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When you’ve seen one awful video, you’ve seen them all.

With business videos, it’s easy to discern which videos are good and which are bad. There are lots of common reasons why some videos are just plain awful. But there are also plenty of videos that end up ruined by the smallest of things.

Here are the top five things that really kill a video or distract viewers, resulting in either a negative viewing experience or, arguably worse, a forgettable one:

1. Lots of dead air sounds

Uhm. Like. You know…. This is bad…
Viewers are fairly forgiving of a few slip ups, but when there are more “uhms,” “likes,” and “you knows” than one can count, the old saying comes to mind, “Practice makes perfect.” Dead air sounds are common among everyone in everyday speech. But in order to deliver a message with impact and keep viewers on their toes, you must cut dead air sounds from your speaking and practice your script until you can perform your whole dialogue flawlessly.

2. Mismatched audio, visuals and messaging

More color, more noise, more action! …but wait, this video’s supposed to be about flu shots.

While it is tempting to add flashing lights, cool sound effects, and that awesome guitar solo you recorded a while back to your videos, your better judgment would be not to. When there is incongruity between your video’s audio, visuals and message, viewers get confused and lose focus. The audio, visuals and message of your video must work together in harmony before your video can have a positive effect on your audience.

3. Long, drawn out points

So he said, she said, and then this happened, and there was this other thing…

It’s really amazing how short viewers’ attention spans are, especially in this digital age. If you cannot give your viewers the information they want to hear in a clear and succinct manner, you will have wasted their time. This isn’t a formal presentation where you have to take up the full 15 minute time slot the organizers gave you. No one’s going to throw stones if you’ve wowed your audience with everything they need to know in less than two minutes. In fact, if you’ve managed to keep them engaged for that long and end on a high note, you’ll leave them with a memorable experience.

4. Making contradictory or false statements

The cat is black. No wait, the cat is blue.

If you make two contradictory statements or one blatant lie, then your audience knows you’re just full of garbage and they lose confidence in what you have to say. Viewers are likely to call you out on your complete ignorance or passively tune you out and forget they just wasted several minutes of their time listening to whatever it was that came out of you.

5. Offensive material

While most people are now desensitized to foul language in mainstream media, many people certainly get uneasy around touchy subjects like religion, racism, and sex. For example, when you hear a racial slur used, it’s probably a very natural reaction for you to cringe. When an ESPN anchor, in reference to Asian American basketball player Jeremy Lin, used a racial slur on air, everyone took notice. The network later apologized and suspended the anchor for 30 days while another employee who published an offensive headline with the same racial slur the anchor used was fired. While you might not need an army of Public Relations specialists to clean up your mess if you publish a video with offensive material online, you can be sure that your viewers are going to walk away in disgust.

As a video marketer, you certainly don’t want to create a video that’s so bad your viewers’ natural reactions are to reject its content and forget the experience ever happened.

To produce a successful business video, edit out any junk that will turn viewers away and re-shoot footage as necessary.