Are you using video now more than ever before? I know that’s the case for many organisations as we live with COVID-19 and adjust our channels accordingly.
In a recent survey from the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC), 92% of Comms practitioners using video or conference call to communicate the impact of COVID-19, rated it “very effective” (64%) or “effective” (28%), making it the most effective of the Comms channels the IoIC profiled.
If you’re looking for advice and guidance about using video, you’re in the right place. I have a guest post for you today from Keith Riley-Whittingham. I’ve also included links to some of the articles I’ve published on the topic of using video over the past 11 years.
Keith is the Internal Communications Executive for DWF law firm in Manchester, UK. He’s worked in communications across a variety of sectors including Financial Services, Travel, and Legal Services since 2012. Outside of the office Keith enjoys hiking in the Lake District with his partner Neil and dog Remo or tinkering with his 4×4. You can find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.
I’ll hand you over…
How to use video for your Internal Comms
I know that using video as a part of a successful communications matrix isn’t a new concept but love it or hate it, video chats are how we do things now and we’ve all had to adjust to being on screen. But, I think that’s good news for us as IC practitioners. Our people are becoming desensitised to the screen which gives us a wider group of people with which to deliver our messages, people who ordinarily would have point-blank refused.
But practically, from a lockdown position, how is that possible?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve recorded updates from our international leaders using the tools we already have to hand. You probably know that Microsoft Teams (or Stream) and Zoom both have record functions, but even FaceTime on a Mac is recordable with a little hack. All these tools are perfect for the job and with a little setup, will help you deliver authentic and trustworthy messages from your leaders to your people.
I know it can be daunting so here are some tips and ideas to help you get the best out of your video when filming remotely.
Further reading: How to use tech to communicate with employees during COVID-19.
Storyboard. I know this seems a bit ‘much’ for a quick video update but don’t leave this step out. I’m not suggesting you do a full shot by shot creative, but do have on paper what you want your speaker to say, the points they need to cover off and the soundbites you must hear. Make sure everyone participating has a copy when you ‘go live’.
Test and test and test again. If you have time, test with a member of the local team before your recording. If you can, try it in the morning and afternoon. We are all online at the same time which means internet bandwidth will be dedicated to different services throughout the day. You can also use this to check the quality of your recording and be familiar with how it will be saved. If something isn’t right, you still have time to switch platforms.
Have a pre-video chat, video chat. You do not want to spend the first 20 minutes of your recording looking for a better room in your CEO’s home so make sure to have a quick briefing before you do the real thing. Keep in mind how your message needs to land. Remember, if it is the slightest bit finance focussed, ask your speaker not to use the nicest room in their house (they will thank you later).
DON’T FORGET TO HIT RECORD. As you use the time to talk through the outcome that you’re trying to achieve, the recording will capture everything exactly as it will when you do it for real, allowing you to check how it all looked and sounds in your own time.
Have a checklist. In the absence of being able to walk into their office for a quick chat, everyone will be vying for the boss’ time, that likely means you have one shot. Write down everything from ‘is my camera off’ to ‘have I pressed record ‘ even have your questions and soundbites on there too and tick each item off as you go. Anything that is left quickly tells you what you need to revisit before your hang up.
I’m lucky because I love editing and so have all the programs I need to do it. If you don’t have that skill in your team then don’t be ashamed to outsource it to your normal video supplier (they will be glad of the work), or even to your teenager. If they are using TikTok, they can edit and the app store has a good amount of cheap apps that will do the job.
We should do everything to a high standard but nothing we do has to be perfect, so it’s fine that the video will feel like it has been done on the fly. Just call it ‘authentic’ and be proud you got it done.
Here’s a look at my filming set up…(I love the fact Remo is in this pic – Rachel).
Video doesn’t activate itself. I know this is obvious but sometimes we (me included) forget that whether it’s on email, via your intranet, or shared on Yammer we still use our main channels to present this kind of content to our people.
That means we don’t have to cram every message into those precious few minutes. Use the copy to set the video up and keep the speaker focussed on the important points. That will allow you to edit heavily if you need to but still get your messages across.
Post author: Keith Riley-Whittingham.
Thank you for sharing your secrets Keith, I know this will be valuable for many readers. If you want to get in touch, you’ll find Keith on Twitter @itskeithriley.
I’ve been using video over the past few weeks to record content for my All Things IC Online Masterclasses. My studio of choice? My spare room as we’re observing the UK Government’s lockdown rules and staying home. Here’s a look behind the scenes. Add your name to the wait list to find out first when they launch.
I’d love to see your home studio and where you’re running your Comms from, feel free to Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
Further reading about COVID-19 via the All Things IC blog
- How to prepare your employees for the future
- How to communicate with remote workers during the pandemic – featuring Naomi Jones
- How to connect your people
- How to thrive in internal communication
- How to communicate business as unusual
- How to communicate with furloughed employees
- How to use messaging in the workplace
- Video: How to encourage your leaders to be virtually visible
- How to run a virtual Town Hall – featuring Jo Bland
- How to do whatever it takes
- How to communicate COVID-19 working patterns
- Free crisis communication guide
- How to use technology to communicate with employees during COVID-19
- Where to get accurate information about COVID-19.
Further reading about using video via the All Things IC blog
- How to encourage your leaders to be virtually visible
- How to use video to communicate culture
- A guide to using video for internal comms
- Five-and-a-half things to know about video
- How to use video effectively for internal comms
- How video can save lives.
Thank you for stopping by,
First published on the All Things IC blog 27 April 2020.