What To Include In A Keynote Speaker Demo Video

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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The Dreaded Keynote Speaker Demo Video

Most of us have stressed about our keynote speaker demo video at one point or another.  There is no question that it is one of the most important tools to get you business, yet the hardest to accomplish. It’s hard to choose what to put in it. It’s hard to get footage that has you looking good, the background looking good, the quality of the video looking good, and the audience responding the way you want to capture them forever. It is extremely time consuming when you factor in the editing involved, and can be quite expensive.  Most of us are never fully satisfied with our demo video. And even if we are, give it a few years and it will still need an update.

Before I give you some tips on how to make the process easier, I must confess that I do not have a demo video, and don’t plan on getting one anytime soon.  (Pause for you to call me a hypocrite.)  I decided there is way too much variety in what I do to fit it into one video. So I created a gallery of videos instead – short video clips categorized under headings that are clear to the client, like “Kelly Being Funny”,  “Kelly’s Philosophy On Story”, “The Six Things Every Customer Wants”, “A Client Testimonial from XYZ.”  This way, the client can hop around to look at the videos most closely aligned to what they are looking for.

Despite the fact that I don’t have one all-inclusive video, I still know what clients want to see in a demo.

Things To Remember When Creating Your Demo Video

For the sake of this article, I will assume you want to be booked as a keynote speaker. If you have created a business that teaches sales principles, and you are just one speaker out of many, then you don’t want to create a video that sells you, you want to create a video that sells the business and the return on investment it brings. There is overlap in both kinds of demo video.

  • Brand Clarity.  Be very clear on who your market is, what they want, and your solution to their problem or answer to their desire. Know why people book you, and why they like working with you. Have proof that you are good at what you do and that you have delivered on what was promised.  If you have different markets that book you for different reasons, you will have to figure out how to speak to both. See why one demo video can be tricky? But if you have decided to put all your eggs in this basket, then you have to create something appealing to any kind of business you want to get.
  • Tease, Don’t Overload.  This is a teaser, not a documentary. The video is the hook to make them want more.
  • Short Clips Cobbled Together.  The perfect length for a demo video is up for debate. Most people don’t want to wade through a long video. But you can cobble really short clips together and even if your video is longer, they will see what they need to see in the first minute.
  • Most Important Clips First.  Since many people will not watch an entire video, it is crucial that you get your best clips in the beginning or they may never see them.
  • Live Speaking Beats You Talking About Yourself.  Clients who are booking a keynote speaker want to know if that speaker is any good. More important than what you know, is how you will do when put on a stage in front of their audience. They know that what you know means nothing if you are an awful speaker. They can’t afford an awful speaker. They want proof that you are good at what you do. That’s why word-of-mouth is the biggest driver of my business.  Second best option to word-of-mouth is video.  They want to see you speak and see how an audience is reacting to you.
  • Choose Impressive Venue Clips.  If you’re speaking in a tiny room with a small audience, in a dinky hotel out in the middle of nowhere, your client is going to have a different perceived value than if you’re standing on  a stage in front of thousands with big screens.  Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Use the video you have until you get better video.
  • Choose Impressive Photos. Same goes for photos. Just please don’t stage fake photos.  Many speakers will take a picture of themselves on the main stage that they didn’t really give a speech on, just to use in their marketing.  This is false advertising. If you aren’t good enough to get those jobs, don’t deceive people into thinking you are.
  • Testimonials Sell You Better Than You Do.  Whether it’s written or video clips, testimonials are important to include in your demo. I believe what others say about you, more than I believe what you say about you.
  • Use WOW words.  It’s hard for us as speakers to describe ourselves like rock stars. But you must get your client excited about the idea of working with you. Let them know what makes you different than all the others they are looking at.
  • Focus On Them.  While the video is all about you, it is just as much (if not more) about them.  What will they experience? How will their lives be changed?  What answers are you bringing. This is where you must know your market and where you want to get booked, and why.
  • Don’t Forget Contact Information.  Be sure to include a phone number and a website.
  • Focus On Good Clips Not Good Presentations.  It’s overwhelming to try and get the perfect speech on video. So don’t look at it that way. You aren’t trying to capture a perfect performance, you’re just looking for some good clips that you can use.  Whenever I get footage from a keynote, I go to the moments I like best and cut those out into their own small clips and trash the rest.

Don’t Like The Way You Look On Video?

I hear a lot of speakers stress because they don’t like the way the video made them look. I’ve got news for you – the camera man didn’t make you look that way. That is how you looked.  An entire audience watched you give that speech. If it was good enough for them, why wouldn’t it be good enough for video?

Yes, I understand that you don’t want video of your boob hanging out, or something that doesn’t shine you in the best light. But at the end of the day, most speakers are overthinking it. The video doesn’t lie.  You won’t ever look as perfect as you want to look. And that’s okay.  If that video reflects what kind of speaker you are, then you must settle on that or become a better speaker.

And I’ve got news for you….they aren’t booking you for how pretty you are, or whether your butt is small enough.  They are booking you based on an emotional connection. When I filmed my part in the reality TV show (The Fashion Hero) I worried about what I would look like on TV. For about a minute. Then I remembered they didn’t book me to come look good. They booked me because they wanted to hear my story. They booked me to bring humor and encouragement. They didn’t care what I wore.  And the fact that I’m plus sized, was actually a plus!  Yes, your brand has a look and that look factors into the client’s perception of your brand. Not sure that they would be interested in the speaker who shows up in sweat pants. So it does matter. But not as much as you think it does, and not in the same ways. Bring your best self to the stage and the video, and then trust that it’s enough.

The worst thing you can do is create a video that sells something you’re not. Then you get the gig, show up, and can’t deliver.  Now you have done irreparable damage to your reputation and your brand.

I want to show up and be BETTER than my video.  I almost like the fact that the videos are never as good as the real thing. That way I don’t have the pressure of being better than my videos. Have you ever seen a speaker who puts an impressive flashy video at the beginning of their speech, gets the audience all ramped up and excited, and then comes out and is completely boring? Have you felt the energy being sucked out of the room?  You don’t want to be that speaker. You are setting yourself up for failure.

One Of My Demo Videos

Here is a video I had made to accomplish one specific purpose – to show potential clients booking speakers for women’s health events what I’m like off stage at these events. Why? Because booking a speaker is more than that one hour on stage – it’s about the entire experience the speaker brings to the event – and what it’s like working with that speaker. I told the video people that I have enough footage of me on stage doing what I do – so not to focus so much on the keynote, but everything else that happened that day.  I think it turned out pretty well. It’s not one main demo video, it’s just one in my gallery.