Using video to communicate with employees
Using video to communicate with employees is a very valuable part of any internal communication strategy. It isn’t a new idea but love it or hate it, video conferencing became much more common during lockdown and now we are all more familiar with being on screen.
It is not an easy thing to do. I’ve been a public speaker for many years, giving talks and seminars in front of hundreds of people but I turn into a bumbling idiot when looking into a camera. So what are the secrets to producing interesting good quality content?
Sounds obvious but it really does work! If you are using video to communicate with employees you must first feel relaxed and confident. Or as relaxed and confident as you can be at least!
Just grab your phone and start recording yourself talking about anything. These videos will never leave the safety of your phone storage, their purpose is to get you used to looking at the camera rather than yourself in the screen and feeling more comfortable with the result.
Let your eye line roam a little, staring at the camera intently whilst you recite content can come across a little… well, creepy!
Start alone at first, get used to the feeling of recording yourself. Then, when you’re feeling more confident, move to a public space and repeat the process. Hold the phone boldly – don’t try to secretly record yourself!
3 items that will make your internal communication video look and feel more professional.
Lighting. A must on every filmset in the world is good lighting, even when filming outdoors and it will make a real difference to your videos. You can buy selfie ring lights that clip onto your mobile phone for as little as £15. Alternately you can get mini stands with halo lighting built in. Good lighting makes you look good, which in turn will improve confidence!
Tripod. Set your phone or camera into a stand so there is no distracting wobbles, no moving out of shot and no arm ache! Using a tripod with a phone or monitor mounted webcam frees up your hands for gesturing. Hand movement is an unconscious thing you would do if speaking face to face so freeing up your hands will relax you.
Microphone. Either invest in a good microphone or utilise the one in your earphones. A microphone eliminates external noises like wind and means you won’t find yourself talking loudly or unnaturally.
Do your preparation
Have a storyboard in mind before you start.
Film makers don’t just turn up on day one with the actors and start filming. They have scripts, storyboards, rehearsals and plans which they produce before filming begins.
Speak to colleagues or maybe run a quick survey to conclude the best way to go about using video to communicate with employees. What information would make their workday more enjoyable or productive? Find out who they want to hear from; is it the Managing Director, direct line managers or industry leaders?
I know this may seem a bit much for your weekly internal communication round up but your video content will be produced far quicker if you have a basic storyboard and agenda to follow rather than the classic “winging it” approach. Once you’ve got a storyboard have a pre-recording run through without the camera rolling. When you’re happy with the flow you can produce the content with no interruptions.
Don't fly solo
Release your inner chat show host.
Getting colleagues involved with your video content via employee or senior management interviews is a great way to relive any filming tension you may experience and increase overall employee engagement.
Without the emphasis on the camera your internal comms content will look and feel more natural in an informal chat setting. Making it more watchable and less staged.
Paralysis by analysis
Using video to communicate with employees is a really valuable tool in your internal comms strategy but remember you’re not remaking The Shawshank Redemption.
Unlike written or image based internal communication content, video seems to fall under a whole new level of post-production scrutiny. Resulting in very long lead times and worse, not releasing the content at all!
You are not Steven Spielberg, unless you are, and by some miracle you’ve stumbled on this blog. In which case, I’m a huge fan sir! The rest of us have to expect our internal communication videos to be slightly rough sometimes, for them to have places you’d love to redo. The key here is to let them go and publish.
Don’t get stuck overthinking. A video that is 95% perfect and released will improve employee engagement and company moral. A video that is 5% wrong (in your eyes) and not released will do neither.
Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…