Advisor: “My firm is allowing us to do video but we have to use a pre-approved script.”
Me: “That’s awesome!”
Advisor: “But I don’t want to look like I’m reading.”
Me: “Then don’t. Learn how to deliver a script naturally.”
[queue record scratch]
The truth is, most compliance departments require a pre-approved script (or at least a bulleted outline). Instead of feeling like your firm is limiting you, be excited that you can leverage one of the most powerful mediums on the planet. Your focus should be mastering the art of delivering a script on camera.
Here are a few of my favorite tips:
1. Modify your script to be more in line with how you speak. Often, what reads well on paper, doesn’t always translate on film. Here’s an example of how you might simplify a script:
Script: “We strategically invest with a strong emphasis on the long-term horizon.”
Simplified: “We invest with a focus on the long-term.”
Not only will your message be clearer, but you’ll also have a much easier time delivering it. Don’t be afraid to use contractions or incomplete sentences.
2. If you have a video editor, use the “block method.” This involves breaking up your script into “blocks” containing 2-3 sentences each. By memorizing and presenting one “block” at a time, you can stick to a script without the need to read from a teleprompter. Your editor can then select your best takes and remove all dead space. This allows for a more natural delivery while keeping your compliance department happy. Not to mention, it’s much easier on the presenter.
3. Look at the camera lens, most of the time. When speaking, look directly into the camera lens to create a connection. That said, it’s totally okay to glance away now and then. Think about it – in real life, you wouldn’t stare nonstop into someone’s eyes, right? So, don’t do that when recording. Your goal is to create an illusion of natural eye contact.
4. When using a teleprompter, backup and control your speed. The closer you are to the camera the more noticeable it is that you are reading from a teleprompter. To avoid this, back up a little bit. Also, be sure to adjust the speed of your teleprompter. Find the right pace by practicing your script out loud and determining what feels high-energy, but not rushed.
6. Embrace pauses. Use pauses to allow the audience time to digest information and emphasize important points. You can even incorporate this into your teleprompter by adding extra spacing or a note to “pause.”
7. Use facial expressions and body language to show emotion. No one is interested in watching a monotone, Ben Stein-like video. Bring your video to life by showing emotion. This is particularly challenging for those using a teleprompter. Presenters often concentrate more on reading the script than conveying the intended message.
8. Practice: Practice your presentation beforehand so you can deliver it smoothly and confidently. This will help you come across as more human and relatable.
Delivering a pre-approved script on video like a pro is totally achievable. With these techniques under your belt, you’ll be able to create engaging, authentic, and compliant videos that’ll help you connect with your audience and grow your practice.