06/07/2013 10:01 EDT | Updated 08/07/2013 05:12 EDT

15 Tips for Making Effective Business Videos

We recently held a Making your Pitch Contest and I learned a lot about making business videos from the judges as they provided feedback to the contestants. Now, I would be the first to admit that producing a video is nerve-racking. There is something about talking into a camera that can silence even the most articulate. But here's what I learned:

1. Filming outdoors is tricky. The audio doesn't always co-operate and neither does nature. It could suddenly get windy or wet and you have little control of the weather.

2. If you are making a video about your business, make sure you end with a call to action. Provide contact information and give yourself the final word, not others.

3. You can change the energy of your video if you stand vs. staying seated.

4. Relax. I know, easier said than done. Smile even though you may not be smiling inside.

5. Always start with yourself, not a power point slide. You have only so much time to hook people in, and your audience wants to get to know you.

6. Avoid jargon. In simple terms explain what you do and why someone watching might want to use your program/services.

7. Think about your product/service. Create a visual that will resonate with your audience so they immediately understand what you do and why they need you.

8. Practice. Don't settle for the sixth taping, when at the seventh you would have nailed it.

9. Don't use too much text, it takes away from the visual.

10. Be clear on your message and what you want to convey. Let your personality and passion for your business shine through.

11. While you need to be a bit of an actor, don't ham it up too much as it detracts from your authenticity.

12. Choose your music carefully. You don't want it to overpower the presentation.

13. Select the backdrop to your video with care. If it is too busy, it will distract the viewer from what you are saying.

14. Be sure to include some practical information on where your services are available, potential cost, and again, how to contact you to learn more.

15. Make direct eye contact with the camera; people will trust you more. Avoid the shifty look, when your eyes move from one side to the other.

I know when I was developing a video about Company of Women, I had spent considerable time writing a script, which is important as you need to work out ahead of time what you want to say and the message you want to convey. As I do with a speech, I then drilled it down to bullet points on the key messages.

But the day of the taping, I changed my mind and took a different approach. So in essence I was sort of winging it, but I think the end result was more authentic and natural. The problem I find when you have it all scripted and are wedded to that script is if in your nervousness you forget a word, you can get totally thrown off track.

For me, working on a script was helpful as it enabled me to articulate what I wanted to say, but I also wanted to be able to go with the flow.

Bottom line, you have to do what is most comfortable for you. But know this, video is the new way to go in reaching out to create awareness of what you do. In fact, a recent report revealed that people who enjoy an online video from an advertiser are 97 per cent more likely to purchase the product. So get cracking...

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