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Q: We’re a training consultancy about to embark on a major training video production exercise requiring ten 3-5 minute training videos based around sessions in our training workshops.

We specialise in leadership development.

My concern is that the videos will be dull stuff to watch, or that we’ll make mistakes, when our real aim is to inspire and motivate as well as provide learning material.

How can be we be more creative and professional in our approach to producing custom training videos?

Marketing Manager
Training Consultancy
London & New York

A: Questions regarding training video production skills are common questions I’m asked here at Corporate Producer Q&A, so I’d like to reply over 5 issues as a sort of online seminar or series of courses (aka internet schools for grown-ups 🙂

If anyone has questions on the way, please write in to the studio and ask. I’ll be glad to help (that’s years of know-how for free!)

For your reference, here is also further training video production information

They say that “well begun is half done” so let’s jump right back to basics with:

Four steps to starting your training video

Step One

Whether to produce a custom training video or buy off-the-shelf

The right training video production can really make a difference to your workforce performance, whether for:

> safety training

> customer service

> or promoting awareness of new values and work methods

Unlike an off-the-shelf training video, a custom-made training video is developed to your precise requirements.

This means that all the content is highly relevant to your workforce, ie, you communicate effectively.

There are no meaningless, irrelevant or “wrong-looking” bits to view.

For example a bespoke training video will show your actual work environment, whether you’re a:

> process industry plant

> a retail store

> a construction site

> or public sector organisation.

A custom video program will also promote your values and brands, such as your safety brand, your customer service brand, your corporate & social responsibility agenda, and so on.

And it also shows exact solutions to particular problems that your employees experience.

Everything in a custom training video is highly relevant.

Compare this to off-the-shelf training videos, where low or middling relevance is common.

Loosely, you could say that an off-the-shelf video aims at competence, rather than proficiency.

And the sort of decision the Training Designer or HR manager has to make includes:

> Is there a highly relevant off-the-shelf video for what we need?

> Am I going to get workforce proficiency from an off-the-shelf video?

> Have I the budget to produce the high relevance custom training video that we need?

This is the first step in planning your training video production. Deciding whether you need a custom training video production – or not.

Step Two

Realistically defining your objectives

It might sound obvious, but you should be very clear about about the objectives of the training video project you’re producing.

Defining these objectives as tightly and as closely as possible is important.

Objectives will always vary, as in some instances the training brief is very specific, while in other situations the brief is more elastic.

An example of a specific brief might be, say, manual handling techniques, or a production technique, which obviously has to be physically shown in the correct manner.

A more elastic brief might be, say, an Induction video, or a Customer Service video, or an Awareness video in a public sector organisation.

An elastic brief can cover a lot of topics, and all need to be delivered to a varied mix people.

For example an Induction video will be shown to new starters and contractors, while a public awareness video may well be shown to the public, own staff, and other public bodies.

But in all cases, the training video has to strongly motivate your workforce audience.

Simply showing people being filmed on camera doing something doesn’t necessarily guarantee compliance. A shoot doesn’t equal quality.

Compliance invariably needs buy-in to the changes you’re implementing.

Whatever your objectives, there’s usually more to a training video than a series of operating instructions.

So carefully define your core objectives and audience mix to include powerful motivational as well as instructional elements in your video.

Step Three

Outlining content

To give a training video producer your brief, you need to supply a Content Outline.

This is usually something that you can create fairly quickly, as it’s only a list of bullet point topics, and not a full-blown script or storyboard detailing presenters, actors or graphics and suchlike.

If your video has legal, safety, IT or security implications, then it’s best to consult early with the relevant departments and their management.

I know from experience that many managers dislike doing this as they feel it results in external interference, or adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

Maybe. Maybe not.

But there’s nothing worse than being required to make last minute big changes to your video production because the right people weren’t consulted early on – and you’ve run out of resources!

Don’t take the risk.

Once you have your Approved Content Outline – your list of bullet points – you can hand these over to a training video producer and ask for:

> A quote or range of price options/costs.

> Creative options to ensure your training video delivers the right impact.

Step Four

Delivery and Interactivity

Because of new technologies and systems, there are many training video delivery options available today. Educational capabilities and horizons have expanded with this.

You can deliver/broadcast your video as:

> A DVD, to play to a room, or to individuals

> An interactive DVD, again to a room or single individuals

> Part of a powerpoint presentation to a room

> An online video stream, running on your intranet, delivered to individual employee desktops, or to groups in training labs with many terminals.

> Part of an online interactive training module, again delivered on a per terminal basis

Delivery and interactivity is very much now part of the plan.

You’ll need to think carefully about this.

We’ll look at interactivity in training in more detail in the fourth chapter in this 5 day online seminar in training video production.

In installment 2 , we’ll look that most important topic – picking the most effective treatment for your training video production.

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