Trust and the Sacred Space
I’ve spoken before about the importance of “the sacred space:” a safe environment where you and your video director can sort out your message together and work closely to impart your humanity and authenticity on camera.
That preparation time spent together is how I gauge my approach as a director. Each leader I work with has a different set of experiences that shape their performance.
Observe Corporate Leaders to Gauge Their Attitude About Video
One of the ways I prep for a shoot is by observing what a leader wears in photos on his or her company website. This particular CEO wore a coat and tie, so I did the same on film day. When the leader arrived fifteen minutes late wearing an open-collar shirt, the first thing he said to me was, “Doesn’t that tie cut off the circulation to your brain?”
“I didn’t bristle or get defensive, I kept my cool and, with a warm chuckle, joked, “If you feel that way, you might want to change the photo on your website because you’re wearing a tie in it.” Even if I was pushing back on his comment, I wanted him to know that I was on his side.”
Whether the CEO realized it or not, his tie comment was a test. He wanted to see what I was made of so he could figure out how much of himself he would be willing to give to me. He was gauging whether I was the kind of guy he could trust. As the director, if I want the person I’m working with to be honest and open, I have to project that same vibe.
Leaders Trust The Best Corporate Video Production Team
It’s only natural to want to know you’re in good hands, especially when you’re about to venture into unfamiliar territory. As a director, I’m playing the role of a sports coach leading my talent. The last thing the CEO wants is to be in the hands of a Little League coach. They want the major league coach. The director has to convey their own authenticity and confidence if they want to build trust.
The CEO instantly relaxed because he could tell I was someone who was willing to talk straight to him. I was confident and honest—traits that I hoped he’d bring to the camera. In a world full of yes men, he knew he could trust me to tell him the truth. He was ready to get to work.
Directors have to find a way to make these quick connections, sometimes in just a couple of minutes. Our job—and your performance—depends on it. Sometimes it happens by kindly speaking truth to power. It’s about being warm while showing that you’re a strong person who is comfortable in their role.