Breathe Deeply!

We come across a lot of very stressed-out people at the side of the stage or in front of a video camera.  

We feel it’s our responsibility, not just to create an amazing space for a live event or meeting, but to help the presenters deliver their content as well as possible.  

Of course, the same goes for producing a great piece of filmed content too.


So, how do we help our ‘stressed-out’ presenters control those nerves, when this awaits them?

Firstly, it helps to understand what is happening when we get tense and nervous about speaking to an audience or in front of a camera.


The language and/or concepts that we have formed in our heads are ‘telling’ our brains that this is a stressful (or in our brain’s language “dangerous”) situation.  The old part of our brain, the amygdala, then kicks in.  It’s our fight or flight response.


Neuro-transmitters in our brain trigger chemicals to be released as our body prepares itself to react physically.  Our breathing becomes faster and more shallow.  Our heart rates rise and our blood pressure goes up. Those chemical signals also flood our bodies also fill with adrenaline.  None of this is helpful when we’re trying to stay calm and relaxed.  The most destructive thing that our body does, though, is ‘switches off’ to a degree our pre-frontal cortex – that’s the part of our brain that does all the clever, creative thinking.  The part that we really could use when we’re standing in front of a camera or an audience.

This is all runs through our autonomic nervous system, without our conscious direction.


Most of us probably can’t slow our own heart rates or lower our blood pressure through thought alone.  We can, however, control our breathing!  This is a part of our autonomic nervous system and also reacts to our conscious control.


So, when you’re about to perform, let’s help reverse the pattern of fight or flight.  Let’s be mindful about our breathing.  Here’s how:


Breathing Technique

Firstly, most of us breath into just the very top parts of our lungs and miss perhaps 2/3 of the area that we could use, so this technique is helpful in life generally as well.

  1. Stand up and place your wait evenly on both feet.  Relax your body, whilst maintaining an upright posture.
  2. Imagine, when you’re breathing in, that you’re breathing into your stomach.  Your stomach moves outwards and your shoulders remain still, relaxed and lowered.
  3. Breathe deeply into your stomach, through your nose*, for 4 counts.  This can be a little quicker than 1 count per second.  The longer your counts, the more control you will gain, but do this at your own pace and ability.  If you feel light-headed at any point – stop.
  4. Hold your breath, gently and calmly, for 8 counts.
  5. Breathe out for 4 counts, through your mouth**.


* Your nose has fine hairs that are designed to trap unwanted particles in the air from getting into your lungs, so it’s good practice to do this anyway.

** Breathing air out of your mouth allows you to breath a larger quantity of air in the same time.  You’re breathing out a lot of carbon dioxide, which can become poisonous to us anyway, so again, it’s good practice to breath out deeply as well as in.


Do this 3 times, then allow your breathing to return to normal for 15 seconds or so, then repeat the whole sequence twice more.

This will help to fool the amygdala into believing that the situation is no longer a dangerous one and that it’s job is now done!  It releases control slowly to the pre-frontal cortex and you return to the driving seat of your own mind!


The amygdala is often referred to as the lizard or monkey brain.  Nobody wants the monkey driving the car.  I heard someone say recently, the monkey can come along for the ride, but they are NOT allowed to drive, play with the radio or choose the snacks!  I like that analogy…


There are lots of techniques like this that can help you to become a better speaker and communicator on camera and in front of an audience.  Find out more, by giving us a call or dropping us an email.



Influencing your ‘Influencers’

Social media, influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is on the rise with your potential customers now 60% more likely to believe your current customers (usually a complete stranger) more than your own marketing or online presence.

Peer reviews are becoming more and more important.  It sounds obvious, but your employees are customers as well and if you aren’t paying attention to the power of your own team to influence your customers, then this is the blog for you.

Your own internal team are right there and ready to engage with the world on your behalf, if you give them the opportunity and motivation to do it. In fact, they are probably already doing so, whether you like it or not. So, as with everything to do with social media, it’s better for your business to engage with it than let it go on without you.

So these are just a few ideas to help you give your team reasons to start promoting your business on your behalf.

Ask your employees to write blogs, create vlogs and podcasts

Ask everyone in your business to help create the outward messaging.  They’ll connect with it more and are far more likely to share it on their own social channels. Give them advice and support in doing it. Give them the time and facilities to make it happen. Give them the authority to write and produce commentary that they feel appropriate. We’re assuming here that you have already created a culture where your employees want to write and say nice things about the business. If not, then we have a blog for that too!

Ask your junior team members to ‘interview’ your senior leaders

This connects to the previous idea.  Again, the key is to allow for open and honest discussion.  If your leaders are not willing to be honest, your junior members of the team will spot it immediately – and if they can, so will your customers.  Again, if it’s a piece of work that your team members are helping to create, they will be more willing to share it themselves.

Consult your employees on business decisions

OK, so maybe not every decision, but getting your teams invested in the company and in its intellectual leadership, will create a powerful connection, This will give them the sense that they are helping to influence the direction of the business and their own future. Actively listen to your colleagues and staff

This sounds obvious, but it’s so rarely done well.  Leadership is difficult and time is very precious, but one of the most important things a leader can do is to ‘actively listen’ to their people.  That means, putting the phone on silent, being present in the room with the other person and engaging with them.  They are representative of your whole company and your customers – without them, your business dies.

Create and engage two-way communication with your people

This is a whole topic in itself. The key is to open up channels of communication so your colleagues can feel like they have a means to connect with the senior team, at a time that suits them.  To complete the circle, your leaders need to respond, fully and compassionately.

Create a ‘reverse mentoring’ scheme

We recently ran an event where a speaker had talked about a successful ‘reverse mentoring’ scheme they had set up in the business.  Simply put, as you would imagine, a junior team member was mentoring a senior leader.  It was so successful, the business renamed it – ‘Mentoring’!  This kind of engagement

If you haven’t already done so, try and get an intranet that mimics Facebook!

Again, this is an entire blog in itself.  In a sentence – your teams have every communication platform at their fingertips 24/7.  If your internal communications platforms don’t match up, then they might as well not be there!  The days of ‘push’ communication are gone!


We’d love to hear your thoughts on this and all our other blogs, so please do let us know what you think!



There are plenty of different approaches you can take with a student recruitment video. Having seen hundreds produced by companies in many different industries, a lot are quite formulaic, while others are exciting, interactive or arty.

Choosing the right strategic approach to student recruitment videos is about getting the tone right, to attract the right candidates and portray your company in the best light. Working with a video production company, such as Indigo Blue, helps clarify your tactics and create a personalised and highly successful video.

While the field is wide open for creative interpretations and new video styles, there are some ideas that work better than others. The gold standard of any idea is how it succeeds (or fails) in attracting suitable, skilled candidates from among your target audience. Looking at the student recruitment videos of some of the best performing companies therefore gives some useful insight into what works and what doesn’t.

Here are a few proven ideas you can try when planning your next student recruitment video.

1) Make The Information Representative Of Your Company In General, Rather Than For Specific Departments

This will give your video wider impact and relevance when recruiting for multiple departments. It also avoids giving candidates the wrong impression in companies where departments are sometimes radically different.

2) Use Real Interviews With Employees To Explain Why Your Company Is A Great Place To Work

Have these take place in situ so that graduates can see what your offices are like. Avoid painting a misleading picture, but use a professional film crew to capture your working environment in the most positive light. If your business is a recognised brand, use the video to show employees working on your key products and services.

3) Explain The Typical Tasks And Challenges A Graduate Recruit May Be Involved In

For instance, will they be meeting clients, creating briefs or just making tea? Emphasise the fun and challenging potential of these tasks, while taking pains to be realistic. Set expectations too high and your candidates will be disappointed and unmotivated.

4) Include Clear Information About How The Graduate Can Apply And What Will Be Expected Of Them

Give recruitment website URL links, set out the recruitment process, give interview hints. In other words, make it as easy and painless as possible to apply. Bear in mind that for most of your candidates, this will be their first real experience of the job market, so set their minds at rest and make them feel comfortable.

5) Explain How Your Company Can Make A Difference To The Graduate’s Life

For example, show what valuable experience the candidate will get from the graduate programme, the potential financial rewards, employee benefits etc. As Millennial graduates often have a highly developed social conscience, you can also demonstrate how your company makes a real difference in the world, such as by showcasing your corporate social responsibility policy.

6) Explain The Skills, Qualities And Characteristics You Are Searching For

Your student recruitment video is your chance to put a flag in the sand and attract people that resonate with your core values and skill requirements. The video is part of your selection process, so define these skills carefully and unambiguously.

7) Showcase Your Company Brand

Clearly display your actual office premises, logo, and well-known projects in your video. Be sure that your video harmonises with the corporate colours, fonts and – most importantly – the messages used in your marketing strategy.

Create Winning Videos To Attract The Best Candidates

Creating an effective graduate recruitment video means striking a balance between content, accessibility and high production standards. At Indigo Blue Productions we give you the benefit of more than a decade of corporate video experience to produce bespoke videos that attract the best talent for your business. To find out more, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Graduate Recruitment Videos, a new e-book full of helpful information you can use to create high-performance videos. You can download the guide for free by clicking here.

Was your conference worth it?

Sleepy Conference Audience

Whether you’ve attended a conference as a delegate or you’ve been involved in organising an event, one question must resonate more than any other:

Was it worth it?

As a delegate, of course, your time is valuable and you want it to be rewarded.
As a business, you’re asking your guests to spend time away from their busy working day to spend time with you at your event.   So, we always like to know;

        – What are your guests going to do differently as a result of attending your
       – Did your event create momentum? 

We’re also very keen for your event to create value and for your guests to gain something from your investment and we are not only talking money here.

We’re sure you’ll expect us to be all in favour of running conferences.  Of course we are and we love delivering amazing events for our clients.


Over the many years of delivering conferences we have seen some corkers!  

We have experienced everything from;

  • Speakers that lecture for hours with no interaction
  • Powerpoint presentations that are so complex, you need a magnifying glass to read them
  • Speakers that didn’t put the slides together themselves and hadn’t bothered to read them before they went on stage. (By the way, it was obvious to the audience!)
  • Delegates falling asleep during sessions
  • Speakers sounding so monotone they even looked bored themselves!

This short list barely even scratches the surface!

Now, we’re sure you are keen to make your events effective and so, we created a short list of helpful strategies to keep your conferences interactive and meaningful.  Some may seem obvious to you although sadly, we do not always see them in practice…yet!

Your ‘Magnificent Seven’ strategies for creating momentum at your next conference!

iphone agenda

  1. Make the talks short – 18 minutes is the ideal length – anything longer than that, needs to go into a ‘handout’.  There’s science behind this!  Thinking is hard!  And researchers, from Texas University, have discovered that ‘Cognitive Backlog’ prevents the effective transmission of ideas beyond this point.  If your topic needs to go on for longer than 18 minutes, build in ‘soft breaks’ (videos, discussion groups, Q&A etc.) around every 10 minutes.
  2. Connect emotionally with your talks, tell stories and deliver quality, ‘new’ information.
  3. Give the audience at your event time to connect personally – If your delegates aren’t given enough time to connect personally during breaks, they might as well be watching you present videos on the company’s intranet.
  4. Use the timetable effectively –Productivity is key at work
    and in the same way so is your conference. Do the ‘brain work’ early, when we are more likely to think creatively.  Tell stories as their energy levels drop and create plenty of time for interaction using Q&A and breakout sessions to reflect and discuss.
  5. If you have to use powerpoint – use images or very simple words or phrases.  If it’s an essay, put it in a handout and give your delegates 10 minutes to read it through before you speak.  Then use your session to talk around it.  Remember, a proportion of your audience wants to have the information some time before, so they have time to digest it.
  6. Make it relevant – Does your conference cover topics that relate well to your audience?  Avoid going over topics your guests are already aware of.   Now, technology exists in simple forms, it’s always worth considering electronic feedback that gives you ‘live’ information around your schedule.  Not only can you address topics that your audience find interesting, you can also track levels of activity with your delegates to see where they are engaged and where they are not.
  7. Make it fun! People learn better when they’re enjoying themselves.

It has been said…

“Delivering a conference is like raising a child.  Every single interaction is a learning opportunity”

For more insights and helpful tips on how to run an effective event, please contact one of our team.

Sue Coles
Senior Learning & Development Consultant 
Indigo Blue Productions Ltd

Organising a company meeting? Try these tips…

One of the common issues we find with businesses trying to hold meetings and events is that they believe that they need to get the date and the venue right first, before they really clarify the message that they are trying to get across. 
So, our advice is to take a moment and read the tips below:


Get your content right first.  Before you even think about the venue, the food, the delegates.  You need to understand the message you’re trying to get across.  You’re about to take a lot of people and time out of your business.  This message must be important, right?


Once you know what it is you’re trying to say, now you can take a look at the kind of space you need in which to deliver the message.  This tip ties in nicely with the delegate experience, because in the end it’s all about that experience.  But, for now, take a look at the way in which you want to get you message across and the kind of ‘spaces’ you need to do it.

It doesn’t have to be the same hotel room that you’ve always used.  We know a lot of interesting spaces that could really enhance your experience.  Details of how we can help are just a couple of clicks away!


The delivery of the message is vital – again tying in with the delegate experience.  Think of this about crafting a story to give to your audience.  We live our lives in a succession of short stories in a longer book.  However, we hear, see or experience those stories, the common thread is still the same.  Engage your audience on a journey and they’ll engage with you.

4.Delegate Experience

Now, we come to the most important part of the whole project; the people you’re inviting! Get them on your side by making the venue accessible, the timing appropriate, the food enjoyable and the delivery of the message engaging!

Is the seating comfortable?  Is the audio visual production engaging?  Have you made the message as easy as possible to understand?  Is the environment comfortable (temperature, no drafts, no distracting noise etc.)  If your veue finding agent isn’t talking to you about the delegate experience, you might want to ask yourselves why not?  Is your event as important to them as it is to you?

iphone agenda

5.Professional Host

To help keep your event running smoothly and on time, you should absolutely consider bringing in a professional host, who has experience and knowledge of the conference market.  They will be able to keep your sessions to time and interact with your speakers and panellists to help them engage effectively with the audience.


Once you’ve delivered your message, your task doesn’t end there.  There is almost always some form of follow-up: Did the delegates get the message?  Were they engaged by the way it was delivered?  Are they doing something different as a result?  Are you?  Always have your goal in mind throughout the process.

You might even want to capture feedback live whilst the delegates are engaged with your message.  We can take you through a range of options that are easy to work and fit most budgets.

Graham Wadsworth

Creative Director

How do you engage your delegates…?

Tipping Point Twitter

In an age where there are three generations working in business today, we recognise that using technology is essential to engage a ‘GenY’ population, but your ‘Baby Boomers’ will need something quite different.  Therefore, using a variety of ways to engage everyone at your events is essential.

For years, companies have organised conferences, bringing together their employees who take time out of the business to deliver strategic messages, bringing the audience up to speed with the latest initiatives and rewarding them for a job well done.

In our opinion, as your delegates become more technology-aware, your business conference must stay up to date with the way in which your delegates wish to communicate, if you want to get your messages across effectively.

  • How interactive are your conferences?
  • How effective are your speakers and facilitators?
  • How do you involve the quieter members of the audience to ask questions?

Would you like an innovative and modern approach that gets your audience interacting with you in a way that helps you to gauge the level of buy in at your event immediately?

Well, we have recently been providing our clients with a solution for their conferences and achieving results that impressed them and their delegates.

How does it work?

Feed your audience comments directly to the screen for an interactive presentation

We provide an iPad for each table, group of people or individuals and, where required set up a dedicated Twitter account and hash-tag.  The iPads can be branded with your conference or company logo on.  They can also have vital documents relating to your event that your audience can click on and refer to.

Using the hash-tag, we can track comments that your delegates are making throughout the event from their own twitter accounts.  So, this is similar in concept to the interactive voting pads and text service, but there a subtle but important difference.

Once we have moderated the Twitter feed comments, we can then put them all up onto the conference screens for the speakers to use as discussion topics.

We ask the delegates to tweet questions and thoughts during the sessions.  At intervals, the facilitators or speakers can refer to the twitter feed and get a sense of the audience’s thoughts and take questions from the twitter feed comments as well as the regular Q&A session.

What is the benefit to the audience?

It allows the quieter, more introvert delegates who wouldn’t necessarily have put their hand up and asked a burning question to feel more confident to do so by typing a tweeted question.

Audience members feel they are part of the event and not just being spoken to all day.

Using Twitter at a conference

What is the benefit to the Company?

Sometimes speakers can run out of time and audience members who have questions often don’t get the opportunity to ask their question.

The great benefit of using the twitter feed and hash tag option is that questions that didn’t get answered during the event can be answered afterwards.   Sometimes our clients place a Q&A session on their intranet following the conference so audience members can see the answers to their questions and others from the day.  It is a great way to embed the key messages from the speakers at the event.

You can judge the level of your audience.  When the twitter feeds slow down, more than likely, so has the energy of your event!

If you are keen to encourage your audience to ask challenging questions, you could set up a twitter account for the event and set all of your iPads to use that account.  That way the questions would stay anonymous and potentially you could get to the heart of what people really think.

You don’t have to have someone at the conference writing down the questions, you will have a record of all of the questions from your twitter feed account.

What if a challenging question comes up on the screen that our speaker would prefer not to answer there and then?

That wouldn’t happen.  One of our event crew will sit with a member of your company during the event to ensure that only the questions being displayed on the main conference screens are relevant and appropriate to the environment.

If the question is not relevant at the time or controversial, you may choose to answer that question at a later date via your company intranet or news bulletin.

Can’t I just stick with a more traditional approach, I am not really into Twitter?

Well that’s lucky, because we are!  We are here to help and in an age where there are three generations working in business today, we recognise that using technology is essential to engage GenY and different to perhaps what a baby boomer would want.  Therefore, using a variety of ways to engage everyone is essential

We can support you prior to and during your event to help you set up your twitter account and #tag for your event.
We will brief your facilitators and speakers ahead of time on how it will work on the day.

Finally we will be there on the day so you can stay relaxed and enjoy your event.

We’ve worked with a number of businesses that have engaged this type of technology and both the delegates and the speakers have been hugely impressed by the difference in the way the events have run.

Delegates feel a sense of energy in the room and are engaged by their ability to interact with the speakers in real-time.  The speakers feel a sense of their audience actually hearing them and being a part of the delivery of the speech.

If you would like to discuss how using this technology could help you at your next event, call us today and we will be happy to help.