As seen on CUES Inside Marketing.
We all know a camera stuffed into a mobile phone changed everything. Now we are all reporters clad with megapixel lenses in our pockets, showing everything from funny baby pictures, tasty meals, and crazy cat videos, to live product demos, behind-the-scenes tours, and, yes, our selfies. It’s this instant gratification of the photos or videos from our smartphone or tablet that allows our story to be told now – not waiting for next week’s issue, the 5 o’clock news, or that Feb. 21-23 conference. They’re told right now.
In addition, new real-time video apps like Periscope, Meerkat, and Blab – not to mention the stalwarts Skype and Hangouts, are progressive channels to deliver your message and receive instant, immediate feedback from your audience. What’s happening today with the camera is unprecedented – which means getting in front of the camera has never been more vital to the enhanced exposure of your organization.
Nothing brings out the true personality of you and your company like being on video. Again, these new online apps make it easier than ever to deliver your message and receive vital feedback from your audience. All you have to do is douse your fear of the camera and embrace the lens as one of your prime communication channels.
Since this story is published by CUES, let’s take the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec challenge the organization hosts each year. Each of the contestants must produce videos as part of their entries to eventually win. Do you think any of them were nervous making these videos? Of course.
But these contestants are part of a generation that grew up with camera-clad smartphones. At an early age, they were already taking hundreds (perhaps thousands) of photos and videos of themselves and their friends doing whatever they could to get attention. So they’re a bit more accustomed to being in front of the camera, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be (pardon the double negative).
Last year’s winner, Alex Castley, engagement & communications manager at Integris Credit Union in Prince George, British Columbia, used video as part of his platform. Castley’s blog and video updates during the competition provided the industry with an insight into his project’s progress. It culminated with his final –and winning–presentation, which included video, at CUES’ 2014 CEO/Executive Team Network™.
My point here is that this Millennial-driven contest shows the importance of video today. It’s a vital part of this competition because of the presence, delivery, and message each one of them must have on camera. And it’s simply ingrained in this younger generation. So think about this factoid the next time you want to do something that attracts Millennials to your credit union: Use video.
On CUbroadcast, I interview hundreds of people a year via Skype video – and sometimes in person if I’m attending conferences. Inevitably, I hear the “I don’t like to be on camera” comment. It’s understandable for people who don’t do this all the time. But these times are a changin’.
Video is attractive. That’s why YouTube is the monster that it is. That’s why you see a GoPro camera mounted on anything from a surfboard to a cliff jumper to a sea turtle. We enjoy watching just about anything because it’s action, it’s personality, it’s different, it’s funny, it’s scary, it’s amazing. Video literally makes us stop in our tracks.
And the immediacy in which it can be delivered with today’s technology only amplifies its impact.
So if you really want to connect with your audience, in this case your credit union members, get past your fear and get in front of the camera.
How Do I Get Over My Fear, You Ask?
Get in front of it and practice, practice, practice. It’s just like anything you want to do better: public speaking, golf, ballroom dancing, math, cooking, painting, etc. The more you do, the better you get. So you have to practice and put the time in to get comfortable with it. Very few of us were born with the chops to create a perfect crème brulee the first time or nail that double backflip with one-and-a-half twists the first time on a diving board.
It’s the same with being on camera. Just start to practice delivering messages, talking about your credit union, describing its products and services, sharing member testimonials, reporting financially related news, etc. Then watch your recording and see where you can improve. Believe me, the first few times you see yourself it’s really weird. But that goes away.
Perhaps you could even hire a freelance videographer/director who can help guide you with perfecting your on-camera presence and performance. Again, it will be nerve wracking at first. But a good coach will tell you to speak with energy, be passionate, keep your message short, have voice inflection, use your hands, speak with a smile, etc. At the very least, just get some outside feedback from a peer, friend, or family member. (Note to self: Get the ones who don’t have a problem being brutally honest.)
Here’s another tip: Watch seasoned speakers and presenters and copy what they do. Take some of their good traits and adopt them as your own. Take golf for instance, one of the world’s most frustrating games. To improve, nearly every golf pro will show you somebody who has a technically sound swing. Take a mental picture and emulate it. Have that swing in your mind as you are practicing. In other words, have a purpose for practicing. Be intentional here; it’s important.
After a month or so of practicing and recording and refining, it’s time to go live. Just do it. The first few episodes will be far from perfect. In fact, it will never be perfect. But with each production, you will get better and more comfortable, and your personality will shine.
Believe me, the first few episodes of CUbroadcast were atrocious. But oddly, at the time, I thought they were pretty good. Now, at more than 450 episodes in, I feel pretty good in front of the camera. But there are still a ton of tweaks to make to keep improving because I know how important video is in today’s culture.
So now’s the time to deep six that fear. Get in front of it consistently to vastly improve that connection you have with your audience. Not only will your members appreciate it and probably share with their network, you will become more confident in your message delivery as well. It’s all genuine and people love that.
Because of video’s magnetism, prevalence, and immediacy today, it’s really a small investment that could have large returns for you and your credit union – and ultimately your members. Time to get past your fear and get in front of that camera.
What are you doing in front of the camera to get your message seen?
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.