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Obama’s Top Ten Tips For Video Blogging

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Obama’s Top Ten Tips For Video Blogging

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    I started a video blog documenting my journey fighting breast cancer across America. President-elect Barack Obama started a video blog documenting how he plans to implement change in America. What do we have in common? Absolutely nothing; His vlog is way better.

    So if you are like me and want to video blog like Obama,  I offer these tips that I picked up from watching the President-elect’s weekly video address.

    1. Each word counts

    Use as few words as you can, making the ones you use count. Each word should have its own moment to shine as you move through your presentation. Stay away from using complex terms that the average viewer may not know. Your words must be understood to be enjoyed by as many as possible to keep your video engaging.

    2. Stay under five minutes

    We all have web enabled ADD. Please keep your content short and snappy. Under five minutes should be your target. This is not to say video blogs cannot be longer, but unless you are producing the next Batman film, play it safe.

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    3. Cut!

    Cut. Say something. Cut. Have something happen. Cut.

    Rinse. Repeat.

    A long static shot is the kiss of death. Thank you, MTV.

    If you are limited with what you are working with, use pictures where you can. iMovie has a great Ken Burns effect that you should take advantage of. Do not ever let your pictures remain still.

    4. I will tell you …

    The key to any presentation: Tell us what you’re going to talk about, tell us what you’re talking about, and then end by telling us what you have told us. ADD, remember? Plus audiences love to measure outcomes, so by telling people what you’re going to say, saying it, and then repeating it, they will feel like you delivered on your promise; This is important in building trust with the viewer.

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    5. Well Lit

    Shoot during the day if you do not have a well lit space to film in. Unless you are filming the next …

    6. Not HD? Switch. Now.

    Sure to be controversial: If you noticed, all of Obama’s vidoes are in HD. In February, the United States is asking broadcasters to switch their signals to digital. Terrestrial radio is starting to push listeners to invest in digital radio receivers. Most filmmakers have made the transition to digital.

    I know, HD camcorders and web cameras are expensive; I don’t have one yet either. As soon as you can, switch to HD. The audience expects this quality, and if you do not offer it, they will find someone who does.

    7. Audio please

    If you visit Change.gov, you will notice the video blogs have the audio of the video blog available. If you can extract the audio, make sure you do the same. This is great for viewers who may want to listen to your material while driving or on mobile devices without screens.

    8. Text

    Like audio, the text of the video blog is available for Obama’s vlog. Now, you do not have to follow a script, you should, but providing the text is helpful to readers who may not be able to hear, may not be able to watch at work, and readers who might want to quickly copy and paste the text to send to others. Yes, they can do that with a link, but again: Some might be at work and cannot watch your video.

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    9. What Am I Watching?

    Tell  your audience what the video is about before making them watch. Their time is limited, and not every sketch, rant, review will be of interest. You should accept this and help your audience use their time wisely.

    10. Appearance

    I once saw a presentation on Youtube where a representative of Google stated that the most searched item in the world is a beautiful woman. If you look like me and you are video blogging about the same subject Obama girl is video blogging about, you will find yourself in a potentially losing battle for viewers.

    Yes. Personal branding and video quality matter, but on a purely superficial level? She wins every time.

    So, what do you do against insurmountable beuaty? Take care of yourself before you get on camera. This could be anything from showering to dressing your best. If you seriously want to pursue video blogging, your personal appearance is key. We are Americans. We judge.

    Barack’s Bonus Tips

    Extra video thoughts:

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    End On A High Note

    End your video blog on a positive note. I may not look like Obama Girl, but I am dedicated to what I am doing and I am encouraging my audience to join me in my project. Engage your viewers and give them something to look forward to each time.

    Schedule

    If you promise weekly video, deliver weekly. Do not falter without advanced notification to your viewers.

    Fast Start, Faster Finish

    Focus your time on the content. Do not waste time. Start and end like Obama: “Good Morning”, “Goodbye”.

    What are some of your video blogging tips?

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2021

    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

    We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

    A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

    So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

    • honest
    • reliable
    • competent
    • kind and compassionate
    • capable of taking the blame
    • able to persevere
    • modest and humble
    • pacific and can control anger.

    The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

    1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

    All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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    But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

    2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

    How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

    I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

    “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

    Abigail Van Buren

    3. How does this person take the blame?

    Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

    You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

    5. Read their emails.

    Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

    • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
    • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
    • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
    • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
    • Too many question marks can show anger
    • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

    6. Watch out for the show offs.

    Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

    7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

    A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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    Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

    8. Their empathy score is high.

    Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

    People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

    9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

    We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

    “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

    Stendhal

     10. Avoid toxic people.

    These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

    • Envy or jealousy
    • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
    • Complaining about their own lack of success
    • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
    • Obsession with themselves and their problems

    Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

    Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

    Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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