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Make It Real

The other day I posted a quick outtake, where you see the realisation slowly dawning on my face that I’d completely lost the plot during a recording.

A few people got in touch after seeing that, concerned I was having some kind of breakdown or existential crisis.

Heh heh. No, no! It was meant to be funny.

Well, I found it amusing anyway.

Actually, I posted that clip—for budding course creators, like you—for a couple of reasons:

1. Share your bloopers

It’s a sobering fact that if I post/share a picture of me sat at my messy desk (with tea cup stain by my keyboard and a million wires spilling out everywhere)…

…or a screenshot of a half-finished mind map in the process of planning out a new course…

…I get far more likes/shares/comments/replies than when I publish a “proper” piece of educational and valuable content I’ve spent weeks creating.

Sigh.

The fact is: people love glimpses at your behind-the-scenes, your bloopers, your work-in-progress.

Why is that?

Maybe it’s because it’s easy to feel disheartened, forever looking at what seems like the whole world’s polished finished product? It’s good to see the stumbling mess everyone else is making of all this along the way.

Or maybe it’s because, while the online world connects us all more easily, it can also dehumanise us? The behind-the-scenes stuff adds the element of humanity we all crave.

I dunno really.

What I do know is, I used to hide those moments for sure. I used to think no-one could possibly care about anything but the slick, perfect, finished product, and please don't waste my time, thank you.

But as you’re building your own audience for your own online training, I’d strongly advise:

Take the time to share your work and journey along the way—mistakes and bloopers and all.

It's a great way to document your journey as you go along...

It's a marvellous antidote to any perfectionist streak you may be cursed with (I should know)...

And it brings you closer to your audience, as a real person they can relate to.

All the wins.

2. You can plan and plan and plan…

In the clip, I clearly only realised that what I was saying was a terrible idea while actually recording.

And it’s not like I hadn’t carefully planned what to say beforehand.

In fact, like all my pre-recorded videos, it was pre-planned, pre-structured, even pre-scripted (yep, I was reading off my trusty Glide Gear teleprompter).

One key factor in outstanding online tutorial videos is careful planning and scripting the important teaching points beforehand.

(My biggest bugbear in online tutorial videos is where they've clearly just hit 'record screen' and made it up as they went along... errrr... umm.... errrmm...)

So yes - plan. Script the teaching points you need to clearly and concisely explain. Don't wing it, please.

But planning only gets you so far. It’s taken me years (too many years) to realise this.

Before you fully commit to making a video/course, you first just have to have a go. Just do a trial run. Don’t worry about it being perfect or ‘right’—in fact, you won’t be using this version of the thing at all. Think of it as the quick MVP version.

What you’ll find (if you’re anything like me—and I suspect we’re similar on this) is that even the most careful planning will come undone at the seams when you actually say it out loud and make it real.

Realising this has made a big impact on my attitude and approach to making online courses and tutorial videos.

I now plan/agonise/fret for only about 75% of the time. Hey, that’s a reduction of 25% on my previous form. And then I just get on and give it a go.

I soon get to discover what ‘real life’ thinks about my careful planning. In fact, it turns out that 'real life' often scoffs out loud at my careful planning.

Of course, once I know what real life thinks about my plan, I go back and improve the plan, amend the structure, and edit the script accordingly.

But the MVP trial-run absolutely results in a much better end product....

The end product is produced much faster than if I’d have procrastinated and ‘perfectionised’ for even longer. Yes that's a word - I just invented it...

And most importantly, it gives me the valuable sense of momentum and forward motion I need when making courses—also known where I come from as 'a good kick up the arse'. And we all need one of those occasionally.