talking heads - do videos need to be more?

posted by Rob Stewart Aug 12, 2016

When asked to create videos for use within a business, I’ve heard a number of comments along the lines of - “I don’t just want it to be talking heads”.

What people mean is that they don’t want only people talking in their video, they want other stuff as well to make it more interesting.

I’m not discounting the idea that relevant supporting cutaway visuals, or diverse content, are good things, but is having just people talking in a video inherently boring?

How boring would it be, if all a video consisted of was one person talking with very little audio visual support for around 15 minutes? That would be dull, surely?

Maybe not.

The idea that a person talking = boring, doesn’t explain the popularity of TEDtalks as these generally consist of just one person presenting on stage, and reach pretty big audiences.

Sir Ken Robinson’s “Do schools kill creativity?” has had 35 million views, and their top ten talks to date all have over 12 million views each, with only one under 15 minutes.

These talks find their audience, and people are motivated to watch these in their own time. Maybe some are not too surprising in their popularity given the content.

Chris Hadfield’s “What I learned from going blind in space”, gives a fascinating perspective on coping with dramatic situations. Maybe it is the presenter? Malcolm Gladwell, the writer of Tipping Point and Blink, presents fairly individual treatments and alternative views on a bombsite, David & Goliath, and spaghetti sauce.

That’s good for them, but what if you think you are not blessed by an engaging topic, or being a naturally engaging speaker?

I’d suggest that some of what is understood as the TED talkers having interesting topics and being naturally engaging speakers, is actually structure.

With the right structure, you will find your content and delivery will become more engaging. You don’t need to be an astronaut that performs Bowie songs to make your communication engaging… although of course it does help.

There is a lot of material available on how to structure a short communication, but first I’d suggest you go to TEDtalks and choose some that interest you and see what works.

They have what all stories have: Beginning; Middle; End.