Reality check: Video is not the answer to your internal communication problem
They say that communication is only 7% verbal. That means that video communicates at least ten times more than a written message alone. Paralanguage (tone, rate, pitch) , gestures, eye contact, facial expression, posture, stress and intonation all come in to play. The true personality and feelings of the person speaking are communicated and this can mean greater empathy and a much greater effect on trust.
That’s why, out in the real world, video is huge. YouTube is the world’s second most popular search engine as people are actively looking to watch videos online.
So why wouldn’t you use video for an internal communication from your senior execs?
If you are trying to communicate an important company message then all of this peripheral communication is going to distract, get in the way or potentially change the message. Rather than listening to how the company is performing most viewers – if they have got their headphones to work, the network hasn’t toppled over and they have sustained interest past the first three seconds – they are probably thinking “Wow – He looks much shorter than I thought, and hasn’t he got a squeaky voice?!”
In this situation, video is also going to be less practical for the audience – they need this information to be:
- easily referenced
- scanable and skimable – so people can take the key points without the full details
On the other hand, if the main objective isn’t the message but actually creating rapport with or engagement with the individual then you face a different problem; why would anyone take the time off work to watch a video about nothing particularly important?
For most, watching video in the office is either impractical (call center workers who need to be on the phone) or frowned upon (desk workers don’t want to be seen ‘watching videos’ and visibly not working).
Video will never kill the text star
The majority of corporate videos don’t suit consumption in a corporate environment. Televising an hour long conference or meeting requires the viewer of the video to take an hour out of their day to view something which they can’t scan or skim through first. Yes – creating short video chapters, interesting excerpts etc does make it better but still not as good as just writing it down and letting people read the information.
Text has other advantages over video too; it can be indexed by the search engine and printed, and people can link too or copy the interesting or useful sections they want and easily share them through email or add them to a presentation or document. Text is information people can work with whereas video is information you have to just sit back and consume.
Is video always the medium of the lazy communicator?
Of course there are situations where video works. Say you need to communicate details of your organisation’s latest TV advertising campaign – video is pretty essential! But it needs to accompany the message, not be the message.
Other good uses we’ve heard of include training videos for complex tasks where what’s visual is important – like how to use the staple function on the printer. The Fire Service have also had success with videos to demo new equipment – but I suspect that, if you are a hunky fireman talking through how to keep you and other people alive, you are more likely to get views than any aging accountant with a comb over will talking about a corporate strategy.
Video or chips?
Given the costs involved in making your organisation video friendly and legal (sound cards, headphones, network upgrades, mobile streaming servers, transcription and closed captioning software to meet Equality regulations, the list goes on) and that video rarely offers anything over and above what a well written article ever will. We’d advise your valuable budgets would get a much higher return invested in other things – like an extra team member, some user research or some team training.