by Michael Humphrey

I like to record my favorite TV series on my DVR.  If you are anything like me, you fast-forward through the commercials, which just get in the way of my program.

Most people involved with selecting keynote speakers feel the same way when watching speaker videos. They are view speaker video after speaker video and will fast forward through anything that feels like a commercial. For the most part, they only care about seeing the speaker in action.

So why do so many speakers over-produce their videos? This concept, known as the “sizzle reel”, is used to manufacture excitement by using narration and fast-paced editing of “selling” segments (including clips of TV interviews, book promotion, etc.) interspersed with short speech soundbites. Most of the buyers I have talked to are tired of these infomercials and believe that they are often a waste of time.

Let’s change this. Let’s create the videos that buyers want to see.

Better Video Will Move You Ahead -

After studying thousands of speaker videos and talking with hundreds of buyers, I have created my tips for creating promotional videos that are more effective and will boost your chance of being booked for speeches:


VIDEO: Record in 4k which allows for much better editing flexibility Such as cropping, zooming, Panning, and more. Use two cameras if possible. The second angle can greatly enhance your video during editing.

AUDIO: Use a lavaliere microphone:  Sound quality is as important as the video quality, so use a lavaliere mic that is connected to the camera. Capture audience sound…if you tell a joke, make sure we hear them laugh; if they applaud, we need to hear them clap.

STAGING: Talk with the event organizer to make the background look attractive for both the audience and your recording. Use good lighting whenever possible.


FOCUS ON STORIES: Stories capture our attention and can create an emotional connection to the video viewer, so use that to your advantage.

USE LONGER CLIPS:  Pick one or two clips that are 4-6 minutes long and show both your skills as a speaker and the strength of your content. It is okay to edit out any mistakes or brief side comments. And I beg you…please stop with the 30 second soundbites.

SHOW SLIDES:  Don’t assume that people can see your visuals in the background. If you use slides, film clips, animation, etc., then show it buyers who watch your video.

LIMIT THE OTHER STUFF: Many buyers will not appreciate the barrage of credentials, testimonials, speech topics, interview clips, etc.  After all, much of this is already in your bio material. Focus on the speech.

LENGTH MATTERS: Make the length as long as you need…and not a second longer. Keep in mind that a buyer is watching just enough to determine if you should be considered or not.  Make it worth their while.

If you ever have any questions about making your next promotional video, please feel free to contact me at

Mike Humphrey - www.visualbreakthroughs.comAbout the Author:  Michael Humphrey is the Founder of Visual Breakthroughs, providing video production, graphic design, and digital marketing services to keynote speakers. For more than thirty years he has managed and coached world-renown keynote speakers, and is an elected official in New Jersey. Mike provides candidates with personalized training in speech communications, platform development, digital campaigning, marketing, and campaign strategy, and has worked with numerous campaigns ranging from state races to municipal elections. Learn more at