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DIY Projects, My Feral Cat and the Benefits of Recording through Fumbles

I’m an avid DIYer. In the beginning, I’d try to perfect every aspect of a DIY project, turning simple into complex. For instance, I set out to make a birdhouse and ended up making the equivalent of a deluxe bird mansion.

Jest aside, as I gained experience with all these projects I came to the realization that investing more time doesn’t always improve the result.

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Perils of Perfection

The same is true for personalized video—when that red recording light comes on, I find myself reaching for perfection. For example, when I fumble a word or a co-worker distracts me, I scrub that take and re-record. Everything. Must. Be. Perfect.

This hasn't been a challenge in the past because I’ve only been making a couple of videos at a time. However, it became a challenge recently under some special circumstances...

Leading up to our 10th anniversary since inception workshop1, I was recording an average of twenty videos per day. I was sending them as video email follow-ups to thank people for registering for the event. I didn't get to everyone, there were too many, but I did send almost one hundred video messages. The constant re-recording of messages was becoming a major time and energy drain.

Feral Cat Cameo

During this process (much to my surprise) I realized these fumbles and distractions I was viewing as “mistakes” had big benefits. Let me explain.

For example, we “adopted” a feral cat. Every now and then she roams inside, but we don’t encourage it because I’m quite allergic to cats. As Murphy’s Law would have it, the cat decided to make a cameo appearance in a video I was sending to a new lead. A flush face and couple of sneezes later, I was left with a choice to (a) scrub the take or (b) run with it.

I was tired, it was nearing the end of the day, so I decided to run with it.

The next morning, you might be able to guess what happened—there in my inbox, waiting, was a reply from my lead...

...they were explaining how it was great to put a face to the name and how much they loved the video. Later that day, the cat cameo became an easy and amusing opener for our phone conversation as well!

Two Best Practices

This experience lead me to create two best practices that are fundamental to success (and your sanity), when it comes to creating personalized videos:

1) Record through Mistakes

In a face-to-face or phone conversation, who doesn’t trip over a word here or there! So when I record a video, I’ve trained myself not let a small mistake become an excuse to stop and do another take, or worse, to not send a video at all. Instead, I chuckle, correct myself, and continue.

2) Record through Distractions

Phones ringing, dogs barking, card horns beeping, co-workers being noisy in the background... Distractions are unavoidable, and as they say, “The show must go on!” I’ve learned to embrace (most) distractions, recomposing myself while the camera is rolling—sometimes even incorporating them into my message.

Habit/Benefit Flow

So, if you fumble, don’t stop; and if you get distracted, keep going!

Summary

Personalized video is equivalent to a regular email; professional video is equivalent to a technical white paper. Each medium has a different purpose and expectations associated with it.

Personalized video isn’t supposed to be perfect. In fact, this aspiration is counter-productive on two fronts: you end up wasting precious time and missing great opportunities to create a connection with your clients.

Enjoy the big benefits of being able to record videos faster while adding that all-important ingredient: authenticity.

“Achoo...”

Wholeheartedly immerse yourself in this process, and the results will come.

What fumble or distractions have your recorded through? How did your lead (or client) respond after watching the video?

Footnotes

  1. November, 2016 we held a workshop to celebrate our 10th anniversary since inception. We also made a summary post about the event, Personalized Video: A Sales Revolution.

About the Author Reed LaFerriere

Reed is the Champion of Client Success. He has diverse skills set spanning sales, marketing and finance. Reed's a go-getter in every sense of the word who motivates and inspires, but he's not afraid to hold people accountable to help them get results. When he's not working, Reed can be found in his shop tinkering and tweaking with everything from computers to his motorcycles and race car.

  • Matt says:

    I was doing a video for an executive team of the biggest company in my industry, explaining my perspective on a very valuable subject matter…when my mother called. Literally, my cell phone rang (forgot to put it on vibrate) and I could see on the screen “MOM.” Instead of stopping the video, I figured I’d just answer it really quick, tell her I was doing a presentation for a massive company, and that I’d call back later. It ended up being a memorable and endearing element of my video that earned me top scores from the executives. In fact, because the subject of the presentation was independent vacation rental owners, it also kinda hammered home a point: we are weird and tend to do things a little differently 🙂

    • Reed says:

      Quick thinking, Matt. I’m curious to hear if you had a moment of doubt before deciding to answer the phone, or if it was something you had practiced in the past.

      What’s interesting is that when you’re on a live call and an interruption like that occurs, there’s no re-record button. Your reaction at that moment is an indication of your character (and values). My mom likely read my post and your comment, so I best pick up the phone the next time she calls lest she disown me for you 🙂

  • Jim Broline says:

    Following on Matt’s shared experience, I concur that un-expected events can endear a presenter to the audience. The audience noticed how Matt reacted to the unexpected. Matt’s luck was that it was his MOM who called and most relate positively to MOM.
    I suggest that it could have been anyone, even an annoying telemarketer, who called and the audience notes Matt’s response. Is he considerate or rude?

    It is not the event. It is the response that matters.

    When You love your Audience and accept Them as Friends, they see You and Friend and Your faults endear them.

    Audiences notice how you react. Suppose Matt had left out his brief explanation to MOM of why he could not talk. It may have been seen as discourteous to MOM. Suppose instead Matt had said, “Mom, I’ll call you back.” CLICK.
    As audience, how would you feel about Matt? – Not so good.
    Matt loves his MOM and the audience witnessed it.

    Example. A couple years ago I was invited to a private luncheon to meet and greet an Illinois gubernatorial candidate (a high elected official) at a popular restaurant. In the midst of the popular candidate’s 20 minutes speech, a waiter rushed behind the candidate to finish his waiter job. It was distracting and a bit noisy. The candidate turned to the waiter and demanded he go away until he finished his message to these good people who came to hear him.
    I do not know what the other 59 people thought but I was horrified that the “bleep” of a candidate did not care one iota about the waiter’s problem. I decided in an instant that the candidate had a bad heart and I could not support him.

    By the way, the candidate’s campaign died and he was later charged with money fraud and sexual harassment. The Chicago media (They are corrupt you know.) quickly hid him and he disappeared.

    A 3rd example, I lector in my church. It is the responsibility of a first lector to set the page for a 2nd lector. Once when I started reading the wrong page which the 1st lector turned wrongly, I simply said, “Oh, I should read a different passage today…” There were 400 or 500 in attendance. I knew the ones who were watching just smiled.

    Oh by way, I am a dog person but I appreciate anyone who loves animals of any type.

    • Reed says:

      Yes, exactly. “It’s the response that matters,” your response to reading the wrong page in Church being the quintessential example of going with the flow, the candidate’s response be the opposite. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  • Mark says:

    Good comments -all, Reed. Thanks! Suggestion: You might want to consider using the video aspect of JiveSYSTEMS when you communicate. Subconsciously it shows you are a product of the product most especially since you are on the inside and part of the jiveSYSTEMS team. Just a thought so please don’t take it as a criticism but rather as a suggestion only.

    • Reed says:

      Since this was my first post, we opted to break the ice by telling a story. Rest assured, many of my future posts will include a video.

  • Lance Leonard says:

    Hi Reed,

    I almost feel that we have actually met already face to face . Just goes to show the potential power video emails have. Will rates you. It is a relief to me that he has found the precise backup he has been searching for. The time has long past since he could put everything together himself with me as a cheer leader on another continent. I think the approach William has developed shows real empathy and recognises what potential clients really want to hear to use Jive.

    Nice to talk to you at this consummate time.

    • Reed says:

      Lance,

      Over the past week, I’ve re-read your comment multiple times. However, we’ve been so busy, I must apologize that I’m only finding time to write a reply now. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

      The personal approach to video Will has developed is lacking in the business world. The fact they can use a webcam as opposed to a DSLR camera makes video accessible. Being able to produce business professional video in less than five minutes opens a lot of doors for people.

    • Reed says:

      Lance,

      Over the past week, I’ve re-read your comment multiple times. However, we’ve been so busy, I must apologize that I’m only finding time to write a reply now. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

      The personal approach to video Will has developed is lacking in the business world. The fact they can use a webcam as opposed to a DSLR camera makes video accessible. Being able to produce business professional video in less than five minutes opens a lot of doors for people.

    • Reed LaFerriere says:

      Lance,

      Over the past week, I’ve re-read your comment multiple times. However, we’ve been so busy, I must apologize that I’m only finding time to write a reply now. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

      The personal approach to video Will has developed is lacking in the business world. The fact they can use a webcam as opposed to a DSLR camera makes video accessible. Being able to produce business professional video in less than five minutes opens a lot of doors for people.

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