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Six Ways to Prepare Your CEO for Video
October 24, 2013 @ 12:46 PM | By Eric Vidal

At the enterprise level, online video is quickly becoming one of the most widely used marketing strategies. Therefore, CEOs are more excited than ever to get in front of the camera, share information and demonstrate their thought leadership.

The video, however, will only be as effective as the amount of preparation that is taken beforehand. While most CEOs are industry experts possessing a wealth of knowledge, many are not schooled to present effectively and engagingly online, including staying on message. Since you want your leader to appear in the best possible light, here are some tips to keep in mind before the camera starts rolling for your next online event.

1. Make sure your CEO knows his or her role in the video

Even a well prepared CEO still needs to pay attention to the basic script. Especially when other parties are involved, make sure he or she knows when to begin, when to stop speaking and how to appropriately respond to others who are also part of the event. It’s important to create a script that is true to your CEO. Employees and other stakeholders have come to expect a certain communication style from your leading executive. Make sure your script reflects your CEO’s personality.

2. Remember that appearances matter

Your CEO should put some thought ahead of time into what he or she will wear on camera. Just as his or her appearance dictates the tone of an office, your chief executive’s attire on camera will set the tone for the event. Oftentimes, viewers will associate as much with a leaders’ appearance as with what they say. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for wearing a hooded sweatshirt and maintaining a casual approach during presentations. Apple founder Steve Jobs will forever be associated with a long sleeve black shirt and jeans.

3. Make sure the setting helps, not hurts, your video

Remember that people will tune in to listen to your CEO’s message. Keep the background simple, so that it does not distract the viewers or cause any undue interference. If the setting is an interview, choose a library or a stage. Do not go overboard trying to impress your audience with the scenery. The focus should remain on your leading executive.

4. Plan for the shoot

Once you have a setting figured out, spend some time thinking about cinematic aspects such as lighting. While you do not have to bring in a master cinematographer to enhance your set, basic lighting can really make or break a production. Stay away from fluorescent and natural lighting, if possible. Be mindful of shadows and how light will play off of the CEO to make him or her look as good as possible.

Another aspect you will want to account for when it comes to your online events is acoustics. Make sure that you do not film in an area where the CEO’s voice will be lost due to high ceilings or echoes. You should also make sure to pick a place in which background noise can be minimized. The sound of a microwave and laughter from the kitchen can ruin the mood of a presentation.

5. Prepare ahead of time

Have your CEO review the script beforehand to make sure he or she is comfortable with the language. Make sure it flows properly, and there aren’t any words they’ll stumble over. The cleaner the script, the fewer takes will be required on set. This will save money and time, and will ensure a smooth production.

6. Involve the audience

If your CEO is addressing a live audience, regardless of whether it’s in-person, online or both, he or she should takes questions. When there’s an online audience, they should be encouraged to ask questions, and a “virtual concierge” should be assigned to relay their questions to the speaker. The CEO can acknowledge the person who submitted the question and direct the answer to in-person attendees and to the camera.

Tell us, how do you get your CEO prepared to go on camera?

Eric Vidal Eric Vidal is a Director of Product Marketing at InterCall and is considered a leading voice and expert in virtual business, which expands from marketing to collaboration to learning. He has more than 15 years experience in developing, implementing and optimizing strategies in these areas for numerous organizations and Global 2000 companies. As the director of product marketing for InterCall’s event services, Eric manages the strategy and initiatives for the virtual technologies that include virtual environments, streaming, event management services and operator assisted services. Previously from WebEx, Eric managed the virtual classroom product, as well as brand advertising and new media. Over the last several years, Eric has held management positions at Cisco, WebEx, IBM, BBDO Worldwide and Macromedia.

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