Power of video in employee communication
Power of video in employee communication

How to add true power to your next event video or 'talking head'

Video series: The power of video lies in the content, intention, and delivery, not in the tool itself. If you are new to shooting videos these tips can help you make your next ‘talking head’ or event video more engaging.

By: Simon Charles Quintal, Senior Creative Advisor & Video Specialist (February 9, 2018)

To many, video production feels like something reserved for the digital natives or professional production houses. However, you can tap into tried and tested knowledge behind this elusive craft or art form that can help you to understand and utilize the power of video in your corporate communication.

Video is just a technology as a pen is a tool. You can point a camera at a blank wall and call it a video but that does not make it interesting in it self. Video is not interesting. Content, intention, and delivery is what makes it worth your audiences’ time. Done right, video can communicate more than just information. The sum of the whole is so much more than each part on its own. But it requires preparation, ideas, and a dose of risk taking.

Create memorable and impactful moments
Chances are that your first ventures into video are recording an in-house event such as a company day, conference, or staff meeting. Something you want to remember and be able to share afterwards. Just like that video of your 4-year-old interpreting songs from The Lion King.

The other video production you likely will be involved with is ‘the talking head’. A form of an interview, maybe with your CEO, that delivers a message to be shared with the organization. Something that should have an impact and a feeling of passion for the message. Just like The Lord of the Rings, produced by 4,000 people working on it for two years full time – a beast of technology, story, drama, and effects. Almost.

Both video formats are safe because they do not necessarily require any real consideration of style, story, or packaging. But you should always take a moment and think about if that is what you really want. Does it have the impact you wanted? Is it memorable? Does it encourage your organization to engage with the message and maybe even be moved so much to take action?

1) The event video
Okay, your next project might be to document an event or a meeting. The word document means to record everything and keep it for later. But the novelty wears off very quickly and from a technical stand video takes up a lot of space on a hard drive. Sorting through hours of footage can be daunting. In a corporate setting there might be limited value in communicating look-at-what-happened in a 1:1 ratio. When was the last time you spent your evening watching a two-hour staff meeting filmed with a stationary camera?

So, add layers, context, voices, questions, and critique to the mix, and boil the entire video down to 3-5 minutes. There is a good chance that the viewer might have questions or reservations about the subject matter. As your audience cannot ask the questions to the event, it is your job to ask the questions in the video through interviews, a host, or graphics added afterwards. The crux of the matter is that the video needs to be thought of as video utilizing the strengths instead of the limitations. Again, we connect with people, with intention, story, honesty, authenticity, and delivery. Make the five minutes count.

2) The talking head
Reality often plays out like this: You are recording a ‘talking head’ with your CEO. She received a script a few minutes in advance – written by someone in communication. She changes the wording a bit to make it hers, but in essence she is rehashing a corporate message created by someone else. If making a video is a new venture, then just seeing the CEO in front of a camera might be interesting but lack of training and commitment makes it a disengaging experience for the audience. Or even worse, it becomes awkward and cringeworthy.

Where video and messaging shines is when you feel the person in front of the camera, when the words spoken and the body language are soaked in honesty, intention, and focus. Sure, being very articulate helps but it is far from being the most important element to a good talking head video.

A talking head video can be really powerful because of its intimacy. For a few minutes, you have the audiences’ undivided attention. Think about how powerful that is. Two minutes to deliver a message so important that it was worth the money and time to produce. Encourage storytelling, putting a personal spin on it, personal experiences, examples and most importantly, talk about something that matters. It is not easy and it requires practice. But it is worth it when the viewer has a feeling of being told something important by someone who cares about the message.

Next level after event videos and ‘talking heads’
If your organization is responding well to video, the next level is to actively use video as a way of communicating stories about the company and its employees. Examples of this could be a core story video and impact videos featuring employees and customers. It could be small interviews, portrait films, or animation.

If video, or rather the people making it, communicate with authenticity, commitment, and a true intention to share an important message, then video can be an exceptionally powerful way of reaching employees and be the glue that binds your communication efforts together.

More about this in the next article in our series about impactful videos.

Video is more than a tool and pressing the right buttons. Video is visual storytelling. In the next weeks, we have a special focus on corporate video and the impact videos can have on your employee communication. This article is the first in this series. Stay tuned.