Video Scripting Tip: Ad libbing

Video Scripting Tip: Ad libbing (Episode 118)

video marketing podcast Aug 10, 2022

No one is perfect. And as much as you'd like your performance to come across au naturel, presenting to the camera without making it look like you're reading off a teleprompter may take years of practice and mastery. So how do you do it? 

Two saving words: Ad lib. 

Welcome to 'Video Tips,' the Video Made Simple podcast segment where we offer strategies for on-camera presenting, scripting, and video marketing: all the tools you need to get started with videos.

In this episode, Chris Schwager, Video Marketer from Ridge Films, talks about ad libs and creating a hybrid of reading and ad libbing for a much more spontaneous presentation. Chris shares how to script with ad libs, and what are the do's and don'ts of ad libbing. While scripting an ad lib may sound like a paradox, with ad libs defined as a total improv work, or a speech with no written script beforehand, Chris makes a case on why creating a flow for your ad libs will make it easier for your ideas to come easily, as well as why script templates will come in handy. 

The DIY Video Program comes with script templates that can help you understand what content is needed for your script, and how to break it down to sections so that it's cohesive and conversational. You can read it on the go to help you focus and refine your message. Check the link below or 

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Video Transcription:

 Chris Schwager 00:00:01

Welcome to the Video Made Simple podcast that takes the mystery out of video production and provides business leaders support to help them break through the monotony of day-to-day communication. I'm your host, Chris Schwager. And if you think your presentation needs some spontaneity that can't be done by just reading from your prompter, then here's a video scripting tip, and that is try ad libbing.

[00:00:29] Ad libbing comes from the Latin word ad libitum meaning according to one's desire. To ad lib means to speak spontaneously or off-the-cuff, or improvised lines as you go. Ad libbing your presentation is a lot less work than when writing a script and often results in a much more relaxed and natural performance.

[00:00:53] It adds texture and life to the presentation, and also helps buy time when live recording, when performances are disrupted by technicalities. The best example, field reporters, reporters are trained how to deliver on the spot reports using bullet points that are either tapped near the camera, or simply written on their notes at hand.

[00:01:17] But some people are actually bad at ad libbing and the guidance. Some choose not to prepare. So they're winging it and run the risk of confusing people, being misunderstood and taking way longer than they should.

[00:01:32] So how do you prepare for an unscripted or ad libbed presentation? So here's three tips that will get you to prepare for an unscripted or Adlib presentation.

[00:01:45] First write short intro outros. If you do this, it'll just help take the pressure off and make sure that you get clarity around those points for the body. You can do whatever you like and go off the cuff. But for your intro outro, structure it, and this will, um, help you to recall those lines without having to get or confused with it.

[00:02:13] Number two. Create a list of bullet points for discussion. This is the body. This is the middle of the presentation, but keep it tight and keep it conversational. Right? Stick to the point.

[00:02:24] And three, structure your ad libs. So you tell them what you're going to tell them. You tell them, and then you tell them what you've told them. This is a great rule of thumb across all of your content. Um. And you know, you might have, uh, heard in some of my videos, for instance, kicking off with the very stock standard introduction. As in this video, I'm gonna show you how to ad lib properly so that you get the best outta your presentation, then go through the body. And this is how you ad lib and then go through the outro, which is okay. So now you know how to ad lib. Away you go, blah, blah, blah. Right. So that is a great example of tell 'em what you're gonna tell. 'Tell 'em, tell 'em, and then tell 'em what you've told them.

[00:03:08] Let's look at some dos and don'ts of ad libs.

[00:03:11] Don't come unprepared. Structure your talking points, the rule of threes. And I've just given you a rule of three is just, just now. Three main points for your subjects. So you can still do your rehearsed intro, three main points of discussion, and then your outro.

[00:03:28] Don't try to convey all the information in one hit, but try and tell personalised stories and stories are extremely underutilized in the world of video, in business, in corporate. So this is a great opportunity for you to use examples tied to your main points that hit closer to home and register so people fully understand what it is that you're talking about.

[00:03:52] Don't overthink everything, start with the first idea that comes to your mind and keep moving, go with the flow. And you'll be surprised how clear your mind thinks when it's focused on the goal to deliver the presentation.

[00:04:08] Do a hybrid of scripting and ad libbing. So for example, in this podcast, I start with a scripted intro. I script the outro and then for the main body, I have some key talking points that our script writer has prepared for us. Great work by the way, Christine. And then I occasionally go off track like I am right now.

[00:04:29] So what can you do next to prepare yourself for ad libbing? I'll give you my three points.

[00:04:36] First, get access to the script templates. Go to the link in the show notes, the DIY Video Program in the show notes. Or if you leave us a review on this podcast, I'll even send it to you for free.

[00:04:47] Number two, put pen to paper. There's a connection between visualizing what you need to say because you've written it down. So it is easier to recall. So pen to paper, it's a psychological advantage. Some people still think it's old school, but there is actually great learning benefits to come of actually physically putting a pen to paper and writing out your thoughts prior.

[00:05:12] And number three, get in a situation where you can practice your ad libbing with people. You know, they'll tell you quickly if you, if they don't understand what you're talking about, you can run some of your ad lib that is, uh, clear and easy for you, and make sure that it's clear and easy for your audience to understand. Repetition is the mother of skill. The more you do it, the better you'll become.

[00:05:35] Finding the balance between reading from prompter, for instance, and ad libbing will greatly improve your presentation. You'll deliver more naturally without straying far off topic and keep your audience glued into your performance.

[00:05:48] Join in next week where you'll get weekly Video Made Simple ideas to produce videos like a pro that's all for this episode. Thanks for listening and see you next week.


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