Following are five steps to developing your company's message using videotape.
1. Be clear: People freak out when they see you with a video camera. Assure them that the footage you're shooting isn't going to appear on YouTube; it's just for internal evaluation and critique.
2. Be quick: Use digital video cameras like the Flip to capture the footage, then edit and produce the movie for review. It doesn't need to be pretty, well-lit or of broadcast quality; it just needs to show what people are saying.
3. Be kind: Capitalize on those people skills you use in media training to assuage the subjects’ concerns and get the best language out of them are needed tenfold because you'll be working with employees at various levels within the organization.
4. Be brutal: Once you've captured 12-15 answers to "What does this company do?" don't let the speakers off the hook. After you’re done editing, buy a few pizzas and have them watch the combined footage. Then ask the group if they're being clear, concise and consistent. Ask them if a prospect would buy based on the preceding few minutes of tape.
5. Be persistent: One client of mine insisted that all of its board members be able to effectively deliver the company's "elevator speech." At each quarterly board meeting, two names were picked at random, forcing those two board members to stand and deliver the elevator speech. Awkward? Yes. Pavlovian? Absolutely. Effective? You bet.
These tips were authored by Dave Yewman, co-founder of ElevatorSpeech.com. A larger version of this article will be appearing in PR News' upcoming Media Training Guidebook, 2008/2009 edition. For updates, check back periodically with www.prnewsonline.com.