10 Tips to Avoid Video Narration Nightmares

Video script narration can be costly, time-consuming and stressful. However, most authors need to make videos at some point to most successfully implement a digital marketing plan. Here are 10 tips to minimize your recording/editing time, money and stress.

  1. Prepare. Read through each section before you start recording until you’re comfortable with the word flow. If something is hard to say, edit the script. Better yet, do the editing part before you go into the studio. But still read through the section out loud just before you record. It will reduce the number of takes and remind you to  stay even-paced and enunciating.
  2. Sweet dreams. Be sure you’re fresh and relaxed, having had good sleep and appropriate nourishment. Don’t try to start recording after a stressful day or incident. Give yourself the best possible starting point for energy.
  3. Do it again. If you screw up, don’t leave it for your editor to fix. It costs way less time for you to re-read a script sentence than for your editor (even a great one) to fix your mistake. And, you don’t know if it’s a mistake they even can fix, so don’t leave it to chance. If you make  a mistake, don’t repeat the entire section; just go back to the previous sentence. This will save you tons of recording time, as well as your editor’s when they have to go in and splice.
  4. Breathe. Just as if you’re singing, be sure you have a good inhale before you start speaking. Oxygen creates energy and ensures you can make it through a sentence. Leave a breath between sentences so that splicing and transitions are easier. Try this: every time you see a period, inhale before starting the next sentence.
  5. Say what? If you have trouble with enunciating, it might be because you subconsciously see words in groups or you’re reading the script too fast, or both. If you consistently ellide consonants or vowels, blending words or phrases together (some refer to this as slurred speech), you want to do some work on that before you record. Try reading word by word, ensuring especially that ending word sounds are articulated. For example, say “repeaT the” instead of “reapeathe.” It may sound a bit awkward and too slow this way, but for you, it won’t be. Or, take some of these great lessons and ideas and see that situation improve.
  6. Liquidate. Ensure you have a few bottles of room-temperature water handy. Sip water every few minutes to keep your throat hydrated. If your throat is sore when you have to record, add honey and lemon to the water. NOTE: make sure it’s room temp or warm if you’re throat isn’t 100%.
  7. Make a move. It’s quite ok (and even desirable) to make occasional hand gestures IF you can do so naturally. This helps keep you energized, and low energy is another issue that many talking head videos suffer from. Make sure you don’t move too far off your spot, or your editor may have trouble later. Shifting your hips occasionally might break up the monotony of standing in one spot, but be wary of subconscious swaying, which will distract and annoy your viewer.
  8. Break it up. Take 5-10 minute breaks between longer sections or videos if you’re recording multiple scripts. making sure you take 2 breaks minimum per hour. When you break, sit if you’ve been standing, walk or stretch.
  9. When you gotta go... If you have to use the facilities, take five and do so! Fidgeting while trying to record usually results in retakes.
  10. Get a buddy. If you’re a novice, have someone with you for support  and direction during the recording. A family member, friend or colleague will be able to give you great feedback as you go along. It’s often hard to know we’re not producing enough energy, enunciating well or speaking too quickly (these things often all go together!) when we’re in the process of recording, especially when you’re recording a lot of content at one time, and when you start to get tired.

Do you have more tips from your experience? Please share them in the comments!


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Help Your Event Host Make You Look GREAT: The 2-Minute Speaker Introduction

I’m going to give you some great reasons why you should prepare a Speakers Introduction (not the same things as a bio!) for any future speaking events, book launches or readings or conference presentations.

Why? Because if you just sent a bio, CV or resume, you will get an inferior introduction.

Why do you care? This leads to errors and a total miss of key marketing messages you need to have front and center. It also doesn’t properly prepare and inspire the audience to be excited to listen to you.

Benefits of doing it? Not only are you better preparing for a successful presentation, but you are also doing the event host a favor. They LOVE it when you send them something they can just read that’s all ready for them, instead of them having to develop something from your bio or cv. (Especially if it’s fun to read and maybe even gets them a laugh from the audience.)

Reality Check about Event Hosts

First, I have to share a truth that may or may not hurt your ego: Event hosts rarely have time or priority to look at this any more than a few minutes before your presentation. And no, they will not have read your book, or visited your company web site. (I’m not saying this NEVER happens, but I can say it’s rare unless you are famous. And this isn’t written for famous people, because they have people to write these kinds of things for them.) So, now that we’re all on the same page of low expectations of introducers, let’s look at how you can write a great one-minute speaker intro!

Secret to a General Intro

I’m focusing on a general introduction that can be used with little or no modifications for any engagement, however, if you are speaking to a particular audience using a specific aspect of your background or expertise, you may want to add it, or alter the write-up to include these.

I believe the key to writing a great general speaker intro is to focus on the core of who you are and what you’re presenting to the world. You’ll see in my example, I focus on the fact that writing is who I am and what I do. The specifics show the diversity, and at the same time (I hope) give the idea of a lifetime commitment, a broad range of experience and education, and at least one surprising revelation that might make people say, “huh! That’s interesting!”

 

BLOOPERS that have happened to me & my Prescription to reduce or eliminate them!

#1: Mispronouncing my name. Either first or last, or both. Most common, most embarrassing and not great for brand building. Also, tough to correct without embarrassing your host –not a great option.

RX: I always put a phonetic representation of my name after it or at the top of the page under my name in the title. For example, mine is: Suzanne Paschall (soo-ZAN PAS-kel)

Don’t know how to write yours? I’ve got a great and easy way for you to find out, and it’s right on your Facebook profile page. Log in, click on the “About” menu tab at the top and then “Details About You.”

You’ll see an option to the right that says, “Name Pronunciation.” You can click on the blue arrow to the left to hear it spoken. Make sure this actually does pronounce your name correctly. If it does, you’re good to go. Just select that text and copy it to your Speaker Introduction.

If it doesn’t sound right, then mouse over your name to cause the “Options” button to appear on the right hand side of the box.

Click “Options,” then “Edit” and you’ll see different pronunciations. Select, listen, and save when it’s correct. Then copy and paste the pronunciation into your bio.

 

I’ve also highlighted my pronunciation in bold, red type on my speaker intro to further draw attention to it.

#2: Reading my entire CV. Okay, that didn’t happen too often, but when it did…WOW. Way to put your audience to sleep before you even get to the podium! Good luck waking them up after.

RX: Write the intro and keep it to two minutes or less. This means you need to write around 240 words, which is the average rate of speech for most people. (The slower you read the better, too, so if you can make it shorter, do!)

It’s awful to hear someone rushing your intro because the conference is running late, or it looks so long they feel they have to. If you go over a bit, don’t stress it. My bio is actually just under 2 minutes, and I’m good with that.

(By the way, here’s a great tool to calculate length of a speech by the words you’ve written.)

#3: Reading the wrong bio. Oh yes, it did. Especially at large events, it is likely the introducer has never met you face to face. If they’re busy and harried, they can actually pick the wrong bio out of a sheaf of papers and well, then it’s too late.

RX: Simple fix? Add your smiling face to your Speaker Introduction. More ideas:

(1) If possible, find your introducer before and introduce yourself.
(2) Make sure they have your intro in hand.
(3) If they don’t, have an extra printed out to hand to them.

#4: Wanting to add or change your intro if they do read in advance, and not having your contact information because that’s the only thing the event coordinator sent them.

RX: Easy…put your contact info at the bottom of the sheet. (Surprising how often that doesn’t happen.!)

Put it all together and from now on, get welcomed to the stage in a more professional way.

Does Developmental Editing Make Better Writers?

Developmental editing, according to Wikipedia, is a “form of writing support that comes into play before or during the production of a publishable manuscript, especially in the area of non-fiction writing.” As explained by Scott Norton in his book Developmental editing: a handbook for freelancers, authors, and publishers, developmental editing involves “significant structuring or restructuring of a manuscript’s discourse”.[1] Developmental editors are a type of language professional.

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Time Management Tricks for Social Media

“I don’t have time for social media!” (Some strategies so you can stop lying to yourself)

A common worry that entrepreneurs have in regards to social media is that it will become a huge time-suck; when you’re starting a business, there are a lot of balls to juggle, and a Twitter feed can definitely be the vortex into which the precious hours of the day disappear.

But managing your online presence is just as important as managing your cash flow and client/customer recruitment and retention. In fact, when social media is built into your marketing plan, it works for you in the pursuit of your goals, not against you – so make the plan and get to work! Note, though, that posting your original content isn’t enough. You need to actively participate in each platform you use (putting the social in social media!) and this is where the OMG-I-don’t-have-time-for-this anxiety starts.

In the same way that people have their own time-management strategies (we won’t judge those who don’t…we won’t judge those who don’t…), there are a few different ways to work the care and feeding of social media into your regular routine.

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