15 Seconds

I want to ask you a question.  I want you to think before answering the question.  Are you ready???

Who are you?

Can you answer it? I bet you can't. I bet that if you had to really take a hard look at yourself, you could come up with some form of an answer …. but can you really answer it?

I am asking you this question today because in reality, it's the single most important question you have to answer and you only have 15 seconds to do it.

Let me explain…

It's that time of year when we seek out opportunities.  We seek employment, we seek recognition, we seek rewards… we seek out companionship.  The average person pays attention to a sentence for no more than 10 seconds (if you are lucky) before making a decision about whether or not you will do business together, become life long friends, or if you are worthy of even being apart of the conversation you are currently having.  It's very sad, but it's also very true.

New Workshop from Jeff Bradbury
New Hands-on Workshop from Jeff Bradbury

I was recently at an edtech conference giving a presentation on how to give a “promo.”  For those unfamiliar with the term, a “Promo” is a term that is often used in wrestling for “promotional speech.” Think of your favorite wrestler on tv. He has to be larger than life. He has to be an actor. He has to get you to buy into whatever it is he is selling.  He has to make you take out your wallet and pay for something you are already getting for free.

You see, a wrestler is only as good as his mouth.  He is only good to the company if he puts backsides in seats and converts dollars into merchandise sales. Think of yourself watching wrestling on tv. How long do you give yourself before you might decide if you want to “buy” what the wrestler is selling? My guess … 15 seconds.

Now, lets take a look at your next job interview. You get all dressed up.  You have your presentation all prepared. You are ready to rock the house with your bad self.  What is the first question you KNOW they are going to ask you.  Answer: “Tell me about yourself.”

You know it's coming, you prepare for it … yet somehow, the answer to this question is far more important than anything else you did or will be doing for that employer.  The ability to properly tell someone about yourself will make or break you.  And (you guessed it) you have only 15 seconds to do this.

Why the big fuss?

Recently, I began presenting on the topic of actually giving presentations.  It's something that I love doing and for as far back as I can remember, I have been in love with being on stage in big situations.  My latest presentation is called “Learn To Give a Presentation Like a WWE Superstar!”  In it, we learn the art of standing up and speaking in public.  I am amazed at just how many educators … or as I refer to them, professional speakers, are afraid of getting up in public. Yet, every day, these very people (you yourself perhaps) are paid to stand up in front of the most difficult audience in the world (kids) and be an amazing, engaging, presenter.  Is there an art form to this? Of course there is.

Secondly, I have noticed over the last few years that friends of mine, and even complete strangers who find me on social media have asked me to help them with their application videos to groups such as Google for Education Certified Innovator, Apple Distinguished Educator, PBS Learning Media, and Microsoft Innovative Educator. Each of these applications are similar.  There is a written component where you have to describe your teaching environment.  You may have to create or show off some type of lesson plan to identify your strengths in the classroom.  They also have what I call “The Dreaded 1 Minute Video.”

Many applicants stop right here and don't even fill out the application. They are nervous, they are unprepared, or perhaps they have never put a video together showcasing their professional lives.

I'm writing today to help turn this video into something much more manageable.  Although I won't give you all of the secrets, tips, and tricks to getting into these prestigious groups (you'll have to see the presentation for that), I will tell you that it 100% begins and ends with the first 15 seconds.  So tell me … Who Are You?

What is a minute … really?

Lets break down the general video requirements.  It usually goes something like this:

Create a 1 minute video about yourself highlighting why you want to be in our group.

Pretty easy you think …. Well, lets see how this goes.  For the last 15 years, I have been creating these types of videos.  I have done it for education, I have done it as an orchestral conductor, and I had to do it to even get into college.  In order to fully understand how to create a 1 minute video, you need to break that minute down and understand what goes into a full 60 seconds.

This blog post is only going to focus on the first quarter of this video.  The first “15 seconds.”  A 1 minute video “can be” broken down into several ways, however the majority of the time, you are breaking it down into 4(+1) equal segments.  The first 15 seconds of this video are your opportunity to introduce yourself to the judge and tell them the most dynamic and exciting thing about yourself.  “My name is Jeff and I am a teacher” … is great, but simply not engaging.  Ask yourself … what will make YOUR videos stand out when a judge, or panel of judges are looking at sometimes dozens if not hundreds of videos.  What is your 15 seconds going to look like?

A suggestion … start with a script … and rehearse …. and rehearse … and rehearse.

Video applications aside, we will always find ourselves in a social situation where we meet someone and they ask the question “So … what do you do?.” You always need to have a canned response to answer these questions.  Doing your video is no different.

My name is Jeff and I am the BEST THING that has ever happened to education

… no, that won't work

Hello, my name is Jeff Bradbury, and I love teaching and I am the most dynamic thing you have ever seen!

… nope, too much energy, and can't back up the claims

Hello … My name is Jeff Bradbury and I am excited to be here today.  For the last 5 years, I have been working towards a goal of providing every educator on the planet a free opportunity to learn how to better help the students in their classroom by creating podcasts, online courses, and sharing my passions at conferences such as this.

… ok … a bit wordy, but you can see where I'm going with this.

Here's the point… 

Get in … Get out … Give them exactly what they need to hear.  Give them your best 15 seconds. I recently had a conversation with a friend who, when being asked to put together a 1 minute video, produced something that was more than 9 minutes.  When asked about it, the response was “Well, they will either take it or leave it and if they do … good for them”

On another application that I just happened to be judging, the question asked for a 1 minute video. The applicant actually gave a hyperlink to a 1 hour webinar and wrote “My answer to these questions lies inside of this video”

Needless to say … don't do this.

Lets Work Together

If you are interested in discussing your application with me, I would love to help you out.  If you are interested in having me come to your organization or conference to talk about this and the other 45 seconds of your application videos, I would also be more than happy to meet with you.  My goal with this blog is simply to help you focus your answers so you can become whatever it is you want to become in your life or your career.

For more information, please visit my new website: JeffreyBradbury.com.  I would love to work with you.