10 tips for creating the best talking head videos​

‘Urgh’ can often be a reaction when people watch talking head videos. There are a few reasons for this.

– The participant comes across nervous and too staged
– There are not enough visual queues and stories to hold viewers attention
– The content lacks energy and the structure kills engagement

We’ve taken some of the most important lessons learnt after creating over 5000 talking head videos for small businesses and have put them in the blog below.

Read on to find out how to overcome these common issues and make the best talking head videos.

1. Ditch the script – be a presenting head, not a reading head.

Firstly, you want to ditch the script. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t write one. You need to make sure you present instead of read.

Scripts can often cause people to become lazy as they feel they have done the hard work, but delivery is 50% of the battle when it comes to making the best talking head videos.

Presenting is a device you need to use to make sure your script sinks in and resonates with your viewer. That means you’ll need energy and confidence.

Getting this right will instantly give you more credibility, hook your viewer and make the whole experience more pleasurable for everyone.

What about an AutoQueue?

The danger of reading from an autocue is once again you rely too heavily on the script to do the hard work.

The good thing is you don’t have to try to remember what to say, but you do have to follow words on a screen which still requires a level of concentration. Without a tonne of practice, this will distract you from focusing on what counts, your energy and style.

What’s the solution?

Try presenting from bullet points. We often find that because people know the content already, once they are in the zone, they talk to the viewer in the same excited manner they would speak to a client or prospect. This can make all the difference.

The need to try and remember suddenly vanishes because deep down, you won’t need lines if you’re an expert in your subject.

That’s all well and good, but how do you present with energy? Read on to number 2.

2. Use Panto Mode – The secret to presenting like a pro

To come across as human, genuine and utterly spontaneous in your talking head video then you need to try Panto Mode.

Panto mode is a device which will banish the fear from your eyes and make you look like you’ve been presenting for years.

How to pull off Panto Mode

To get this right, you need to project at 120% of the level you usually would. More expression, more exaggerated body language, longer pauses, basically like you would if you were the lead in a pantomime.

To start with it’s going to feel very forced and unnatural. The key to getting this right is to film yourself presenting the same line, multiple times with different levels of energy.

When you watch the line back, you’ll notice just how hard it is to look ridiculous on video.

The camera sucks so much life out of us that we’ve got to put a lot back in.

3. Be prepared to fail

As adults, we are not used to doing things that are entirely out of our comfort zone. We tend to have worked out what we do and don’t like doing earlier in life and stick to that.

Presenting your talking head video tends to fall into the gap of things we don’t like doing because it means failing at something which again, as adults, is something we try to avoid.

The best way to approach doing a talking head video is to go into it thinking that you’re not going to get it right on the first take. And trust us, you won’t!

If you prepare to fail, you are already one step closer to making the best talking head videos. And you never know… you might even enjoy it.

4. Chunks

So, you’ve got to talk to the camera for 90 seconds, but you’ve taken our advice and have ditched reading a script. How on Earth do you remember everything? Well, you break it into chunks.

You present sentence by sentence. Every time there’s a new piece of information you cut, you move the camera further away or closer to you, and you start again.

Watch the videos on this page, we do it in all of them.

Why does chunking work so well?

It’s effective for a few reasons. Chunking like this wakes the viewer up. It keeps the energy high, and there’s a good chance your viewer will keep watching for longer.

It also enables you to spend time on the delivery of each line. You can put more emphasis on different words, speed it up and slow it down and make sure your delivery is nothing short of fantastic.

5. Talking head video length

Talking heads are a simplified form of digital communication. Basically, keep it short.

If you’re making a promo don’t go above 90 seconds. Ideally, 40 seconds.

For educational videos, you can go longer as long as don’t keep repeating yourself and waffle on.

It needs to be as short as you can make it while delivering the most concise information.

Unless, of course, you are selling quantum physics to toddlers. In which case, you can go on for longer…

6. Text and Imagery

Just standing there talking to a camera can be an uninspiring experience.

You need to add text and imagery to back up what’s being said.

The fantastic thing about putting text up on the screen is that it’s impossible not to read. When people see, listen and read they suck up all your information like a sponge.

Adding text and graphics to a video will also make it easier for your audience to understand your message and bring the whole project to life.

For us, it’s a great chance to use humour and tell more of a story.

7. Master your intro with a shoppers pivot

You’ve got to put the most effort into your introduction. People are browsing, and they’re so uninspired by most of what they are watching as they do this.

The trick is to slap them around the chops with something interesting to get them going.

We call this a shoppers’ pivot. It could be a metaphor, to sum up the whole message of the video up in a visual way or just something that makes the viewer go ‘Where’s this going?’ by intriguing them.

It could also be a story which is relevant to the point your entire video is making.

Stories help us engage with information and picture what is being said which helps us understand it better.

The intro is where we spend the majority of time helping our clients because if you don’t hook someone, they won’t get very far.

Here’s an example of a great shoppers pivot. 

8. Multi-Person Talking Head Video

We’ve found that the quickest way to raise the energy of your video is to use lots of team members and to cut between them during the conversation.

It becomes more of an experience for your viewer and also enables you to get more of the team involved which subtextually shows off your culture.

And a well-synced team looks like a well-run business.

9. Entertain

If you’re planning on being very matter-of-fact and just telling people precisely what it is that you do (in a particularly dull tone), then they’re not going to watch any further.

A talking head video is an opportunity to show off your brands personality. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling bins or software, spending the time to make something more entertaining will pay dividends.

Using the shopper’s pivot device from the previous point will create a feeling of entertainment straight away.

From there all you need to do is deliver the content with energy, avoid all waffle and deliver new information after new information.

Do this, and you’ll stand talking head and shoulders above your competition. (See what we did there)

10. Logo

Sorry to break this to you but your logo is not every viewer’s dream.

Yes, branding is important, but if your logo and corporate intro lasts more than 2 seconds, you have already lost your viewers attention.

Your video should have a thumbnail image which lets the viewer know when they hit play, this is the content they will receive straight away, we call it a promise. “I promise to you that this video is about x”

A Long animated logo flash is not part of that promise, or any viewers wish list.

If you do go this route, check the average viewer duration of your video and make sure you’re not losing 20% of people before you even get started.

11. The loop

The Loop is the ultimate ending to a talking head video. But what is it?

The loop is at the end of your video and it refers back to the shopper’s pivot you used at the start.

The result of a loop is closure. Think about the feeling you get at the end of a movie when it doesn’t end as expected but surprises you and somehow makes the whole film more enjoyable.

You can give people that same feeling with a talking head video.

How to use a loop?

Firstly you need to have a shopper’s pivot (Check out point 7 if you skipped it).

All you do is make an absurd reference back to that pivot at the end of the video.

This is the place to have a little fun and to make the viewer smile. Getting this right will make it clear you not only put the care and effort in to your content but that you care enough about providing your viewer with an experience. Your competition in comparison will seem stale.

How to make the best talking head video summary

If you jumped to the end or only read part of this vlog, then this summary will hopefully make it clear what the most critical components of a talking head video.

1. The content
2. The delivery
3. The Intro – Shopper Pivot
4. The outro – Loop

Spend time on these sections to make the best talking head videos.

You might have guessed it, we make talking head videos. Check out our video selection pathway to discover how other businesses have been using this style of video to get results right here.