How many work meetings have you attended in the last week? Was it a good use of your time? Were you engaged? Did you contribute valuable insight that led to change or action?
Or did you mentally check out while counting up all the other vital jobs you could be doing instead?
I wonder how many of us have ever felt like this woman who was interviewed by researchers for the Harvard Business Review? She reported that she resorted to ‘stabbing her leg with a pencil to stop from screaming during a particularly torturous staff meeting’?
Obviously sometimes meetings are necessary and, done well, they can be productive, collaborative and even inspirational.
But with almost half of respondents to a study stating they’d rather visit the dentist or endure a nightmarishly long commute than attend a status meeting, there are clearly some meetings that need dropped from the schedule altogether.
Use video to cut down on meetings
If you want to cut the number of meetings you have or make the meetings you do have more effective, I’d suggest using video as a key part of your internal communications strategy.
First let me stress I don’t mean using Skype instead of having a physical meeting. This may cut travel time and cost for your team but it’s just a meeting in another guise. People in Skype meetings are just a prone to waffle and waste time than in a ‘live setting’. If not more.
What I mean is delivering a focused message via video that your audience can view in their own time (within a set timescale where necessary) and which leads to greater connection, collaboration, and action.
Video now accounts for 80% of all internet traffic. It’s how we most commonly access information in our personal lives. This cultural change should be having an impact on how you run internal communications in your organisation.
Whether you’re a senior leader trying to carry people along with your vision or a department head who needs to regularly update their team, presenting your ideas on video can be a powerful alternative to calling a meeting.
The advantages of video
Firstly, video gives you time to craft your message for maximum impact and edit out unnecessary distractions. If you want to bring your team along with you and welcome your employees into a shared vision, then it pays to spend time constructing that message and delivering it with passion.
Secondly, video lets you look your audience in the eye. Even from the other side of the world. Viewers experience your expressions, emotions, tone, body language. All of which are vital for complete comprehension and connection. Furthermore, this direct eye contact lets you address each person in the audience individually which can help your message connect on a much deeper, more personal level.
Finally, it can improve collaboration and speed progress.
A good organisation runs on diversity of thought and collaboration. As a leader you can’t autocratically make decisions. You want the input of your staff. There needs to be dialogue.
Video can really help with this.
If collaboration and action is your goal then finish your video with a call to action. Ask for questions, action points, suggestions from your team. Make yourself available through several channels to make it easy for people to share their ideas or ask questions. Set a deadline for this feedback and then share it in your next video.
It might be that this process of sharing a video and gathering feedback replaces certain meetings altogether. But in some cases it can act as a precursor to a more effective meeting.
Think how much more productive your meetings will be when you use a video to kickstart people’s thought-process towards finding solutions or implementing change? It gives you a head start meaning your meeting will achieve its objective and probably in half the time.
Case study connecting remote teams: Bullhorn
A great example is from Mike Restivo, Chief Revenue Officer of Bullhorn. His leadership style was very personal. He liked face to face interaction but his team worked remotely so running regular meetings just wasn’t an option anymore.
Video was a way to connect. He started posting regularly on a private YouTube channel: team updates, promotions, sales figures and new accounts.
The impact was that his remote team reported feeling more connected to him. They felt they understood him personally and that he came across as authentic.
What’s more, they often shared videos amongst themselves and with family and friends leading to a greater sense of pride in their work and a shared sense of values.
The unexpected impact was a greater confidence amongst staff when it came to using video themselves. One sales rep saw the potential of video and recorded a video for clients introducing herself. She sent that out with her emails and saw an increase in replies.
How to get started making videos for internal communications
Technology is no longer a barrier to communicating regularly with video. The camera on your phone is as good as many professional cameras. Even the selfie camera on most modern phones films in full HD now.
You might prefer to use the web camera on your computer which is also a fine option. If you’re going to do a lot of this you could invest in an HD web camera.
I’d suggest investing in a clip on microphone for your phone or a USB microphone for your computer. Don’t let poor audio ruin your message.
And finally, a desktop tripod to hold your phone steady while you speak.
If you want visuals to be part of the video you can start by simply recording your screen output. Free software like OBS studio or Loom are relatively easy to set up and let you record a powerpoint presentation at the same time as recording your voice and face.
I’d suggest that the most important skill to learn is how to craft your message and present it to the camera with confidence. This is a key leadership skill for the 21st century and certainly one worth investing in for you and your staff.
We offer presentation skills training which can be tailored to your needs. We can focus on presenting in front of an audience as well as presenting on camera. We look at how to craft your message, how to film on your phone, and how to leave your ego and nerves at the door so you can connect authentically with your audience.