Celebrating a Decade: Howles Associates’ Anniversary

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This week our company celebrates its 10th anniversary in business, and our commitment to helping you craft and deliver powerful multimedia messages is stronger than ever. For ten years, it has been our privilege to have made a difference in your professional workplace and in the lives of your customers through Howles Associates, LLC, the online presentation experts.

Although our range of services over the years has evolved based on technologies of the time and clients’ needs, we still stand behind our time-worn mission to help you impact and effect change in your multimedia messaging. We accomplish this through video coaching, multimedia consulting, effective webinar delivery, video scripting and editing, video critiques, visual slide critiques, blended learning workshops on video, visual design, and multimedia, as well as keynotes.

And our commitment to our star service model has never changed. We remain proud to deliver our products and services with the utmost professionalism, multimedia expertise, excellent quality, evidence-based research, while embracing innovation and creativity every step of the way.

Most importantly, as we reflect on the last ten years it is you to whom we owe our greatest and deepest thanks. You have shared your pain points, your challenges, and your needs. You have trusted us with your messaging, explained your goals and desired results, and had the courage to implement what was needed. Working collaboratively with you has been one of our greatest, professional joys. We love the diversity of the client organizations, enjoy learning about your unique purposes, and we especially meeting people like you who want to make a difference. People who want to effect change.

All of us witnessed last weekend that even a small pebble thrown into a pond can create ripples of change never before thought imaginable. For example, the Women’s March in January, 2017 began simply with a Facebook invite from a retiree in Hawaii, Teresa Shook, to 40 of her friends. The ripple effect? Over 2 million marchers across the globe joined the Women’s March and Sister Marches. Now that’s effect.

Using multimedia messaging for your business through combinations of recorded or live voice, visual slides, video, and/or text can also make a difference in your business – all of these modalities can be leveraged effectively to create an effect. Whether it’s informative, educational, persuasive, or entertaining – multimedia tools can create powerful impact. And we love helping you do just that.

So on behalf of our scriptwriters and editors, our video coaches and designers, our graphic artists and web master, we thank you for entrusting Howles Associates with your business for the last 10 years. And we look forward to serving you another 10 years, and many years to come.

 

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Video: The New Literacy

In an address last year, Bill Rankin (Apple’s Director of Learning) said “making videos is a new literacy.” With the explosive growth of video in the last few years and its trajectory for continued growth, video is quickly becoming the dominant communication medium. According to Syndacast,  74% of all Internet traffic by next year will be video.

This notion of being “video literate” is intriquing. Ages ago in the Egyptian culture, only 1% of the population could read or write. These literate scribes were entrusted with writing and reading skills, as well as translations on behalf of their citizenry. Then in various cultures over the ages, literacy began to grow at variable rates. The advent of the printing press and the wider distribution of books also accelerated the spread of literacy. Benjamin Franklin’s idea to create lending institutions for sharing books without fees (our modern day library) also contributed to the cause, as did many other educational variables, and cultural shifts.

Today, we are faced with a need for a new literacy – video literacy. Many professionals have not been trained as videographers, cinematographer, on-camera talent, lighting specialists, and video script writers. Yet in the age of digital media, almost everyone has access to HD video cameras on smart phones and tablets. Publically accessible video platforms such as YouTube and vimeo have made it easy for us to record video ourselves and distribute them with relative ease to a global audience.

However, after watching many of the videos available to global viewers, you may notice some interesting trends. Videos are often handheld creating the “shaky cam” syndrome which is difficult for viewers to watch. Other videos are shot in the dark or backlit, as video requires lots of light. Some video messages ramble on and lose viewers within the first 30 seconds. Other videos showcase very poor audio quality. Some presenters on video aren’t sure where to look, how to move, and reveal their discomfort on-camera, and the list goes on.

So is recording a quality, effective video a new literacy?

Absolutely. As we transition to this age of dominant video communication, there are slight shifts all of us can make to raise the quality and improve our effectiveness. From technical aspects to visual framing, and from message design to on-camera presence, competencies exist that many professionals don’t yet know that they don’t know. By learning how to change a few things in video in order to create a greater impact, we align ourselves to reach our video message goals.

Video literacy begins with learning what those slight shifts are that we need to make. We need to learn and practice how to improve our ability to communicate effectively in this new medium. It is an exciting time for pioneering . . . are you ready?

What’s one thing you’ve noticed recently that video presenters could improve? Would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Video Presentation Tips: Rx for your Voice

There are a myriad of things which contribute to a presenter’s effectiveness on video. Some of them are overlooked because they seem almost invisible. Yet regardless of how seemingly unimportant they might be, there’s one element that is vitally important.

Your voice.

Your vocal tone, quality, pitch, inflection, resonance, and authority is such an integral part of your video presentation. In fact, your voice carries more influence than you might think. Voices can reveal confidence and credibility, they can grab interest and attention, and they can make messages personable and memorable. This blog will be the first in a short series on using voice in video.

There are several ways to maximize your voice in video. To begin, just as an athlete benefits from a warm up before a race or cardio activity, the voice also benefits from warm-ups. This is because your vocal cords are muscles too. When you first wake up the morning of a video shoot, warm up your voice by humming. This is less harsh on your voice than speaking and a healthy, gradual way to warm up your voice. As you get closer to the video shoot time, you can also sing softly–even if you think you can’t sing–because singing is actually less harsh on your vocal cords than speaking. Speak repetitive vowel sounds to warm up your voice; for example, you can say “Ahh, Ahh, Ahh, or Iii, Iii, Iii, or Eee, Eee, Eee.”

During the video shoot, if you find your mouth is dry, it is best to drink room temperature water. Extreme hot temperatures or very cold drinks can constrict your vocal cords. Additionally, if you are someone whose mouth creates clicks when you speak (some click louder than others), eating some bites of green apples can coat your throat and a little orange or citrus will moisten your mouth. There are also some throat sprays you can use to help minimize the mouth clicking or consonant pops. Recording with a pop filter on your microphone can also help eliminate the popping of consonants.

Lastly, even though your microphone amplifies the audio for you and you don’t have to project your voice like you would in a stage play, you still need proper breath support. Your diaphragm is designed to give you the most breath support by breathing from your abdomen. When you’re laying on your back, your body will naturally breathe this way. So you can observe how much deeper your breath support can be when you speak from there when on-camera.

Tune in for more on how you can maximize your voice in video presentations in future blogs.

What are some voice tips that have worked for you?