Guidelines for Writing Successful Business Video Presentations

Guidelines for Writing Successful Business Video Presentations
- Preproduction and Video Treatment Development

Successful presentations directly create a bridge between your client’s purpose and the audience’s motivation. As writers and producers, we search for ideas to help us make that match. We find those ideas–by asking the right questions.

Communications and training presentations support a problem-solving process initiated by our clients. Our challenge is to relate our client’s goal to the needs and desires of the audience. While our clients focus on how the goal benefits the organization, our focus is how it benefits the audience. There must always be a benefit for the audience.

Audience expectations

What does an audience want from a corporate or educational video presentation? Learning theory tells us:

·People learn what they need and want to know right now.

·They are most interested in information and skills that give them greater control over their life experience.

·They see themselves as experts in their own lives and want to be treated as such.
Responding to audience expectations

As video professionals, we need to support these needs and desires, build on them and never diminish them. We satisfy the audience’s needs in the following ways:

·The presentation neither over nor underwhelms by presenting too much or too little information.

·The information is immediately usable.

·The pacing allows the audience to feel they have control over the experience by going neither too fast nor too slow.

·The format or creative treatment engages their imagination in ways that allow them to identify with the problem presented and see themselves taking control and succeeding at the solution.

The video environment provides an opportunity for the audience to reevaluate and adjust their viewpoint, and try out new behaviors. They rehearse new behaviors and skills in their mind’s eye. By the end of the presentation, they decide whether change is worth the risk.

Waiting for answers

Screenwriter Syd Field says, “Writing is the process of asking the right questions then waiting for the answers.” This also is an excellent description of the preproduction process. During its early stages, we focus on left brain, logical analysis concerning our client’s goal and the audience’s motivation. In the later stages, we begin the right brain work of trying out various treatment ideas–ways we can use the medium to convey our message. The essential questions are:

·What creative vehicle will work best? Do we need drama, parody, comedy, documentary, an interview or panel discussion?
·What’s the right answer, how can we determine that answer–and then be sure of our professional recommendation?

Visualization and the creative concept

We now look for answers. It’s time to visualize. Go to your imagination and become a member of the audience. Block out the censors and critics, and delight yourself with images, sounds and music.

·What do you want to see, hear and feel?

·What interests you?

·What would move you from complacency and comfort to risking something new?

Allow time for images and ideas to come to you. Never reject an idea. And don’t miss those bits and pieces of ideas that present themselves as vague, ill-formed, or too avant-garde. Welcome them. Let them grow and identify themselves.

Reexamine your ideas in light of your client’s goal, the audience’s motivation, the budget and resources). Look for the best fit and select your creative concept.

Structure

Now you have one more consideration–structure. Surprisingly, our audiences don’t care as much about creative concept as they do about structure. Their perceptions are carefully developed by commercial television and Hollywood films.

Their first perception concerns “seat time.” Seat time refers to the amount of time the audience is willing to sit before taking a break. They are conditioned by commercial television to 10-minute (or less) segments separated by commercial breaks.

The second perception concerns storytelling. Hollywood films (and other forms of storytelling) influence audiences to expect a journey. They hope for a structure built on a series of twists and turns that leads to a new awareness where significant problems are resolved. This doesn’t mean structure depends on character-based stories. It does mean we need to structure even a straightforward presentation of information according to the principles of good storytelling. Information is always meted out in ways that build, pique, and then satisfy our audience’s interest.

The treatment

Finally, it’s time to write the video treatment. This includes your goal and audience analysis, and the structured creative concept.

Every successful treatment solution is unique. It results from the time, thought and care you put into asking the right questions then waiting, searching, and being available to the right answers. It begins with a solid relationship with your client and ends with a solid relationship with your audience.

The treatment now is your vehicle for communicating with the client and the guide for developing a successful presentation.

How to Price Your Product for Retailers

Millions of inventors and entrepreneurs set out every year with good ideas and great products, but what separates the many from the few is executing the fundamentals. One of these basic tenants that many businesses struggle with is setting the right price on your product and achieving the delicate balance between making a profit and keeping merchandise competitive.

There are many factors that go into pricing your product. Many companies will over-estimate or under-estimate how much a retailer is willing to pay for a quality product, as well as what the end-consumer will pay.

Here are a few key tips to competitively pricing your product to retailers:

1. Know your target consumer – Who are you selling to and why would they want your product? Take your time to do thorough market research before deciding the value of your product. Many companies will hire outside companies to help in this crucial step.

2. Know all your costs – This includes expenses like your sales and marketing team, cost of labor and materials, salary expenses, as well as your company’s future growth plans, your expected profit margin, and a realistic revenue goal.

3. Know your competition -Making a head-to-head comparison between your competition’s prices and costs can be very helpful when determining how to price your product. You can bet that any retailer you are selling to will check out your competition to gauge your prices.

4. Know your market – Are there new laws being considered that may affect your business? Or maybe the price of your materials has been on the rise? Consider the future stability of your market when making price decisions.

Everyone wants to sell to big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, but don’t forget that bigger retailers might mean a higher sales volume, but don’t expect to make a high profit off of them. Smaller retailers, on the other hand, will accept higher prices, but offer small sales revenue. Knowing who you are selling to is key to setting the right price for your products.

Lastly, after you set the right price, don’t forget to continuously monitor your prices after you get into stores. Keep an eye on the market, your competitors and the profit of your products. Be ready to shift the price of your product when it is necessary.

Striking the right balance between earning a profit and remaining competitive can be difficult, but with the right tools and know-how the task can become a little less daunting and help set your business up for success.

The Precious Present

The Tibetans have a saying;

You will have to stand for a very long time

with your mouth wide open

before a roasted partridge will fly into it…

It is a rather droll way of expressing high levels of improbability, but nevertheless useful, in reminding us that some things that we may pine and hope for are simply ‘unrealistic.’

The fact is that we could stand outside ‘forever,’ with our mouths agape and there is no way in the world that a ‘roasted partridge’ will ever fly in!

The odds are completely against this ever happening and it is like this also with a lot of things that we may cling very vehemently to as aspirations, hopes, dreams and wishes.

This is not to say that we should not have any. It is only to point out that it is wiser to actually get out and take the needed steps that would enable an ‘outcome’ to eventuate.

We must measure our wishes against our ability to create the causes that will engender the hoped for ‘conditions.’

When we wait too long, the chances are we may miss out altogether.

If you are into ‘roasted partridges’ it makes more sense to scour the markets.

There is a huge advantage in learning to ‘surrender’ to life and accept what actually ‘is.’ Instead of dancing through our days like animated ‘puppets,’ tossed about here and there, in a relentless cycle of ‘hope and fear,’ we can simply learn to relax and allow our attention to fully greet exactly whatever arises before us.

Most of the time, we do exactly the opposite. Our ‘attention’ is fixed elsewhere; any where, but right ‘here’ and right ‘now.’

We need not live our lives as slaves to longings, hopes, desires or fear. We ALWAYS have a choice.

We can do ourselves the greatest possible favor and recognize the treasure of the ‘present moment.’

The ‘present moment’ deserves our closest attention, gratitude and even devotion.

Take the hint and look again more carefully at the very thing that you routinely take for granted. Things are seldom ever quite as they ‘appear’ to be.

This present moment, when it is just lived out for what it is, provides us with the supreme opportunity to discover an incredibly important truth.

If it were not for the present moment we could not exist at all.

Truly this present moment is precious indeed!