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Using video for internal public relations 1

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Peter Thompson
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On a recent visit to Australia, I began to appreciate the value of video and what you can do with it as a management communication tool.

It became apparent to me at the conclusion of my visit when I thought it would be a good idea to get all of the team together for a staff meeting and inform them about some of the changes we were planning.

Three days before my departure, I began to realise that getting everyone together was going to be nearly impossible.

Some people work in Sydney, some in Brisbane, some in Serbia, some were on vacation and one was away on sick leave. I have learned that people feel left out when they do not get the news first hand. Second and third hand communication is just not the same as hearing it directly from the source.

I decided to turn to video and see how it would go. Here is what I discovered.

Firstly, when communicating the same message repeatedly, which happens when you cannot get everyone together, we often deliver an inconsistent message.

The first time presenting we are invigorated and inspired to convey our message, but by the time we have explained something over and over again, we become tired and less enthusiastic which surely must devalue the message. We simply don’t have the energy or time to continue delivering exactly the same message. It’s also a poor use of time.

Are staff meetings doomed?

It became apparent to me that traditional staff meetings could be doomed. If your company is like ours, you will not have one central location where all the team works, so it’s actually impossible or very expensive to have everyone physically together at one place and time.

To add to that, as a service provider our working hours are not so exact and are reactive given what is happening at that moment. I have found that the quantity and regularity of staff meetings has reduced over time as it becomes more difficult to conduct them.

Just think, when was the last time your company had a meeting where everyone was present? As teams become larger, staff meetings tend to become relatively one way communication from the boss or CEO where updates, strategy and news is communicated. It is difficult to have an interactive staff meeting with many people present.

Video is a superior communication medium to email

The written word is often formal, particularly when delivered to more than a few recipients. The language used is different and there are different emotions to those portrayed in person.

Sometimes the message gets lost in the content. A speech of 20 minutes could be the equivalent of 5,000 words which is a lot of typing, proofreading, structuring and updating to meet the needs of typical formal documents.

And to add to that, who actually wants to read a 5,000 word document or email?

From my experience, there are some who read and some who don’t. And if you asked to receive feedback, the response will be mostly something as simple as “Good, I liked it”.

Some of the most dynamic presenters are not always the strongest writers and the written form, the message they are trying to get across from time to time must get lost. How to genuinely convey emotion in a business sense consistently with the written word?

Then there is the additional problem that the message you communicate at the time might not be heard or understood. People will often miss things you say because they simply may not be concentrating or are afraid to put their hand up and ask for clarification.

Another strong positive for the use of video is that people can consume the content in their own time. They are able to pause, rewind and perhaps even fast forward.

Being able to consume the message over and over means they should be able to pick up on complex elements without needing to feel embarrassed they missed something.

Various video platforms

You probably have some concerns about security, such as who can see the video. There is no doubt that sensitive information should not be publicly available and you should be able to select who has access to it. Gratefully, there are platforms out there that take care of all of that.

There are some applications that you will be familiar with such as YouTube but it is more limited in its business use.

There are other business specific video applications such as Wistia and Vimeo that are well worth a look. It will cost some money for the use of it, but it will be a whole lot cheaper than getting all of your team together at one time.

Give it a try and see

With nearly every device coming with a video camera and free software, it’s not hard to make a new video.

At first, it does seem a little unusual to record yourself but after a few attempts there will be improvements in the delivery. As the consumer gets a chance to watch the video in their own time, so does the creator. It’s easy enough to make a few takes and upload it to your video sharing facility.

 

There is no doubt video is the future.

♦ End

About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson founded GCOMM in 1996. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering/Information Systems from Griffith University and his MBA from Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Holland. He believes in building great teams of people, both in business and socially.
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  • Lorna Ryan

    I agree, your video was a great approach Peter. Here in Australia we also received videos from our colleagues in Serbia, such a good way to connect and understand each other and a nice way to make elements of a remote team feel connected.