Category Archives: Equipment

Three Ways to Use Video in Training

Everybody seems to be on the video bandwagon these days – or are they? While it is generally accepted that video is a great marketing tool, training professionals are reluctant to use self-produced video in informal or formal training situations. Maybe they think they aren’t photogenic or don’t really know if their video will work they way they want it to. Whatever the excuse, there are just as many reasons to use video for training – and not just in your LMS.

I started using screen-capture video several years ago to give real estate agents demonstrations of how to use various technology tools as a way to bridge the gap between in-person training and live webinars. Since then, my video repertoire has increased, and I use video in three distinct ways to enhance learning.

For technology training, screen-capture video is very helpful. I use Camtasia to record and produce my videos; however, there are other programs that you can use. If you have a Mac, you have built-in screen-capture video recording capability and iMovie to edit the video. Length of video depends, but generally I try to keep these to less than five minutes. It’s difficult to absorb complex actions in longer videos and be able to duplicate those actions if the video runs too long. I produce the video and add zoom in, callouts, and other animations to draw attention to important functions.

When I first started producing screen-capture videos, I scripted everything and tried to record them in one take. Sometimes I was successful, but often I had to rerecord multiple times to get it “just right.” I take a different approach now. Since I’m going to edit the video anyway, I simply pause, count out loud, and pick up where I need to. This makes it easy for me to cut the mistakes and find the correct spot to continue.

About a year and a half ago, I decided I needed to learn to make videos of myself talking. At first, I was apprehensive (who would want to look at me talking?), but I realized that this could be an effective way to communicate material to a wider audience than those who show up for live training. I happened to stumble upon a video challenge run by Niamh Arthur of Light It Up Marketing. I took the 30-day challenge, created 22 videos in 30 days and learned how to create my own videos using the equipment I already had: a smartphone, computer, and me.

Since that initial challenge (I did it again in the spring of 2018), I have acquired a smartphone tripod and another microphone, but essentially the process has remained the same. I created a list of topics that I wanted to present. I choose a topic from the list and give it some thought. I find a place to record. This could be somewhere outdoors or indoors, but always with sufficient sunlight (I don’t use artificial light except when absolutely necessary). I set up my smartphone and record. Most of my videos are done in one take, sometimes two. I worry less about messing up the words than being authentic and speaking to my audience. The only editing I do is to trim the beginning and the end of the video to cut any unwanted motion.

What kinds of topics do I record in these videos? I focus on anything that might relate to real estate agents’ business: sales skills such as prospecting, presentations, business planning, working with buyers and sellers, and time management. These videos are typically two to three minutes in length. I labeled them “Real Estate Quick Tips” and share them via social media and e-mail.

The third type of video I use is that which is recorded in live, in-person training sessions. When learning skills such as negotiations, contract presentation, and client interviews, it’s often helpful for a salesperson to see what he/she looks like and says. We do role play in classes, and to add another layer to role playing, I have agents form groups of three: one person plays the agent, one person plays the client, and the third person records the role play on their smartphone or tablet.

The recording is shared immediately as the third person gives feedback to the agent. This may be difficult for the agent to watch, but very instructive. There is no judgement – all participants must take their turn and be recorded and receive feedback. The videos are shared with the participants and it is up to them to keep or discard them. I credit David Knox for this technique which he labeled “iPractice.”

One thing to keep in mind is that video assets, when shared on social media, can live on long after the initial training has occurred. I include a call to action on my quick tip videos to prompt people to subscribe to my YouTube channel and give them the ability to sign up for the playlist at the end of the video. I also share videos on my Facebook Business page for increased visibility. The screen-capture videos are also posted to our company intranet site for easy reference, and I have used videos to create online classes for agents to take on demand. One video can easily be used in three places to lengthen the life of the training. (Videos recorded in training for the purpose of feedback are never shared online and serve only to help participants develop their skills.)

Video can be a great way to teach adult learners various skills needed for them to do their jobs well. It can also be a great way to promote the efficiency and efficacy of the training department. If you haven’t tried creating video yourself, what’s holding you back? If you have created videos for training purposes, how do you use them?

Training Tools In My Briefcase

Cleaning out my work briefcase, a rolling bag with multiple compartments, caused me to think about the most important tools I carry around. My bag is my office on wheels, and because I work remotely so often, I need to be able to access what I need wherever I go. Here are my “go to” tools that always come along with me:

  • My Laptop. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’m sure there are some people out there who don’t cart around a laptop with them wherever they go. I’m not one of them. I tried to rely on my iPad one day last week and could only do so because I wasn’t out of the office that long. I can present from my iPad and do a myriad of things on it, but there are still some functions that are just more comfortable on my laptop. I create presentations and e-learning courses, read and edit documents, facilitate webinars and online meetings, and even read and answer e-mail from my laptop.
  • A Presenter. No, this isn’t the person who stands up in front and delivers the talk. A presenter is what we commonly call a “clicker.” I used to have to make regular passes by my laptop to advance the slides while using a presentation in a training class. I got tired of that and got a presenter. Now I click my way through the slides and can even use a laser pointer (when showing slides on a traditional screen) or make the screen go black. Once you become familiar with presenting with a “clicker,” you won’t go back to being chained to your keyboard while delivering a presentation.
  • A Headset. For a long time, I used the earbuds that came with my iPhone when I gave a webinar or even when I recorded videos. I knew there had to be a better way. The microphone placement on smartphone earbuds is great if you’re talking on the phone, but not so great if you’re recording your voice for a video. I did some research and asked around for suggestions. I purchased a Logitech headset with an adjustable microphone. The sound quality is very good, and I don’t have to hold the microphone up all the time to be sure people can hear me. I also purchased a clip-on microphone that plugs into my iPhone for recording videos when I’m in the picture.
  • Pens. This may sound silly, but I always have a supply of pens in my bag. I get them from various vendors and give them to participants who forget to bring a pen with them to class. This happens more often than you think. I thought about carrying paper, too, but decided that there was probably always something on hand for people to write on (handouts, manuals, etc.), but not always something to write with.
  • A Pad of Paper. I use a pad of paper to take notes in classes or meetings, jot down ideas, and record task lists. I keep the letter-sized legal pad in a folio with a pen. I have a second, smaller size pad that fits in a likewise smaller folio that I carry in my purse/tote bag when not rolling the briefcase around. I still like to make notes and lists the old-fashioned way.

This is not an exhaustive list of the contents of my bag. There are things that go in and out of the bag depending on the situation or need. Everyone has their favorite tools–those they can’t live without and those they wish they could live without.

What’s in your bag?