How to Use Video in a Presentation

Want to add video to a presentation but not sure the best way to incorporate it? The Public Speaker has 6 expert tips to make video work for you.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #166

As you probably know, online video has become quite a hot medium. People are creating and consuming video at an ever-increasing rate. It’s no surprise that people are also clamoring to incorporate video into their professional presentations. In fact, I’ve noticed a crop of how-to information articles that explains the technical aspects of embedding video into a presentation. Of course that’s helpful information, however, what seems to be missing are tips to on how to effectively use video to enhance a presentation. That is, how do you use video to make a presentation more engaging and interactive (without turning the speaker into a movie projectionist).>

I am big proponent of the “show, don’t tell” school of presentations. This means that my presentations are full of rich images and, when it makes sense, I also like to incorporate video clips to make my presentations even more compelling. Strong, high-impact, high-energy video can be entertaining and engaging.  

And although video can enhance a presentation, I want to be clear, I am not suggesting using video just for the sake of using video.  In presentations, it’s important to follow a few simple rules, otherwise you run the risk of letting the video steal your show.

Tip #1: You’re the Star (Not the Video)

Don’t let the video become the star of the show, otherwise your audience will not be able to connect with you as the speaker and they will not be as open to your content.

How to avoid this? When making a live presentation, remember that video should never deliver your primary message. That important job is always left to you, as the speaker. Video should be viewed as just another option to provide support and strengthen the main points you are making. 

What Not to Do

For example, I once saw a presentation go horribly wrong when a sales professional introduced himself and then proceeded to put on a 15 minute video introducing his company and his products. It was as if the presenter wasn’t even there! By doing this, he lost his opportunity to position himself as a credible expert. He also missed the mark by not customizing the presentation for that particular audience. Instead, he could have accomplished all of his goals by only using short 30-second video clips that helped support what he was saying. For instance, he could have excerpted appropriate customer testimonials or showed brief product demonstrations. 

The main point I am making is that you should only use video when it is the best choice of support your point. That is, choose video when it adds extra value that cannot be achieved without using video.  

Tip #2: Use Video Customer Testimonials

As I mentioned earlier, in a sales presentation, customer testimonial videos can be a powerful tool. By showing real customers (better yet, real customers that your prospect knows) talking about how your product or service solved a problem for them, gives you a much higher level of credibility than simply talking about the customer story yourself.  Of course, a live testimonial during a presentation is strongest, but from a practical standpoint, a video of a live testimonial can be used over and over again. 

For example, when I deliver webinars on public speaking for scientists, I often show a video clip of scientists talking about some specific issues they were facing and then tell a story about their success after coaching. By using video testimonials that closely match the audience, I am increasing the persuasive power of the presentation.


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.