What makes a winning speaking video?

My colleague Jane Atkinson, speaker coach and President of Speaker Launcher, recently launched a Best Speaker Video contest on her blog. For many speakers, a speaker video is the #1 form of marketing – if done right. So Jane, along with a panel of judges, looked at several submissions, and then came up with a winner, and 5 runners-up – and gave a brief explanation of why they came in at the top.

I was so impressed with these contestants, and wanted to share their videos with you. Some are very professionally done, with lots of bells and whistles – and some are no more complex than pressing “record” on a videocamera. But each speaker and video has its own unique style which makes it stand out.

These videos will give you an example of not just what works, but what works really well. So I share with you my comments about the outstanding points of each video, as well as the original comments from Jane and the judges. (Apologies that I could not embed all the videos — but you can just click on the name or “view video” to get to the missing videos).

Videos were judged based on:

1.   First 45 seconds – how well you capture our attention

2.  Quality of presentation content (storytelling, humor, message, etc).

3.  Stage presence -how well you command the stage

4.  Relevance – Is your information current and useful

5.  Unique – Are you showing us something we may not have seen before.


My take: A solid quality video that highlights his stage presence along with his extensive knowledge of his subject. Great slides too.

Jane & judge comments: Great energy, solid content, unique, relevant, high production quality, positions as an expert.

RUNNERS UP: SIMON BAILEY  Simon Bailey(view video)

My take: Pausing. Energy. And his amazing use of language. His ‘quotable’ phrases are likely put up on every office wall following his talks. For example:

Jane & judge comments: Commands the stage brilliantly.

Quotable phrases: 

  • “Change doesn’t happen to you, it happens through you. Change, or be changed, by change.”
  • “When everybody is walking this way, you walk the other way because the salmon in you wants to swim upstream.”
  •  “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not that holds you back.”




My take: The first 1:45 minutes draws you in. This is energetic storytelling at its most vivid. He’s got a unique combination of “business smarts with show biz sparks,” merging business and entertainment – which truly delights an audience.

Jane & judge comments: Fun, unique, great energy.

Quotable phrase: “When you spread the spotlight, everything gets brighter.”

STEVE SHAPIRO   —  View video

My take: Unlike the previous 3 videos, this is a simple taping of a speech – fewer ‘bells and whistles’ than the previous three, and yet, it doesn’t make it less of an effective marketing piece. Good use of examples, states the hypothesis clearly within the first minute.

Jane & judge comments: Pulls us in.

MICHELLE RAY   Michelle Ray(view video)

My take: Audience engagement is exceptionally strong and well done. Great examples at the 1:40 mark. Also, she uses alliteration in her speech, making it more memorable and impactful: “Every time we have an encounter with a client, with a patient, it’s called a Moment of Truth. We need to make sure that Moment of Truth is meaningful, memorable and magical.”

Jane & judge comments: Energy, audience engagement.

Quotable phrase:  “I firmly believe that a negative person has the ability to light up a room when they walk out.”


My take: Exceptionally unique. Excellent comedic delivery in her stories. Another great example of someone who doesn’t move around a stage, yet manages to keep her audience absolutely glued to their seats because of how she captures their attention with great storytelling.

Jane & judge comments: Great funny stories, she’s real.

Quotable phrase: “Instead of getting irritated and slapping these people, I have just learned to laugh.”

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to Jane for bringing these people into the spotlight to share their talents.

Is there any particular video or speaker that stands out for you?

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