Making videos: how to remember what to say?

Since I started three years ago, I’ve now made 400 videos that share my thoughts about authentic business, honest marketing, joyful productivity.

A viewer asked me how I can remember what I want to say on video?

Here are a few tips that I hope will inspire you to action:

For me, it’s to convey emotion and presence.

You might notice in my videos that I often say something like “I’ll have more thoughts for you in the notes attached to this video.” This takes a lot of pressure off of the video itself. I can just say what comes to mind, especially what is easier to express with heart on video rather than in writing

The written medium, on the other hand, is much better for conveying more exact, accurate ideas.

So I don’t worry about getting the ideas “right” in my videos. I allow my blog posts to convey precision and completeness.

In my videos, I focus on simply conveying my emotion and presence.

I go into the video thinking about just one idea I want to be sure to say in the video, and focused on saying it with my authentic heart, and to describe my thoughts about that one idea.

I used to try to remember 3–5 ideas per video, but I found it not as authentic as I’d like to be, to be trying to memorize, rather than explore on camera.

My videos are usually about 3–5 minutes.

In that short span, I really just have time to talk about the one idea and any relevant thoughts that happen to appear.

It would be fine to make shorter videos, even under 1 minute if you’d like (in fact, then it can be posted to Instagram.)

If you keep to the rule of talking about just 1 idea, you don’t have to worry about how short or long it is. Just be authentic.

(On the other hand, for my 90 minute workshops, you’ll see me referring to my notes throughout the whole video.)

If I’m talking about something I know very little about, I’ll be nervous.

However, if I’m simply sharing my story, or the thoughts I’ve been thinking for awhile, then I’m just being real with you.

Talk about what is true for you, what you’ve been thinking about for awhile or what you genuinely/passionately feel, and you’ll have an easier time just talking, without having to try to “remember” things to say.

For each video I allow myself up to 3 takes.

By the third take I’ve essentially practiced saying it a few times, so it tends to come out more smoothly.

None of my videos had any editing, other than changing the stability & contrast with Youtube’s free enhancement tools.

In other words, I didn’t record a long video and cut it down to just the parts without error. I kept in all my stumbles, pauses, restatements. My audience doesn’t seem to mind.

A “secret” I’ve discovered — the more relevant my thoughts are to my audience, the less they mind any stumbles or errors.

A bold way to practice “keeping the errors in” is by doing live videos: Facebook Live or Youtube Camera.

I take the pressure off of any one video by remembering that it’s just one of many, many videos I’ll be able to make in my lifetime.

No single video is that important. Or at least, I’m not the one to judge my content: that’s my audience’s job.

Read more about this principle:

That would be too much work for me to sustain my rhythm of making videos — I need it to be more casual.

Also, it takes a lot of practice to make it look like you’re not using a teleprompter (otherwise the audience can see your eyeballs moving in a rhythmic way, obviously reading across the screen.)

Also, a teleprompter gives you the pressure of having to say things in one specific way, and it can easily come across like you’re just acting, rather than authentically sharing your truth.

Audiences are used to seeing speakers occasionally glance down at notes. So if you really have a lot to say that you want to “get right” (beware of your perfectionism!) then try using notes.

Have a few bullet points written down on your phone’s notes app, or on small pieces of paper, and keeping your notes down in front of you, and simply show the audience that you are obviously gazing downward to your notes every now and then. It’s acceptable. Even professional speakers do that.

Content versus Marketing

To be clear, the above tips are only for content videos, which will build your authentic personal brand over time.

The above tips do not apply to recording the occasional marketing video e.g. website homepage video or an intro to a product/service/program/event.

Such marketing videos need to be much more polished. For those, I do practice and memorize what I want to say, and record as many takes as needed until I get it right. Of course, having many breaks during that process is helpful: frequent creative rest.

If you’ve been intrigued about making your own videos to build your personal brand and audience of true fans, I hope the above tips will get you into action!

Here’s an authentic video version of this blog post :)

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Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"