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Making a Motivational Speaker Showreel

Whilst Motivational Speaker is a generic term, and today’s Professional Speaker is more likely to be informational than motivational, this is the term that Conference Organizers are most likely to search for. And once a conference organizer has found you, they are going to ‘shortlist’ or reject you in a matter of minutes based on your profile and most importantly your showreel  or demo video.

Making a speaker showreel is an art as much as a science, and you are unlikely to be happy with your first, or twenty-first attempt; but let me share some things to consider, to shorten your learning curve.

1. Great Clips

Video everything! You can’t make a great showreel without clips of you speaking to a variety of audiences, the bigger the better. And make sure your video is great quality, and include shots of you with the audience. You speaking, in your lounge room to two friends will not impress, you speaking on a professionally lit stage to 600+ excited attendees will.

2. Show energy

Regardless of how insightful or transformational your content is, a conference organizer care that you keep their audience awake and engaged. In short, no energy, no learning, so pick sections of your speech that show your energy and passion for your topic. By all means, include some reflective or thought-provoking material, but energy is the key.

3. Tell them what problem you solve

Before you launch into how amazing you are, include some mention to what problem you solve for the conference organizer. Busy conference organizers must balance a program, budget and multiple stakeholders. They may or may not be looking for you or your particular topic, but they are definitely not looking for someone difficult to deal with, who will not make them ‘look good’ to their vested interests.

4. Establish your credibility

Speaking is not a special talent; most people can speak by the time they are 2-years old! Speaking from a platform on a topic that you have experienced or researched, that will move or mindset shift an audience – now that’s a skill. You are an expert in your field first, and a speaker second, so let your showreel establish your credibility, gravitas and substantive-ness.

5. Include Testimonials

An excellent way to add credibility is to include third party testimonials from credible sources. Whether you do this by text overly on or by including video of happy clients, be sure to let the conference organizer imagine getting the same kind of feedback from your speech, at their conference.

6. Keep it Short

Time is money and first impressions count. Keep these two statements in mind as you put your showreel together. That 7-minute inspirational story, you tell from stage, is going to take up your entire video, and some. Now there’s no absolute law about how long a showreel should be; when I started in the business (19-years ago), I would have said 10-20 minutes, but with attention spans decreasing I would say much shorter. I have included a 4-minute one below, as an example, and even that might be too long! I have been on speaker selection panels and ‘swiped left’ after only 2-minutes.

7. Get Help

You can outsource the whole thing to a professional video editing company; I know speakers who have paid 5-20 thousand dollars for their showreel. But if you are starting out, and don’t have great footage, or a large budget, this is not an option. You can put a passable video together, at home, on your laptop, with software like iMovie or Camtasia. If you have teenage kids, get them to show you how. Once you have your first draft, professional or homemade, then get help and feedback from colleagues and clients to see what their responses are. Then go back and re-edit, incorporating the feedback that makes sense to your vision.
Check out this example that I put together in just 5 hours.

Now, I will be the first to admit, that you can tell that it’s ‘homemade’, and it’s not perfect, but it does the job, and I needed a new video for my relaunched website Things I learned when putting this together are:

  1. I wish I’d kept all my video clips in one directory on my PC, over the years, for easy finding.
  2. It’s worth creating a story-board (I used PowerPoint) to get your ideas and the flow down, BEFORE, you start dropping clips on a video editor timeline
  3. Upload it as ‘unlisted’ to YouTube and share the link with friends, BEFORE you go live, because if you upload a new, adjusted, version it will have a new URL and you will have to do your linking all over again.

I hope this article helps you to get your Motivational Speaker Showreel together and get more paid speaking engagements – Best of Luck!

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