On the January episode of the Forge, we talked with author and visual thinker Dan Roam about visual thinking and how it helps make our ideas and communication clearer.
Dan let us know about an upcoming opportunity. He’s hosting a Visual Thinking training this summer in London and Berlin (Sorry for everyone in the US, but if there’s enough interest, maybe we can convince him to do one stateside. Or you can check out our interview with Dan or his Napkin Academy).
Register for Dan’s training
If you use the coupon code NAPKINCADET, you can save £/€100 off the standard fee.
Dan made this video with Camtasia Studio to share what participants will learn during the training.
(Can’t see the embedded video? Watch it on YouTube.)
Even though I can’t go to Dan’s training, this is a pretty cool video. If you want make a video like it, I’ve gone through and pointed out some of the things that Dan did right in making it.
Analysis of Dan’s video
1) As the video starts, you see Dan front and center. This is actually a great way to connect you to your audience.
2) Notice the subtle zoom out during the first 10 seconds. It’s actually a really smart thing Dan is doing. He’s keeping things moving, which should help keep your attention. Someone recently suggested that your screen should be changing every 6 to 8 seconds. For advertisements and marketing type videos, this is pretty good advice as long as the content makes sense. If you’re doing step-by-step training, you might actually want to opt for the screen changing and moving less.
3) Drawing on your screen. It’s interesting and Dan is a master so it works well for him. I think, given his topic, it makes total sense. He uses the drawing tools in PowerPoint, so nothing fancy. If you do something like this, I’d recommend that you use the clip speed feature to speed up the drawing process.
4) At 0:53, Dan includes camera video from one of his presentations. Again, this is a great way to get your audience to connect with a speaker. Dan is also using the clip from his talk to further illustrate what you’re going to learn from attending his session. If it makes sense to include camera video, it can be engaging. It also helps establish himself as an expert. As you watch him speak, you can see he really knows what he’s talking about.
5) As Dan continues through the rest of the video, notice how often things change on the screen. No one clip or video stays up too long. He keeps it moving. And as he goes, he is tying together a story. It’s not a story with big plot arcs and the typical protagonists and antagonists, but a story that says basically:
- Great thinkers draw.
- People freak out when they are asked to draw.
- Drawing doesn’t have to be scary or hard.
- Drawing is fundamental to being human.
- By learning what Dan teaches, you’ll be able to think more clearly by using visuals and drawing.
Its not Goldilocks, but it does flow and helps you see the problem and how there is resolution to the problem.
I think it’s really to important to understand the value of story in screencasts. The story helps to convey the message and move the viewer toward their goal. Even simple stories can help do that. Think through – what’s your story? What flow is going to help you convey your goal?
6) Finally, it’s subtle, but did you hear the music he uses. I didn’t really notice it at first, but he uses it to keep things moving along. Notice that throughout the video it dips in and out depending on the point of the video. The music never overwhelms the narration (which is critical). At some points it actually cuts out completely to emphasis the narration or the speaking. Sometimes it feels a little rushed, but Dan’s got the fundamental concepts right. And as much as I didn’t first notice the music, his talking stands out when it’s not there. Get some tips on editing your music in Camtasia Studio.
What do you think? Any great videos you’ve seen lately that inspired you?