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What I Learned From Making a Book Trailer

This week, I received the final version of a book trailer for Change with Confidence that was filmed after I completed my Building Your Change Capability course for Soundview.  

A book trailer is an important promotional vehicle because it provides the potential reader with an overview of the book and the author. I had filmed six ‘author tips’ videos for Wiley last April but I didn’t have a promotional piece about my book, which was a gap. 


I really enjoyed discussing filming options and script choices with Jen and Jackie, Soundview’s creative videographers. We weighed the benefits of different camera angles and supporting graphics against the objectives of the video.

Jackie and Jen

Initially, we tried using a Powerpoint slide as a guide for me. This worked well when filming the course because I knew the material well and a reminder of the sequence points was all I needed. 

The support I needed  for the book trailer was different. Since it would be one minute long, I needed extra help to deliver each point precisely and succinctly. 

We opted to use a teleprompter. I had only used one once before while on vacation at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Being a pretend newscaster with my friend Dan was not a lot of experience.

It took about fifteen takes to make the video. I spoke quickly for my first few takes as if I would not be able to keep up with the teleprompter that Jackie was controlling manually. I needed to relax and focus less on the screen (an ipad).

What worked best was a mixture of reading and talking freely. I started each point by reading from the teleprompter and then ended it with a follow-on thought. For example, I read “…illustrated by real world examples” and added “many of which I actually experienced in my career.” This approach felt natural and captured the key points about the book and the author. 

Jen edited the video and added the graphics. I loved the initial cut. We only made one small adjustment on the banner and it was done. 

Here’s what I learned from the experience:

  • Skilled professionals do excellent work – work with the best;
  • Experiment with different options – one will outshine the others;
  • Be yourself. The buyer is buying the book and the author who wrote it;
  • Test the final product with trusted advisers. They know what good looks like for you; and
  • Use it – distribute it broadlyYoutube, blog, Amazon, website, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

So here it is. I hope you like it.

How would you teach the world to sing?

A primary motivation for writing Change with Confidence was to build people’s skills and confidence to successfully lead change. The more people the better. This goal has shaped my approach to marketing. Every opportunity to promote my thinking and my book is a good one.

I was thrilled when Soundview approached me to partner on a new product offering with the tag line “Reach More. Teach More.” SoundviewPro is an online open-enrollment academy where courses are available to everyone including its half million subscribers around the world. I am excited by the prospect of many people in different countries watching my course at the same time.

This teaching delivery format is called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and is being offered by more and more universities and private learning organizations. It has sparked debate in education communities and attracted the attention of the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

My change management course will include strategies, stories, observations, approaches and tactics. It will also offer interactive elements such as questions, quizzes and and follow-on exercises. Each module will be ten to fifteen minutes totaling three hours of content. 

I will be filming Change with Confidence U in Philadelphia in mid-November. I am looking forward to once again work with Ursula and Andrew from Soundview. Also it will be exciting and challenging to design learning in a new medium. This is a personal growth opportunity. 

Soundview’s aspiration for SoundviewPro is “to permanently change how people and organizations grow their skills to succeed.” That’s music to my ears and I am eager to write my new song.


One Thing Leads to Another, and Another…

On June 6th, I gave a webinar about the biggest questions of change. It was sponsored by Soundview, a company that provides professionals with business intelligence in time-efficient ways. It offers business book summaries, author webinars, and video interviews to build awareness and skills on the latest business thinking.

A webinar is an on line seminar where participants hear your voice and watch your slides on screen. They also have the ability to ask questions and leave comments. There are both benefits and challenges to this presentation format.

On the benefits side, you are presenting in a controlled environment with the freedom to review your notes and pace your talk. Also, it is easier to answer questions and discuss comments because the moderator frames and sequences them. Another benefit is that you are not distracted by the participants because their phones are muted and they are invisible, which is helpful, especially when the audience is in the hundreds, like this one.

On the challenges side, you are talking into a speaker phone for forty-five minutes non-stop. Your voice needs to modulate to make points and create excitement so that people stay engaged. 

My friend, Michael, who is an excellent speaker, suggested I adopt a conversational tone. He also suggested that I ask people to reflect on my points and invite them to consider their relevance based on what they were experiencing.  Both tips were helpful and made my talk sound more personal. It felt like a conversation every time I posed a question to participants.

It’s always helpful to be a member of a great team. Ursula, the executive producer, and Andrew, the moderator, were incredibly helpful. They shared presentation tips and examples of other successful sessions. They were also very supportive and personable. By the time we went “live,” I felt like I knew them personally although we had never met in person. 

The 3-2-1 countdown before starting a presentation is always a “time stands still” moment for me. This is when I straddle between  preparation and action just before I take my step into delivery. I started my talk with a story about my first change project and went on from there. My time flew by and forty-eight minutes later I asked Andrew if there were any questions.

The participant questions were ones that I had answered in Change with Confidence. It was good to see that people were interested in what I had dealt with. They included changing priorities during a change project, dealing with resistance, and avoiding slipping back into old ways of working. This part of the session was the most dynamic and enjoyable.

Attendees were invited to leave a comment on my website if they wanted a copy of my slides. Over seventy-five people left comments and received my Powerpoint slide deck. I thought about  sending a PDF file of my slides but my goal was to help people delivering change, not to protect my work. I hope they use my slides in their change presentations. 

A couple of weeks before my presentation, I got the great news that Soundview had awarded “30 Best Business Books of 2013” status to Change with Confidence. This means they will write an Executive Book Summary and record a twenty-minute audio version of it. They will also record an author interview that will be distributed to all members. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The Soundview experience has been tremendous. One thing did lead to another and another. It may even lead to another. That’s how it works.


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