9 ways to start your knowledge clip and capture your audience’s attention

By: Veerle van Pinxteren · 3 May 2017
Category: Distance learning, MOOC, Video

“In this clip I will present arguments in favor of and against plant breeding”. A good introduction for a knowledge clip, right? The learner will instantly know what(s)he can expect from this clip and which topics will be explained. Nothing wrong with that, right? But what if I said it is?!

The start of a clip should be appealing and trigger the learner to watch the whole clip. In that sense it is not so different from a regular presentation: you need to grab the attention of your audience! In this blog, I will give you 9 ideas for the introduction of a clip (and yes! There I use this phrase as well, but after I triggered you with an example in the heading of this blog, I hope… 🙂 )

  1. Act as a television presenter.

Use teasers! With teasers I mean the kind they use in television shows: ‘After the break you will find out why horizontal farming will come to an end.’ Teasers are a means to make people stick with the show during commercial breaks. You can do the same in your video: make them want to watch the video until the end by using a teaser in the beginning of your clip.

I read a blogpost about this three years ago, and I still remember it. Why? It explains three very simple but good ways to start lessons, including the teaser example.

  1. Bring something (strange) that supports your message.

Starting off your clip by showing an object that relates to your subject is a good way to catch the eye of your audience. They will think: Why did (s)he bring this object? What does it have to do with this subject?

A nice example of this comes from Emiel Wubben, watch the first 46 seconds of his clip:

  1. Make a promise (and keep it)

‘After watching this clip, I promise you will have at least two business ideas’, could be a way to start off your clip with a promise. Don’t forget to come back to that promise at the end of your clip. For example: ‘And? Do you have two more business ideas after having seen this clip? What are they?’

  1. Involve your audience

Watching a video from behind your computer or smartphone is probably not as personal as being in class. To make your video more personal, try to involve the viewer. Ask a question like: ‘What do you, me and this cup have in common?’ and then go on with your story (without immediately giving away the answer of course!).

  1. Use the word ‘imagine’

‘Imagine you live in a world where waste doesn’t exist…’ could be a nice start of a video about the circular economy. The word ‘imagine’ encourages your audience to visualize something, to be in someone else’s shoes, to dream about possibilities, …. and they will want to come on this journey with you where you talk them through the real-life challenges we face to make this dream a reality.

Watch an example of this in this clip from Maria Barbosa:

  1. Use quotations or (shocking) statements

Use a powerful quote or statement to trigger the attention of your viewers. Start for example with recent research findings that are related to your topic: ‘In a new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology …’. Quotes from well-known movies, books or famous quotes could be used as well. Type in ‘quotes’ in Google Images or Pinterest and you will find a great amount of quotes.

  1. Start off with a question

Show a question on the screen or ask your audience a question yourself that make them want to keep on watching to have the answer. To what question does your video provide an answer? An example of a question could be: ‘Why is moving towards a circular economy an urgent matter?’ Start off with that question and make your video possibly even more triggering.

  1. Use a picture

A beautiful shot of a sunrise in the morning, a shocking image of a mountain of waste,… Every image that catches the eye of your viewers and that is related to your topic could be used here. Start off with this image and use it to support your introduction.

Please be aware that the images you use should be copyright free. Need inspiration? Good images can be found on:

  1. Keep it interactive

Even if you can’t talk directly with your audience, you can still make your presentation interactive. Ask questions during your presentation that make your audience need to think things through and make them active viewers of your clip. You could interrupt your presentation with questions like these: ‘What is your opinion on the matter?’ ‘Did you ever consider …?’ ‘What are for you the most important reasons …?’

I hope I have inspired you with some useful ideas for starting your knowledge clip.

What is your favorite way to start a knowledge clip? And do you have any additional ideas? Please share them in the comments below!



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Veerle van Pinxteren

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