Interview with Paul Weedon: The go-to video expert
Ex top shopping channel TV host & celebrity agent reinvents himself as the go-to video communications consultant
After 25 years in the entertainment and media business, Paul Weedon has reinvented himself as THE go-to video communications consultant and now works with some of the biggest brands in the world. His current client list includes Amazon, Accenture, Britvic, Marks & Spencer, Thatchers, Perrigo, Lancôme, Birds Eye and many more.
In his 20’s Paul was the best-selling shopping host on UK television, and by 29 was Head of Broadcasting for an LA based shopping network in the US. Now 45, and after years as an entertainment agent, he is once again back in front of the camera to show people how to best communicate via video in the new age with maximum impact.
“How we effectively communicate via the screen fascinates me. We are undoubtedly in the midst of a communication revolution and talking with team members, customers and clients via video conferencing is the new key skill that every business, of any size, needs in order to ensure current and future commercial success.” PAUL WEEDON MAY 2021
The main factor in Paul’s rapid success, since starting his company just over a year ago, is the ability to truly understand the medium of communication through the screen. A shopping TV hosts’ end goal is always to connect with the customer in order to directly engage, build rapport and then crucially, induce ACTION. This process can be learned.
Paul has worked directly with 100’s of hugely successful hosts including Joel Dommett, Chessie King, and Vick Hope, and now works with corporate and private clients to help them achieve their specific personal and business goals via video conferencing.
Interview with Paul Weedon
After 25 years in the entertainment and media business, Paul Weedon reinvented himself as THE go-to video communications consultant. I asked him to talk through his success.
When lockdown kicked in last year I realised that I wasn’t going to deal particularly well with being stuck in the house all of the time, so I came up with an idea… Could I hand over my experience in the media industry to businesses, businesses that now needed to communicate via the medium of the screen?
I started to piece together simple learning tips, my first clients gave me incredibly glowing testimonials on social media, and from there some massive multinational organisations reached out to me.
2. You work with some of the biggest brands and people in the world. Talk us through what you have been doing this past year?
I’m very lucky in that some of the big brands identified very early on the need for new skills in this area, for example in the first few months I was already working with Amazon, Accenture and Lancôme. These companies all wanted to understand how to effectively communicate via the screen, how to set up your environment, how your body language and emotions are transmitted differently, and how to really understand the psychology of how people receive messages differently via video calls.
Since then it’s snowballed and my clients now include Marks and Spencer, Britvic, Birds Eye and a whole host of other internationally renowned brands.
3. In your 20’s, you were the best-selling shopping host on UK television, and by 29 was Head of Broadcasting for an LA-based shopping network in the US. What are your favourite moments from your TV career?
Oh, undoubtedly the first time I was on TV.
I’m from a very normal background, born in Birkenhead, and never had any connection whatsoever to the media industry. I started off as a DJ and clawed my way up this ladder that I really didn’t understand, so when I got my first chance to present on television the buzz and the adrenaline is something that I’ve not been able to replicate with anything I’ve ever done since. So at the time it was a massive moment, and looking back it set me up and set me off on an incredible, varied and exciting career, that is still giving so much to me now.
4. A shopping TV hosts’ end goal is always to connect with the customer in order to directly engage, build rapport and then crucially, induce ACTION. This process can be learned. What are your top 3 Top Tips?
1. Stop shouting. The microphone is approximately 30 centimetres in front of you, the person on the other side will hear you even if you whisper. If you’re shouting you are talking ‘at’ the person, lower your volume and you’ll find that you talk ‘to’ that person and you will both feel much more connected.
2. Make sure your camera is level with your eyeline. The amount of people that have a laptop on a desk and therefore look down on to who they are talking to is simply incredible. If they are looking up at you, you are mimicking, emotionally, a ‘child to adult’ or even worse a ‘child to parent’ relationship, not the way to engage with another adult human being. Put your camera on a pile of books, get the camera level with your eyeline and you’ll find that you instantly connect on a more adult to adult level.
3. Remember that you’re in each other’s homes as it’s very easy to think of everyone as being sat in very different environments. Physically, yes of course this is what is happening, however emotionally it’s very different, as in that moment you are travelling into each other’s spaces. Frame it like this and you will go into every single video call with a much more appropriate tone.
5. You have also worked with the likes of Joel Dommett, Chessie King, and Vick Hope. How have you helped these celebrities achieve their goals?
I think it’s about collaboration. Indeed I think everything, if you’re working with other people, is about collaboration. It’s about understanding their needs, their desires, their objectives and then using your own expertise to strategically plan step by step the way to move forward successfully.
6. 2020-21 have been years where people and brands have learned to pivot. What is your advice for anyone else looking to reinvent themselves?
See the positives.
I’m not naive, a number of individuals and brands have had enormous challenges across 2020-21 that nobody could ever have predicted. However, when things change, opportunities arise. I genuinely believe we are surrounded by new junctures as we enter what will almost certainly be known as a communication revolution, and I believe I am testament to how an individual or organisation can pivot successfully despite the challenging circumstances.
7. Video conferencing will be here to stay after we ease out of lockdown. What are your tips for others to be effective using this form of communication?
We all learned to ride a bike, most of us have learned how to drive a car, and the reason we are able to do so is because we took instruction from an expert and practised. Yes, you will reach a level that is appropriate to your natural skill set, not everyone reaches Formula 1 status, and in exactly the same way if you apply yourself you can learn the basic skills of how to communicate effectively via video calls.
8. As we are easing out of lockdown, what are the 3 things you can’t wait to do again?
1 Go to a live gig .
Whether it be music or comedy I just can’t wait for that emotional connection of being in the same space as not just the performer, but also the collective sense of joy that there will be from the whole audience .
2 Go to a football match.
You may be see this is similar to a gig, but I see it as something totally different. For me this is not about entertainment, this is about community in its rawest form. I am passionate about my football team and to be able to stand there and share my passion with thousands of people is going give me a sense of internal emotion that I probably haven’t felt since I first went to a football match at 9 years old.
3 Jump on a plane.
My father lives in Spain and is yet to meet his brand new granddaughter, when we can travel internationally it will give them an opportunity to physically and therefore emotionally connect.
9. What is your top tip for living your best life?
Celebrate the wins.
I’ve been guilty in the past of not noticing when I’ve achieved something because I’m too busy trying to achieve the next thing. If you achieve something, whether it’s as small as cooking a really nice meal or something larger like your next career goal, make sure you stop take some deep breaths, look in the mirror and acknowledge the fact that you are doing really well.
10. What are your plans and ambitions for the future?
To keep doing what I’m doing. That sounds a little cliched, however, I have continually reinvented myself over my career, I have constantly taken things that I’ve learned and tried to move forward with them and I’ve also made sure that I have learned from every single negative experience, of which there have been many. So as long as I keep doing these things, I know I’ll end up in exactly the right place, right now.
PRAISE FOR PAUL WEEDON:
“Paul is an absolute expert in all of the marginal gains that make our digital “frame” inviting and engaging to all. These are ESSENTIAL skills for 2020+” Mark Cowan – Founder at Happen
“Paul brought a wealth of experience and demonstrated a real passion and energy for virtual delivery, having an instant impact on how we communicate with our customers and how we deliver over our virtual platforms.”Martin Thatcher
MD of Thatcher’s Cider
“The fact that you had every single one of us engaged for that length of time, quite effortlessly from my viewpoint, clearly is praise itself and is testament to all that you were talking about.” Adam Taylor – Calor
“Meeting virtually will never be the same again. I hadn’t realised how much I was leaving up to chance. Paul made clear the importance and power of meeting effectively over video.”Olly Jeffers -ACCENTURE
“It’s had an instant impact on the confidence and quality of our external and internal rapport, relationships & sales growth.” Steve Smith – SVP BRITVIC Americas