Help! I’m writing some training material and want to use actors. Any advice?

Hi Suze … I am currently developing some business video training where I would like to use actors. What advice could you give me on what to prepare for them to use? And what stories of using actors for business video can you share?

Angela from Manchester, England.

HTWB-Agony-generalHi Angela

One thing I would recommend (speaking from my experience of writing scripts for actors in training/corporate video and business theatre) is that you write them a good script.

Not even Lord Olivier could have made a bad script work. Either hire a pro writer to do it for you or if you want to DIY and need a little guidance, stand by as I will be sharing some thoughts on script writing here on HTWB in the coming weeks. [Read more…]

Why you’ll never write a presentation around PowerPoint slides again

I don’t think there can be many people in the digitized world who don’t hate the way that many presenters stick incredibly complex PowerPoint slides up and then just read them out.

Of course in some ways that’s helpful, because were the presenter not to read out each slide’s content, people sitting more than a few feet away wouldn’t stand a snowflake’s chance in hell of comprehending it because the type is so small. But is this really the best way to communicate important information?

Speaking as someone who grew up in the business theater world pre-digitization (in other words when we used animated multi-image 35mm still film slides as visualization of spoken presentations) I was taught always to write scripts for speakers that used the slides in a way that was complementary to the spoken words and added to their impact…not just mushing along as a series of electronically contrived idiot boards.

PowerPoint, however, effectively has encouraged speakers to use these slides as a crutch and avert real affinity with their audiences.

In my current (non HTWB) work activities within elements of the British public sector, over and over again I watch presentations that follow exactly the pattern I’ve just described. Not only is it boring; also, its sheer “boringness” means that important messages are likely not to be absorbed well by the audiences concerned. And that’s where real trouble can set in.

Does this ring a bell with you?

Here is a video done by a Canadian “corporate comedian” (we Canadians just get it right, OK?) called Don McMillan, as shared with me by a fellow blogger, Paul M Johnstone (thanks pal!)

To me, this says it all. Enjoy, and take heed … McMillan may make us laugh but there is sooo much truth in what he says…

Thanks again to Paul Johnstone for bringing this to our attention.

Are you a PowerPoint junkie, or do you agree that it can absolve speakers from actually having to connect with their audiences? Share your views here please…

PowerPoint junkie or not, here’s the help you need for the words to make those images work:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

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