Having a professional speaker showreel is one of the fastest way to get booked as a paid speaker. However there’s a huge difference between simply having a showreel video and having one that will draw instant attention, get your foot in the door and bring you paid speaker engagements over and over again. I analysed more than 50 most popular speaker showreels on YouTube and here are 5 most important things I’ve learned. And I will start off with a warning …
1. Don’t “fake it till you make it”
You may think that having a popular showreel, with a lot of views, will give you instant credibility and will get you booked. Nothing is further from truth. Many videos I’ve seen, had a big disproportion between different important statistics, which immediately rang my bells.
As a matter of fact, it was obvious that the views, likes and often the coomments were simply bought and my interest in a certain speaker, immediately dropped. So never underestimate the experience and intelligence of event organisers or speaker bureaus representatives, cause you may never hear from them. A legit speaker showreel will get you much further.
2. Communicate professionalism and confidence
The main purpose of your showreel is to show you on stage, as an experienced and confident speaker. It’s not an ad, not a YouTube trailer … it’s a showreel. Unfortunately, in too many cases, I’ve seen a lot of fancy shots, different camera angles, cool transitions, but very little actual footage. So when crafting your speaker showreel, make sure to include different clips from at least different events/seminars or workshops.
Also, the quality of your video is very important, as it tells a lot about your standards Having high quality footage from your speeches is not always possible, but there are no excuses for not having quality titles, transitions and background music.
3. Always use testimonials & media mentions
Having testimonials about you is the fastest way to gain credibility. You can have them edited in as videos, or use them simply as text, but make sure to have at least a few of them, as long as they don’t distract from the message of the video.
Also, any kind of media references or clips from media interviews with you, will also take your showreel to the next level.
4. Don’t make it too long, or nobody will finish watching your small masterpiece
The next important point is making your video engaging and practical. And here you need to assume a very limited attention span of anyone who watches your showreel video. Analysing dozens of different videos, I consider anything between 1 and 3 minutes to be all right, with the sweet point at 90 seconds. As in any video, make sure to have a strong beginning, otherwise they may not even watch the rest of it.
5. Have a great call to action and get booked!
Last but not least, don’t assume that you will get booked simply because you’re awesome on stage or your video looks cool. Just like in every effective video, have a strong call to action and lead your leads to the next step. Make sure to include all the right contact details and links.
You may want to mention your social media links, but don’t distract them from what your showreel is made for – getting you booked as a paid speaker.
Make sure to show emotions and energy, as this is exactly what the event organizers and speaker agencies desire during their events. Include some b-roll clips of audience reacting to your speech – laughing, cheering, raising hands and applauding. If there’s a clip of you sharing a personal story, you may find it interesting to include a clip of the proper reaction. Don’t overdue it, but if you have this kind of footage, use it!
Avoid stock footage and make sure to have a permission to use the footage you’re including in your showreel. The last thing you want is your showreel to come across as not authentic, or be forced to take down and re-edit your video simply because you couldn’t use the footage in the first place. That goes for video testimonials and any media clips as well. Do it right and benefit for years!
If you want to see all the points that I’ve mentioned, here’s a video that I’ve produced for one of my clients: