want to use video so it really motivates the audience.

I enjoy addressing conferences but I dread being thought boring. I don’t mind spending money to get what I really want.

What do you suggest?

IT Director
Housing Association
North East

A: Here’s a plan to use video at your conference for maximum impact.

1 – Open with a 60 second conference blockbuster video

2 – Intersperse your address with lots of short video clips

This way you’ll have a constant to and fro between you and the video info projected on the big screen.

Let’s take a closer look.

60 Second Conference Blockbuster Video

If you subtitled this a “60 Second Instant Credibility Video” then you could

The key to this style of video is the music.

The music really matters.

Commission original music, something that starts small and quickly builds up, and stays building up, until it reaches a shattering climax on 60 seconds – you cue your main conference theme at this point.

A lot of people buy off the shelf music for their videos.

And frankly, it sounds like it.

Usually off the shelf music is designed around a 30 second TV ad format, then after 30 seconds it starts to loop, rather than continuously evolve. Boring.

You need music that keeps on evolving, raising its own game until it reaches the climax.

I’d also suggest using electric guitar band rock music,

It sound live and different. It’s gutsy. It has spunk and bite.

Corporate music is often so synthy trancey. I believe audiences today are looking for the real thing, not synthetic stuff, which us what real played guitar is – the real thing.

The point is that with commissioned original music, you get to choose.

From Dire Straits to Darude’s Sandstorm. Pick a style and go.

Perfectly choreographed with your new original blockbuster music will be animated text captions, stills and graphics spelling out your key conference messages.

It’ll look brilliant.

And you can play it again at the end, reinforcing keynote themes.

You could also use the video in subsequent marketing presentations.

You can get more ideas here

Lots of Short Video Clips

The method here is to hire a camera operator and go around interviewing everyone and anyone who has an impact on your conference initiatives, from the CEO down to operatives.

Get lots of interviews all of them talking and discussing your conference themes and initiatives. We’ll explain why in a minute.

Since you’ll not have a lot of time between now and your conference, you need only dedicate a day to this part, the shoot.

Here’s the plan:

> Prepare a list of questions you can ask people

> Give them notice that you intend to interview them on such and such a day.

> Make flexible appointment to do this, eg early am, late am, early pm, late pm

> Pick locations to shoot. The fewer locations, the more interviews you can complete (I once interviewed 30 people in one afternoon!)

Here’s additional info on shooting client testimonials that may prove useful

When interviewing, include interviewing yourself, where you explain some of the conference themes and initiatives.

If people don’t know what to say, give them a few prompts. Help them out. This is fine.

At the end of the day, you’ll have lots and lots of small interviews with a wide variety of people, all discussing your initiatives or related topics.

The next steps are:

> Get your interview footage roughly edited into small bite sized clips, anything from 30 seconds to a minute each

> Pick out the best ones that look most useful.

> Include the best clips within your main conference powerpoint.

Now, when you’re onstage, you’ll be able to talk for a bit, then highlight each topic with a video clip or two.

Talk a bit, play clip, talk a bit more, play another clip, and so on.

This has a number of benefits:

> The clips will be seen as supporting your initiatives, adding weight to them.

> It’ll liven up the fact it’s just you onstage

> The audience will enjoy seeing their colleagues and managers making comments

> It’ll take some of the emotional pressure off you

The big plus is that this type of video, what we call a “day’s shoot-and-edit”, is quick and cheap to do. You can afford it.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if some of your interviews flop, or fail to turn up, or go green on camera.

The idea is to shoot loads of them, so there’ll be plenty who do come through, projecting in the right way, and saying the things you want to hear.


Using video at your conference is a smart idea.

The last thing you want is droning heads on stage.

Obviously there are alternative audience participation ideas.

But in your situation where you’re presenting new ideas, and trying to initiate culture change, the audience won’t necessarily be able to participate in what they don’t yet know.

> Show a blockbuster, a 60 second instant credibility video to show you mean business

> Support your verbal presentation with shedloads of short video clips to keep them interested, awake and message-reinforced.

This is how I’d use video at a conference.

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