So here is the problem. You know that you have a good product or service. And you know that people, companies or organisations that use your product or service get great benefit out of doing so. These things you know. The problem is how do you first get people’s attention and then, once you have it, how do you retain it for long enough to get your message across?

Is it a tiger approaching?

When you first approach a prospective client, you have can hope to have between 8-12 seconds to get their attention. That is people’s short term attention span. It is evolutionary. It is the fight or flight instinct. Is this something I have to deal with now? Is it a tiger coming out of the jungle to eat me? Is it my boss coming round the corner demanding to know why I haven’t finished the Incredibly Important report yet?

At this point it is not so much about what you say as how you say it. Engage the senses. Colour. Movement. Sound. We are instinctively programmed to respond to that. And that invariably means some sort of dynamic visual or video is going to be the most effective.

And you can see it in the stats. Of nearly one billion outbound emails sent through GetResponse in July 2012, those containing video showed a staggering 96.4% better click through rate than those with text only. And when it comes to internet searches, video search results have a 41% higher click-through than plain text results (Source: aimClear).

You have their attention, what are you going to do with it?

Okay, so now you have your prospects attention. They will give you maybe a minute. Two if you are really lucky. They are now using their rational, analytical mind and looking for a reason why they should investigate further or, more likely, not.

So what do we do now? Reel off as many features as we can and hope that something sticks. No. Tell them that we are going to save them money or make them millions or both? Well, I suspect they have heard that before. Demonstrate that you understand their problem – or more likely one particular problem – with which you are in a position to help? Now, we are getting there.

“One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words…”

But that is a lot of information to try and convey in just one minute. How are you going to be able to do that? I’m going back to video again, and for good reason.

Dr James McQuivey of Forrester Research says that one minute of video is worth 1.8million words. Now, 1.8 million words may be a bit too many – after all that’s over 18 business books of information – but intuitively we do feel that video conveys information in a time-efficient, emotive, and memorable manner. This idea that video conveys lots of information compared to text is one backed up by Mike Parkinson at Billion Dollar Graphics in a fascinating article that includes the assertion that visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text (source: The Power of Visual Communication).

I am not as clever as these guys and don’t understand all the science behind that, but here is one example that convinces me. Imagine you have never seen a circle before. You have no idea what it is. How quickly do you grasp the concept if I show you this?

CircleNow let me try to convey the same information in words:  “a continuous curved line with every point on it equal distance from the centre.” That took a lot longer and probably still doesn’t help.

That is just one small fraction of what I could convey in one whole minute of video. And if you add audio to the visual, you increase the effectiveness of your communication multi-fold. The Weiss-McGrath Report (McGraw-Hill, 1992) demonstrated that, after 72 hours, people retain 10% of what they experience as audio only, 20% of visual only and 65% of audio-visual – or video.

Accessible video production

Well, it convinces me. Maybe it convinces you but you are thinking “great, but video production is beyond our budget”. Maybe true if you are thinking George Lucas but modern technology platforms can put production of good quality video into the hands of virtually anyone. Remember the video at the top of the post? I put that together in maybe an hour to hour ‘n’ a half using PowerPoint and Brainshark

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Karl Parry

Operations manager

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From liaising with our high profile guest speakers to producing effective presentations for the whole day, BrightCarbon's input ensured the smooth running of this high profile event.

David Gillan Manchester Insurance Institute