The fundamental reason we cringe when we see ourselves on video is a sudden shift in perspective. Seeing ourselves from the outside in creates a jolt to the system, sometimes even mild anxiety.
Why does this happen? Three factors are at play here:
Factor 1. Do I really look like that?
When we see ourselves, it’s generally when we look in the mirror.
The issue with mirrors is that they flip the image of your face horizontally 180 degrees.
So when you see yourself in the mirror, you’re not looking at an image of your face as others see it, but you get used to the ‘mirror image’. When you see yourself on camera, everything is actually the right way round but it looks wrong to you. The reason for this is that our faces aren’t symmetric.
It’s still you, but both images look very different.
Our brain reacts to this lack of recognition and familiarity with a jolt of mild anxiety that psychologists call cognitive dissonance; the cringe factor we experience.
Check out the video:
Factor 2. Boy do I sound weird!
The bones and tissues in our head conduct the sound of our voice to our ears, so we hear our voice for about 15% through our skull.
This means that we hear our own voice very different form others: typically we sound deeper/warmer to ourselves. Because our brain adjusts to how we sound from our perspective, hearing ourselves on a recording feels strange: squeaky and thin.
Factor 3. Self talk
The final reason for our cringing it self talk.
Anyone who sets high standards for her/himself is going to find something that needs to be improved. It’s great to strive for high quality, but perfectionism can actually keep you from getting started!
Relax. We all cringe.
Some discomfort is part of authentic communication. Even experienced actors and presenters cringe.
You could even argue that some level of discomfort is a good sign; it shows that we stretched ourselves a bit. Like any discomfort it’s temporarily and it can be managed by having the right mindset and perspective, which is where friends come in handy.
You can’t be objective about yourself
The best way to get around your own perspective is to use someone else’s judgement.
Assuming your friend will give you an honest account of how you’re doing (otherwise you may want to have a look at who’s in your ‘friend zone’), friends can help you push the ‘send’ button so do don’t get in your own way.
I’m fascinated about exploring what drives us. Everything we do as content producers is ultimately an expression of that motivation. I’ve always felt a bit ambivalent about Tony Robbins, but here’s a TED talk of Tony Robbins that I found undeniably good.
We are driven by emotion
Emotion is the driving force in life – it shapes our decisions.
What drives you?
At Hunting With Pixels we ask every single person we interview (1200 and counting) this question. We’re yet to find someone who tells me it’s money or status, but most of them are driven by this question:
How can I contribute more?
People who do great things look at how they can contribute. Achievement (money/status) is the byproduct of that idea.
Decision is the ultimate power
One interesting question in the TED talk is: Why did you NOT achieve something? The defining factor isn’t lack of resources, but resourcefulness. It’s not about what we didn’t have, but what didn’t motivate us.
https://vimeo.com/124132740 Not really. It’s my fourth. The three other ones are still sitting in my draft folder, because they’re ‘not ready’.
Come one, this should be easy for you!
I’ve been meaning to start a video blog for three years now. Hunting With PIxels has produced over 1100 videos for other people in that time span, but not one video blog.
Why is it so hard for us to start?
What I’ve learned from my work and my own experience is that there are three barriers to video blogging.
Lack of time
No clarity on the direction.
There’s a real vulnerability about being filmed, so most of us cringe when we see ourselves on a screen. There’s always something ‘not quite right’, but what may look like ‘striving for perfection’ is really allowing ourselves to give into fear. As a result we don’t publish until our content is perfect, which is.. never.
2. Time: If only we had more time and energy!
As a entrepreneur and a dad of a ludicrously-cute-but-utterly-exhausting 3 year old, I can appreciate time is limited and creating good content is a big investment. But ultimately it’s not about time. It’s about prioritising. Is creating your my niche by having a voice a good use of my time right now? I came to the conclusion this is not something for ‘later’.
Finding your voice can be hard because you’re too close to the subject and there is so much much you could share.
Three things you can do today
If you’ve made the commitment to get started, you’ll vastly improve your chance of success by doing these three things:
1. Get an outsider’s perspective
This blog wouldn’t exist if Kevin Moore and Byron Scaf from our amazing Coraggio advisory board wouldn’t have pushed the button for me. They showed me that done is better than perfect. Outsiders will have a more objective view of your content that you can ever have, use their ability to make an objective decision and let them help you get started. Even if you’re reluctant like I am.
2. Time – You have to make it easy
A well known psychological bias is the planning fallacy. We all consistently underestimate how much time a task will take no matter how much experience we have. A way to get around it is to avoid adding producing video blogs to your already busy schedule. Because it won’t happen. No really.
Here’s how you make it happen.
Plan a content day.
Turn off EVERYTHING.
Get someone to help you finish.
3. Direction – it’s simple if you get help
It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to cover everything, so getting a very clear idea on that one thing you want to be known for is essential. So get advice from your business consultant, your marketing agency or advisory board on the direction you need to take. Find someone who can afford to be brutally honest to you: I my experience generally not people who are too close to you unless you’re dutch.
What’s the worst that could happen?
When we make decisions, we tend to focus on the results of the decision: ‘If I put my video up, someone may make a negative comment about my funny accent’
Not making a decision is a decision too
What we often don’t take into account is the opportunity cost of not making a decision. A decision to not to publish is a decision to not let your voice be heard.
Hey, that was my idea!
Have you noticed that ideas that you may have had a few years back are now ‘owned’ by someone else? Could it be that the difference between you and the other guy/girl is that she just started, making everyone else someone with the great ideas but no content to show for it? This year, I decided I don’t want to be that person anymore, and I hope I can encourage you to do the same.
We all start small
Here’s an example of someone who just started. Gary Vaynerchuk now; 350.000 views on his video, huge on twitter. Nice looking videos. … and Gary three year ago. Not bad, but does this look like something unattainable to you?
But those successful people make it look so easy..
Yes, by having all false starts years before you ever heard of them. But they still started.
Press that button!
Businesses that communicate well grow faster because engaging content amplifies their message. But you have to start.
At Hunting With Pixels we’re very excited to run our first Social Media Profile Video course on the 18th of June. The reason we’re passionate about using profile videos is that they really encompass everything we’re about at Hunting With Pixels; creating meaningful connection.
How we make decisions on who to do business with
Connection is everything. We are all hard wired to make decisions about who we trust and do business with by mixing ‘digital’ and ‘analog’ information. Digital is the data: product features, price, ROI. All the stuff that marketers tend to bang on about. Analog is how we feel about someone: tone of voice, personality, posture: all the non verbal communication. Research shows that we remember how people made us feel, much more than what they said, so how we say something matters.
Trust And Connection
Typically, we base our decisions on who we work with or hire on whether we feel trust and connection to someone. When it comes that aspect of business, authentic and well structured video can really make a difference to how your audience perceives you, provided it’s authentic.
People don’t buy what you sell. They ‘buy’ you as the person to help them
If we want to find our tribe, we need to have the courage to be vulnerable and talk about what really drives us. Here are a few examples of social video profiles we created for the lovely people at Atkinson Vinden in Sydney:
So, What’s your essence?
In our course we’ll work with you on creating a 30-60 second profile that summarises who you are and what you’re about in a way that’s authentic, confident, and relaxed. The end result is a a beautifully shot, high quality video that helps you connect to your tribe.
What’s in the box
1.A content session around building the story around why you do what you do. Let’s explore what your purpose is and how we can write a short script around it. This will be done a small groups at the Hoffice on the 18th of June. 2. Coaching and filming. A one on one session with you where we coach to be the best you can be in front of the camera and capture some of your magic. 3. A fully finished, ready-to-go social media profile video on any social media platform you want.
What you get out of this
The outcome of your course is a short video that you can use on your website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page or wherever your audience want to connect with you.
Bit of an introvert?
This course is definitely for you. Introverts can be amazing presenters if they just get to tell their story instead of being pushed to do the ‘presenting’ thing. Here’s an article we wrote about ‘not being good on camera‘. There’s no such thing as not being good on camera, there’s just being authentic or not being authentic. https://vimeo.com/102607249
$ 895 during the pilot phase, which is a steal considering you’d pay more for the video alone! We’re planning courses in Sydney and Melbourne in August and September. Drop us a line if you’re interested. Here’s a video on why authenticity matters: https://vimeo.com/114209651
How much does a video cost? How much should it cost? Not a lot these days. Video has made a major shift in terms of price point. A few years back you’d pay the price of a small car for a corporate video, now you can get professional video for a fraction of that.
Quality has also shifted tremendously. Where we used to shoot interviews with one or two DV cameras, we now work with three cinema grade cameras so you get a pretty slick outcome. https://vimeo.com/42529714
Are we asking the right question?
Is asking ‘How much is a video?’ the right question though? The lower cost of video has made it more attainable for SMEs and educators, but are we getting better value?
Results with video
Video is a means to an end. We want brand awareness, business growth, learning outcomes. So how do we figure out what we need to spend to get those?
Cost vs outcome
Instead of looking at cost, let’s look at our outcomes, for example: I want to improve my sales by 15% – how much would video content that helps me achieve that goal cost?I want my students to retain my OH&S program for 95% – how do I make that happen?
Define and measure success
If we base our budget on outcomes, everyone gets better results. You get the outcome you need, while setting a realistic budget so you don’t set each other up to fail.
Apples and pears
If you define success well, you can aim for a specific outcome. If you then ask for quotes based on those, you can get figures that you can actually compare. Personally, I’d go for apples because of their superior nutritional benefits but apparently the jury is still out on that one.
How much is a video? Cost vs value
If we quote someone for a video without understanding the budget and business outcomes, we’re basically stabbing in the dark. As we’ve learned from The Walking Dead, you want to do your stabbing in daylight.
Video can be made to any budget
If we don’t define our outcomes, we incentivise lowballing instead of thinking along the same line as each other. Quoting like this creates an adversarial relationship instead of a partnership. There are no winners there.
We want you to succeed
Our aim is for our clients to be advocates for our brand because they love what we achieved for them. We’re interesting in long term success. That only works if happy with the outcomes: please help us make that happen for you by offering clarity.
But I still need to know what a video costs!
If you want to make a useful comparison between video production companies, set a benchmark.
How to set a benchmark
A good way to go about costing is to offer an example. For instance, how much would it cost to create a two minute version of this video if we shoot it in Sydney CBD? https://vimeo.com/121755357 When you benchmark the length of the video, the production value and the location you get quotes based on a comparable value.
If the quotes are in the ballpark, another important differentiator is whether you share values: https://vimeo.com/124278716 Shared values will tell you whether the people you’re considering as a production partner are the kind of people you want to work with. Being aligned in terms of values is the single most important factor in making any project work. No amount of tech skills and facilities will make content that connects; it takes collaboration between like minded people.
Last week I did a talk at Ignite Sydney. it was a wonderful experience speaking in front of 600 of the nicest people you could ever meet. The other speakers blew me away! Here’s video about the experience: https://vimeo.com/127574623
It’s not easy.
As an introvert I’m not naturally drawn to public speaking or video blogging, but in the past years I’ve come to realise it’s important to not give in to that tendency – public speaking is a very a skill that will help you grow your business beyond your network.
We are our own worst ememies when it comes to public speaking: the stories we tell ourselves about who we are can be very self limiting: https://vimeo.com/127574624
How to do it anyway
Write the presentation 4-5 weeks beforehand: you’ll need the time to develop the idea.
Find brutally honest partners
I reached out to a small group of people who I can trust will give me honest feedback: I just filmed myself and shared with a small group. My wife Beth, John, Sandi, Steve, Carolyn Tate, John Yeo and John Downes: you’ve been a huge support. Thanks for your time and wisdom!
Talks On Purpose
A major step in the journey for me was taking part in Slow School Talks On Purpose program. It really helped me get over the hurdle and start anyway. Here are a few thoughts on starting the journey that may be helpful for fellow introverts:
You don’t have to believe in your self.
Generally, people tell you that you need to confidence and then the speaking gets better. My experience is that it’s the other way around. I started with a belief I can’t do it, but by simply going ahead I gained the confidence.
Don’t set the bar too high
I realised I don’t need to be amazing. Just good enough to get the idea across.
Anger is not always a destructive force: it can really drive you to go outside of your comfort zone. Anger can be the impetus to change things. It can drive you to do things you never imagined doing. The best presentations are done by speakers who channel their passion about something that frustrates them. Here’s an great example: https://vimeo.com/121752757
It’s bigger than you
Karen isn’t talking about herself; her purpose and idea is much, much bigger than that. Introverts will feel more comfortable with this principle. The audience is interesting in learning about the idea, not the person.
Your audience wants you to succeed.
They’re not there to see how you stack up; only you think that. They’re invested in hearing a good story or an interesting idea.
You’re not doing yourself justice if you don’t give it a go. I’m no rockstar presenter by any standards, but I’m so grateful I’ve pushed myself! To be continued; I hope I see you on the journey too!
In terms of ‘production value’, this is the lowest quality video we’ve made in years. The cameras are shaky, the angles weird, the colours don’t match the audio is all over the place.
But who cares?
But we love it! https://vimeo.com/108328728
Real people, authentic stories
This clip works because it’s about people who genuinely love Wordcamp. Why make a slick commercial when you have this going on for your brand?
Video production value – does it matter?
People in our industry can get a bit carried away with focussing on making really slick looking video, but does that mean the content is effective? Video production value is important in many contexts, but there’s no substitute for showing a community of people who love your brand. That’s when you really start cooking with gas.
Here’s a statistic to think about; 85% of our audience will trust peer recommendations more than any marketing This is why a good business video is about what you do an why. If you want to let people know you’re brilliant, it will have to be your clients who tell the story.
Keeping it real
In the past we’ve been asked to hire a few actors to create ‘case studies’ and ‘client testimonials. We don’t do that for two reasons: 1. Why fake it? If you run a great business, it should be easy to find three clients who love what you do and are happy to talk about it. If not, you need a better product! If you don’t have the product in the market yet, tell a story that describes the problem your product solves. 2. Actors do other work. The social media fallout of your ‘production manager’ turning up in a major beer commercial (yes, that really happened) is not worth the benefit of slicker delivery that actors can offer.
But what if my clients are terrible presenters?
Our experience is the anyone will come across well if they talk about something they fully understand and care about. Any other issues with delivery are about clever coaching and directing. It’s the video producer’s job to make sure your clients are in the right mindset to tell their story.
Let go of control
It’s important to not try to control the outcome too much by sending scripts or ‘overdirecting’. When you interrupt the client’s train of thought and try to get your branding message in there, you will lose the authenticity. Once that’s gone, so is the credibility of the testimonial.
Mix it up
In video the ‘rule of three’ applies. When three people discuss something it’s feels like a credible story. Less is too little, more can be overwhelming. Here’s an example: http://vimeo.com/42601926 Mixing your team’s narrative with that of your clients can also be a great option: https://vimeo.com/52974598
And for something completely different
Here’s a beautiful and unusual way to get a client testimonial. You know you’re doing something special if your clients write a poem about the experience they had with you! https://vimeo.com/123904559
And finally: Keep it short
60-90 seconds is enough to establish you’re awesome!
Miles Davis once said that jazz is about the notes you don’t play. Communication around building trust is not about more information: that will just overwhelm our audience.
How we decide who to trust
The people we want to connect with make decisions about who they trust based on what seems to be very little information: a short story, a few non verbal and visual cues. How does that work?
Thin slicing is the ability to find patterns in events based only on “thin slices,” or narrow windows, of experience. Studies have shown that brief observations can be used to assess outcomes, at levels higher than expected by chance.
How this applies to video
An interesting aspect of visual content is that we are surprisingly good at assessing someone’s skill level and intelligence. The research is mind boggling; humans can fairly accurately assess someone’s intelligence and personality just by looking at someone’s photo. We’re not describing prejudice here; this is measurable and the experiments have been repeated with similar results.
People behind the brand
We can use thin slicing and our ability to assess personality by communicating around the people behind brands. Staff profile videos are a great application of this; a 20-30 second video will give our viewers enough information to assess whether they’re a good fit with your culture and values. https://vimeo.com/99794385
Authenticity – you can’t control the outcome
To stick with the jazz analogy; if you write out the whole composition, it stops being jazz. Staff profiles can backfire if they’re overly scripted and contrived. If you do profile videos, you have to allow for variation and deviation. As long as you everyone on board on values and your brand essence, diversity of delivery and opinion will only further strengthen your brand and the communication of purpose. https://vimeo.com/102607249
LinkedIn profile videos
Once you have the staff profile videos in place, you can greatly improve the impact you have by adding them to everyone’s LinkedIn profile. Here’s a tutorial on how to add a video to your LinkedIn profile.