7 Tips for Senior Executives: Be More Effective on Camera

October 10, 2016

By Todd Johnson, Chairman and President of Kollective

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One of the many things that I love about my role at Kollective is not only do I get to talk to executives about using enterprise video as a communication tool, but I also get a fair amount of time behind the camera myself – enough time that I now know exactly what I need in order to perform at my best. I wanted to share my go-to tips with you, the things you should be thinking about whether you are a pro, or just getting started with video.

  1. You ARE the talent, and deserve to get what you need in the way you need it. Everyone else is there to support you, not vice versa. Make sure to clearly communicate the things that are important to you. For example, I like working with the same production people on each event/shoot; I want a visible timer so I can manage timing; I don’t like production people moving behind the cameras. Be outspoken!
  2. Own the agenda. If the effectiveness of the message is on you, so is the event’s agenda. It is one thing to just show up and do your bit, but the agenda has as much to do with the outcome as does your final delivery. By agenda, I mean take part in deciding who speaks when, for how long and in what format. Be specific, or at least be bought into the plan.
  3. Set clear expectations with other executives that are participating in your event. Make sure they are prepared, if they stumble and it looks like they are not ready for their role as described, make a change. Get someone else to present or change the format for that speaker to an interview style or a panel, for example. Be sure the other executives know your expectations, be sure they know how important it is to you that this be well perceived.
  4. Go unscripted. Most of what we are talking about is communicating to internal audiences. Do not read to them! If you need a teleprompter or some other kind of visual cue, use bullet points or your own summary slides. It’s about connecting and speaking from the heart, not from a script.
  5. Know your audience. Too often executives focus on what they want to say, not what the audience, or employees, want to hear. Instead, use the WIIFM acronym to trigger you to think about the event from their perspective, What’ s In It For Me?
  6. Get and give feedback. I know you’re probably Golden Globe or Emmy material, but let’s face it, we all can improve. Ask for real feedback and take it to heart. Give feedback too. It is not necessary to crush people, but it is important to tell people how they did. People who did poorly need to know that it is not OK. They need to do something to improve, or have someone else speak for them.
  7. Commit to getting better, you and your team. It is really important. Being a strong on-camera communicator is a part of a modern executive’s job description.

It is not a really hard list, but I’d bet even the best of you could improve somewhere. I know I can!

Todd Johnson

President

Over the past decade, Todd has held various executive positions and helped steer the company’s evolution. As a business leader, Todd has been responsible for managing and directing internal and external communications for companies large and small. He has worked with some of the top engineers and IT developers in the country. This experience has not only taught him about the technologies themselves, but also how to communicate technology benefits and requirements to business stakeholders, including key communications executives. As a result, Todd has become a strong proponent for effective, transparent communications in leadership.

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