The best video introduction ever

A video introduction to a piece of thought leadership is a deceptively tricky thing to get right. Or so I discovered a few weeks ago.

A client of mine was launching a series of educational modules aimed at school administrators and teachers. Each module needed a video introduction from the course founders. They approached me to help script those intro’s.

I started by watching the videos they were currently using. They were well done. But something, somewhere, didn’t wow. Was it the content? The presenter? The shooting?

Nope, it was the format of the delivery.

Video introduction, meet great sales pitch

Serendipitously, a friend sent me this great story around the same time. The author described a sales deck format that absolutely nailed it on all fronts – setting the stage, delivering the vision, and serving up the support points.

Here’s the format:

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  1. Name a big, relevant change in the world – If your company sells SaaS (for example), talk about how the world is moving away from ownership of products to subscriptions. And back up that claim with evidence.
  2. Show there will be winners and losers –  In the case of SaaS, the losers will be companies that don’t turn their products into subscription services. Again, back this with evidence – perhaps showing the roadmap of history littered with the wrecks of big companies that didn’t adapt to new consumer needs.
  3. Tease the promised land – Paint a picture of how your prospect’s company will work once they’ve adopted your SaaS model. Don’t offer up details or how-to’s… just describe a beautiful tomorrow.
  4. Introduce your features as the magic gifts that will get your prospects to the promised land –  Tell them all the things your SaaS can do to make them successful.
  5. Present evidence that you can make the story come true – Talk about all the successful companies which have implemented your SaaS, and let your prospect know they could be the next success story.

 better than guy kawasaki’s 10 slides?

I’ve helped numerous companies create effective investment pitches. In almost every case, I follow Guy Kawasaki’s The Only 10 Slides You Need In Your Pitch format. I’ve also drawn inspiration from his 10 Slides in putting together speeches and videos.

Kawasaki’s format?

  1. Title
  2. Problem / opportunity
  3. Value proposition
  4. Underlying magic
  5. Business model
  6. Go-to-market plan
  7. Competitive analysis
  8. Team
  9. Projections
  10. Evidence of traction

You can see the similarities between Kawasaki’s format and the sales deck format – especially in the first few slides. However, there’s a profound difference right off the top: The sales deck describes a global shift and winners / losers,  while Kawasaki talks about problems and opportunities.

My clients picked up on the difference right away. In their minds, starting a pitch by pointing out problems would get stakeholders’ backs up.

They also pointed out that the sales deck needed a tweak. It was OK to highlight winners, but talking about losers would lose the audience as well. Point taken.


We tweaked the sales deck to incorporate my client’s feedback. Here’s what it looked like:

  1. Reflect a big, relevant change in the world of education
  2. Who will thrive in this new world?
  3. Tease the promised land
  4. What are the steps you propose to get me there?
  5. Give me an example – how has this worked for others?

Of course, the real test came when we started scripting. Would this format make it easier to construct an informative, entertaining video?

It did. We drafted the scripts for ten videos in one day. Each was unique, but each built a convincing case.

And, because of the familiar format, recording was stress-free. My clients knew they could compartmentalize their intro’s, instead of feeling they had to deliver an entire video script.

Happy ending. Or, to be more accurate, happy intro.

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