The Intangible Elements of an Effective Video

The tangible elements of creating a great corporate video are straightforward: a talented crew, high quality equipment, a carefully selected location. The intangible elements are the emotional or tonal aspects that make your video effective (or ineffective when overlooked). They take much more skill, time, and practice. Without enough attention to the intangibles, your video will be unwatchable.

Choose Your Best On-Camera Mode

The only way to find your groove on camera is to test out a few approaches to your video (ideally before filming!) until you feel comfortable.

Carefully consider and choose a communication style you are most comfortable with. This could be an off-camera interview where the interviewer is not seen and the questions are not heard. Or you might choose to simulate a meeting or group office setting to let your public speaking skills shine.

Strong Eye Contact and Active Listening

Give a warm greeting. Depending on the format you choose, viewers may expect you to make good eye contact through the camera. Stakeholders are used to hearing warm and sincere greeting from political leaders, talk show hosts, and news anchors on television. They’ll expect some warmth and humanity from you as well.

If you’re in a back and forth on-camera interview or taking questions during a webinar, show you are a good listener. Everyone, especially employees, needs to know that their leaders take their opinions and points of view seriously. Ramp up your mindfulness. Be in the moment.

Be Present with Correct Body Language

Your workforce will expect you as a leader to show confidence on video. Don’t be afraid to move naturally, shift your weight, lean in every so often. Laugh and smile (the right way). Discuss what you will wear with your director beforehand. What’s appropriate to wear for stockholders may not be the same threads you should have on to address employees. You want to be you, not someone you think you should be.

Display Accessibility

You can demonstrate you are accessible by the mode of communication you choose. A roundtable can serve to display that you are open to others’ ideas. You can also use your on-camera appearance to mention how you can be reached, and that when you are contacted, you will listen carefully.

Use Humor

High-performance organizations that are staffed by dedicated, hard-working employees can be stressful environments. A little humor from the boss can take the edge off and go a long way to making work fun again. Remember that as a leader, you set the tone.

Show Vulnerability

Vulnerability does not equate to showing weakness. Consider sharing some trial or personal story that relates to a pivotal moment in your career. Vulnerability can be a powerful and effective driver of employee engagement. It lets viewers see that they’re working for a warm-blooded human who is not afraid to show their faults.

Address the Elephant in the Room

Ignoring issues of concern can be interpreted as arrogance. Or worse, a disinterest in the welfare of your people. Before sitting down to film your video, get a briefing from your CCO as to what your people are most concerned about.

Tell the Truth

A true leader never lies. Shape your communication to be pragmatic and honest. A merger, for instance, is a financial transaction that could benefit shareholders. If the leader says it’s good for everybody, many know that it is not necessarily true for them. Some people may lose their jobs, and those who remain will face new bosses and changes in the system. The more you acknowledge the hard truths, the more appreciative your audience will be.

Reinforce Your Objective

If you are introducing yourself for the first time, is that really your only objective? Sure, people need to know who you are and what excites you. But if they know a big change is coming, they will want some reassurances that you are fully aware of its implications. You can also use this first meet and greet to bring up a specific project or change you want to implement. But in all of the above, keep it simple.

Avoid Industry-Insider Terminology

Some leaders pepper their address with “insider” lingo and acronyms. Avoid this as much as possible. Don’t mistake the use of convoluted operational terms and acronyms as a way to show people you “get it.” All you will end up showing them is that you are not trying to connect as a fellow human being.

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“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


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