Holding Audience Interest During the Video

Say you're at a seminar. You're listening to a presenter speak. You're interested in what is being said. You like the visuals. You like the presenter. Then, the presenter makes you watch a 10-minute video on the topic before going back to speaking.

What happened to you during those ten minutes? Did you mentally turn off while waiting for the speaker to return?

Many of us often do. We're used to going to the refrigerator or the bathroom when a commercial comes on TV, so it's little wonder we have the urge to leave the room when a presenter says something about, "And now I'm going to show you a video that illustrates my point. Lights!" It's like saying, "And now, a few words from our sponsor before we get back to our regularly scheduled program!"

A cue like that serves to activate my bladder.

It makes me want to leave the room.

But wait a minute, you ask. Aren't videos supposed to be exciting? Aren’t they supposed to enhance the speaker's subject matter?

Well, yes. But often, a speaker knows that you are part of a captive audience. You aren't going to leave, because you have already been captivated by the content of the presentation and by the conference, training or seminar environment. You're trapped into watching a ten minute stock video of something that may or may not be as exciting as a speaker. Worse yet, the speaker's introduction to the video has psychologically conditioned you to want to physically leave the room instead of pay attention to the video!

No wonder you're fidgeting in your seat!

A video is supposed to add oomph to a presentation. However, a video has to possess at least one of these following qualities in order to make me stay put, mentally and physically:

However, a presenter should want more than my mere toleration. As an audience member, I'll truly treasure a video that is short, interesting and visually appealing. If you are a presenter who is unsure of your video's effectiveness in any of these three key areas, try employing some of the following tips:


Entertainment Don't show a dull video. No matter how interesting the subject matter is, if it is presented in a manner that is sub-standard to a cable television viewing audience, you lose. Remember, the audience of today is very media savvy - your presentation should benchmark the production quality of a cable or network TV show, not the drone with the black and white overheads who spoke before you did. Your co-presenters are not your competition: cable TV and movies are.

Editing Edit your video. Show only the portions of your video that pertain to the topic at hand. If your audience watches a daily news program and an hour's worth of entertainment on TV every day, they are also observing over fifty 30-second ads. They are well accustomed to grasping one idea quickly and repetitively. They are accustomed to eye-catching ideas and sounds. If your video drags on for minutes, you have lost your audiences' attention. Filler and fluff? Forget about it.

Give a preview Before showing the video, tell the audience the video's topic, how long it is, what to look for and what will be discussed when it is over. Setting expectations helps keep an audience tuned in while they watch.

Keep them in the room Don't let your audience leave the room on a break before playing the video! While people are more likely to rush the end of a break-time phone call to get back to a live presenter, they won't rush a live person on the phone to get back to a video! We tend to extend courtesy to people with whom we have a previous engagement more than we do to mere objects. An audience is more likely to be tardy from an out-of-the-room break if they know they are returning to a video.

Take a Mini-Break Instead of having the audience leave the room for a break, institute a stretch break: play some pounding music and lead them through a short, mini-aerobic workout right at their seats! By doing this, you give your audience a moment to get their urge to fidget out of the way before they sit down to absorb the video.

Listen for the last Tell the audience that a crucial part of the video is at the very end. The audience is more likely to pay attention during the entire video in an effort to understand why the end is important.

If you're a good presenter, the only reason you'd want to go to video is to demonstrate something that you can't show by speaking and slides alone. Don't do it just to give yourself a break from speaking! Often, the reason an audience is attending a live presentation or training seminar is to suck up your "live and in person" vibes. They are there for you, babe. They can watch a video in their own time. Don't cheat them out of a minute of your valuable speaking time unless it is completely necessary or truly emphasizes the quality of your own expertise.


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Laura Bergells is an internet attraction and distance learning specialist. To learn how to be extremely attractive, visit www.maniactive.com to learn more about "attraction vs. promotion." Download free PowerPoint Templates!


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