3 Tips For Getting Shy People Into Marketing Videos

3 Tips For Getting Shy People Into Marketing VideosSuper excited that Gini Dietrich and Lindsay Bell gave me a chance to guest blog at Spin Sucks this week; a couple of questions from that post actually inspired today’s tips on getting shy people into marketing videos.

From Spin Sucks

I find it hard to get get co-workers comfortably in front of a camera. —Catrina Sharp

How do you overcome the “shyness factor?” I’ve tippytoed into this arena a bit, and encountered some real resistance to being on video. Any tips and tricks to help ease the fear for customers? —Rosemary O’Neill

No doubt… this is something that every video producer faces. We all encounter the shy guy and/or gal. What’s the trick to getting them to loosen-up? Alcohol.

Just kidding. I wish I had a trick, but there’s more to it than that.

It’s funny. One of the news videographers I worked with for years has said that one of my best skills is getting people to feel comfortable on-camera. Prior to his comment, I had never even thought about it… but it truly is an important part of my job.

Getting people comfortable with appearing in marketing videos

Here are a few things I’ve learned about getting people to relax in-front of the camera, and how I handle it…

  • I explain to them the process. You might know the ins and outs of how a video is produced, but the average person has no idea. I take the time to teach people about videography and how I shoot things, as well as the process of breaking down interviews into sound bites. I even give examples of techniques we use that they can see in popular TV shows. The more they understand, the more comfortable they feel.
  • for the interviewee who “doesn’t know what to say.” I make sure they understand it’s part of my job as the video producer to ask questions and get them talking. I tell them things like, “I’m not quizzing you on anything. I’m just asking questions about the things you deal with everyday at your job.” Also, “This isn’t live TV. We’re going to be editing this video and we’re only going to use short sound bites that make you and the company look good.”
  • for the person who doesn’t think they look good. The first thing I say (with good eye contact and a big smile) is “You are far too beautiful/handsome to be afraid of a camera.” Don’t laugh. Most people love it… even when they know you’re feeding them a line. After that, I immediately explain to them that we wouldn’t be putting them on-camera if we thought they looked bad. Also, I usually remind them that we’re all our own worst critics and that, “If you look bad in the video, that means the video we’re producing turns out looking bad… and I’m not about to let that happen!”

Finally, one of the keys to all of this is your demeanor. If you show sincere confidence in them, they pick up on it. They respond to it.

It can be difficult sometimes, but I’ve often found the people who put up a fight… end up being the best person in the video. They’re worth the effort!

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

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Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich)
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As a shy person, I agree you’re very good at making people comfortable in front of the camera. The other thing I would add is practice. Practice with your laptop’s camera. Practice with your phone. Practice, practice, practice.

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Caryl Anne
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These are great tips! I believe these advice tips could make anybody comfortable in front of the camera. I also agree that the energy you release will be picked up on. Thanks for sharing!