3 Tips on Keeping Internal Communications Professional AND Authentic
November 8, 2018
So video’s for the marketing department, right? It needs to be polished and fancy and created by a team of professionals. No one has time or money for that for just internal communications.
Wrong. Video today has become one of our primary forms of communication. It’s how our families talk to the grandparents, it’s how our kids talk to their friends. We learn tips about makeup and cooking and car repair and exercise from people shooting videos with their phones in their bedrooms and garages. It doesn’t need to be shot with expensive equipment or edited with professional software any more than our emails need to be created by a professional graphic designer. Today, it’s all about authentic video, including authentic internal communications.
Why Use Video for Internal Communications
What it does do is create more of a sense of personal connection. Seeing a real person’s face, talking in their normal environment, makes us feel like we actually know them. It builds the relationships that hold a team together better than text ever could. It gives us a sense of context and authenticity. It creates trust and makes people feel like they belong to a group of people instead of a faceless organization.
It also holds our attention better than any other medium. We’re wired to respond to faces, and to movement. Video is more engaging and memorable than text or even just audio. When you want people to pay attention to a message and then actually retain it, video is your answer.
Video is also information-dense. It’s easier to convey complex concepts, especially ones with an emotional component. What’s going to be more effective at rallying the team? An email with the quarter’s results? Or a video in which a delighted CEO congratulates everyone, beaming, with a graph of the results in a picture-in-picture?
3 Ways to Make Authentic Internal Communications Videos That Are Still Professional
So let’s start with the technical aspects. I just told you that you don’t need a fancy studio. It’s actually better, for routine communications, not to look too polished. You don’t want to look like a slick commercial that was filmed with some actors. What you want is authentic internal communications videos. You want to make people feel like the speaker is in the room with them, sitting right across from them.
1. Let real people look real.
So encourage your speakers to wear their normal clothes. If your organization is a suit and tie kind of place, then they should wear their blazer and pearls. But if you’re more a graphic tee and jeans environment, wear that. Go ahead and use the webcam in your laptop or your phone to record your presentation.
Where should you be doing this? Wherever you are. You don’t want to film somewhere where whatever is behind you is more interesting than your message, of course – try not to have people making faces in the background, or a really messy office. But it doesn’t have to be a sterile environment. It could be your desk at work. It could be your home office, or your kitchen. As long as it’s not too distracting or unprofessional (don’t have your unmade bed in the background), giving people a sense that you’re letting them into your environment will make them feel more connected to you.
Don’t be afraid to show a little personality. The purpose, remember, is to make people feel like they’re making a real personal connection.
2. Treat it like a one-on-one conversation.
Be real, and be casual. Talk to the camera like you would talk to your audience, if you were sitting in a room with just the two of you. It doesn’t have to be super scripted. It doesn’t need to be formal.
Plan out what you’re going to say, of course. And if you mess up really badly, the nice thing is you can always stop and start over. But you’re not an actor, and you don’t have to get out a bunch of lines perfectly. It’s ok to stumble over a few words. It’s ok to smile, and to laugh, and to make a joke. You want the audience to feel like they’ve just had an interaction with a real person, not a bland figurehead.
3. Do a test shot.
But. You do want to come across as professional. So if you’ve never done a video in this particular space before, do a quick test shot. Turn on the camera, say a sentence or two, and then watch it.
Is your face covered in shadows, or washed out by the light from the window? Are your kids running around in the background? Did you leave confidential information on the whiteboard behind you? Can you see your underwear through your shirt in this lighting? Is the air conditioner so loud you can’t actually hear what you’re saying?
If you’re not happy with how you look and sound, better to make some adjustments BEFORE you get all the way through your spiel and send it off and then notice the spinach in your teeth.
See? It’s not that hard. Of course you want authentic internal communications videos. But that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on professionalism. You can put your best foot forward without hiding your authentic self. And it doesn’t need a lot of fancy equipment. Go make some great videos!
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