How to Use Video and Sound to Support Your Message

The use of video and sound in a presentation is a smart way to connect more deeply with your audience. The Public Speaker explains how and when to use these tools most effectively.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #221

I’m seeing more and more people use audio and video in an attempt to enhance their presentations.  While I agree that video or audio can strengthen a presentation, I believe the phrase “everything in moderation” needs to be applied.

Today we’re going to talk about how to use audio and video clips to support your message without letting them take over the presentation entirely.>

Audio and video clips are a great way to provide support for your points.  I find them most useful when I want to engage the audience in a discussion.  In addition, well-produced video can help you emotionally connect with your audience in a way that words just can’t.

In addition, audio and video clips are good for both  the audience as well as the speaker. The audience gets a break from the presenter and the speaker gets a chance to look over their notes and prepare for the next section.

However, audio and video can also ruin your presentation!  If overused, or used without proper preparation, they can be a major distraction to the flow and energy.  

Video Gone Awry

A friend of mine was invited to hear a presentation last week. The point of the talk was to introduce products in a new cosmetic line. When she arrived, she found self-serve tea in paper cups, folding chairs to sit on, and a video playing on an old TV with poor sound and worse picture quality. She assumed they would stop the video and start the real presentation, but 25 minutes in, they were still showing video clips! My friend finally got up and left (and she wasn’t the only one).

Video and sound can really add value, but you’ve got to use them as a form of support. The video supports what you are presenting.  The video should never be the presentation.

The video supports what you are presenting.  The video should never be the presentation.

How to Use Audio and Video

Very short video and audio clips can support a presentation talk in a variety of ways:

  1. To introduce your topic.
  2. To encourage discussion and engagement. (Click to tweet.)
  3. To expose your audience to something they’re unfamiliar with (and can’t imagine with words only).
  4. To show real life examples of your topic.
  5. To give a demonstration that wouldn’t be possible to deliver live.
  6. When a VIP can’t attend in person but wants to participate.
  7. To feature the voice of an expert.
  8. To conclude your topic and start a discussion.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.