Real Speakers Need Real Reels

There are hundreds of thousands of professionals who speak in front of audiences every day all over the world on such a vast variety of topics, that it’s practically inconceivable. They are invited to speak because they are well educated, experienced, the best at what they do, or they have had a unique or traumatic experience to share with their audience. They are be brought in to teach, inspire, or entertain.

Of the top speakers out there– the ones who are hired for high profile events, travel all over the world, and make good money, you’d be hard pressed to find one who doesn’t have a killer demo reel.

Sure, it’s easy for them to produce a great demo reel, because these high profile events are often professionally shot, so it’s just a matter of accessing the footage. But for the thousands of speakers out there who are great at what they do, and are interested in bigger and better opportunities, it’s vital that the people who are looking for you can find you, and that you’re showing them what they want to see!

A great website and social media network is important, but equally as (or even more) important is video content. Professionally produced video is the best option, but even a flip-cam or consumer HD cam can help to document presentations. If I’m running a high profile panel discussion on [you name the topic], and I’m looking for qualified presenters, there are a few things that I want to see:

• I want to see what you look like and sound like on stage.
• I want to get a feel for your experience and your unique angle on your topic.
• I want to see how you engage your audience. Are you making them laugh when you say something funny? Do they gasp when you reveal a surprising fact? (Are they falling asleep?)
• I want to see you in some different venues. Is your presentation adaptable to larger auditoriums, theatres, or smaller conference rooms? Have you been on TV? Show me some variety.

A handful of quality audience testimonials can also add another element of credibility to your demo reel. If you’re there to educate, to inspire, to motivate, to entertain, let’s hear from your audience that you did what you came to do. A few passionate testimonials can be an incredibly effective way to supplement your demo material. And of course, from an editing standpoint, it’s always important to tie the entire segment together with branded graphics, music, and supporting text where it’s appropriate. Whether you hire the same production company to cover several of your events, or you have a variety of clips of varying quality, there are a number of great ways to tie it all together into a nice, tight package that will sell your service and earn you gigs.

Here are a few great examples from speakers who are probably making a pretty darn good living, judging by the hits they are getting on their demo reels. Note: Anchor Line did not produce the video segments below.

Jeff Yalden has a great demo. Not a lot of variety in terms of venues, but his message and style are made clear immediately, and he’s got really great supporting b-roll footage and convincing testimonials.

Margie Warrell kicks it off with a clip of herself on TODAY. Great move! Instant credibility. But then she goes on to show herself presenting in a variety of rooms, a handful of compelling testimonials, and I think it’s particularly cool that she markets herself as a “Media Guest.”

Connie Podesta focuses a bit more on her message and this one may drag a bit, but the intro voice over is unique, the audience reaction shots are a nice touch, and the big round of applause at the end builds credibility, too.

We’re always happy to discuss ideas about what makes a successful speaker demo reel. Comment below or contact us today!