4 Steps for Making a Great Training Video (Hint: Story Structure is Your Best friend)

Everywhere I go, I see people who do their jobs really well. Sadly, these company rock stars are not used often enough in training others. A great option is to have them create bite-sized training videos that share their expertise easily. Short training videos may seems too hard or time consuming… unless you use these 4 simple steps.

Fortunately, employees at the top of their game are seldom shy about it. Given the chance, they’d love to share the secrets of their success. The problem is how to capture that knowledge on a video, so everyone can benefit. Thankfully, there’s a solution, whether you use Storyvine, an automated video-creation platform, or a more traditional video setup. This very simple (and tested) story structure is a recipe you can repeat over and over again. Repeat it and you will quickly  build an effective library of great video training content.

Record the following 4 “Story Beats” as separate video takes or segments for each training topic you want to capture.

1. Introduction

It sounds basic, I know, but always start with your name and title. If the location is relevant (or even if it isn’t), give the city you’re in. Be sure to end with the training topic or subject. In Storyvine, visual titles for these elements can be built into a template and customized, but you can also add them in a simple video editing app.

It’s really important to remember one point here: A good video is never done in one take. You can do multiple takes of the whole introduction, or of different parts of the introduction. You don’t even have to shoot everything in chronological order! Once you have a few good takes, string them together in a video editing app, or combine them in a Viddler seamless playlist.

2. The Topic Setup

This one’s simple, but often overlooked. Tell the audience what they’re going to learn, and what they will need to know to do a particular task well. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about ingredients for a restaurant worker or elevator pitches for a salesperson, you’re saying “here’s what’s coming, and here’s the amazing thing you’ll be able to do.”

Again, don’t be satisfied with the first take. Do a warm-up take—or two. Mix it up. Have some fun. Use the opportunity to create your own style. Your topic setup creates the overall tone. Hopefully it also shows that you’re excited about the subject and want your audience to be excited too.

3. The Explanation

This is the “how” part of the video. It can be a process, a series of steps, or a demonstration. Try to stay away from on-screen bullet lists. There’s no better way to kill audience excitement than with a PowerPoint. If a checklist is essential, make it into a handout or other document and provide it separately. (If you’re using a video learning portal like Viddler, you can associate these documents with your training video!)

The explanation should be as simple as you can make it. Remember, you’re telling someone how to do one thing, not everything. And, yes, multiple takes are a good thing. If you’re going through a step-by-step process, don’t be afraid to to each step separately.

4. Wrap Up

With short training videos, you’ll need to explain the benefit of doing the task this way. If the task will be followed with another, then you’ll also need to give them a heads up. For example, “In the next video, we’ll talk about how to serve (or store) the sauce you just made.”

What’s powerful about this approach (with or without Storyvine) is that it breaks down your training into manageable “chunks.” You don’t have to think about anything other than sharing your knowledge. You’re free to share your story without having to think about where to start or what’s next.

Another interesting thing will happen. Once you start using this model a few times, you’ll instinctively start to think this way. Your brain will start breaking information and processes down into focused, high-quality, and easily “digestible” training nuggets.

Oh, and your colleagues will still think you’re a rock star!