Efficient and Effective Communication through Streaming Video

originally posted on Concept Hub

Video has become a prominent part of our Internet experience. Video is also becoming a common means of communication within large and/or dispersed organizations. However, just because video has become much easier to capture and post on the Internet does not mean it should be taken lightly when it comes to effective communication.

I just came across an interesting case study on StreamingMedia.com

Case Study: IBM Takes Webcasting to the Desktop

It was created by Interactive Video Technologies, and they claim;

‘Literally anyone who can use PowerPoint can now create a very professional video-based presentation that is put up in all the right formats, all the right bandwidth parameters. It’s put up in a way that is hosted properly. And that person is able to check their statistics—who came, who registered, how they answered the polls and questions. All those things that are normally handled by webcasting experts and production people, we are putting into the hands of everybody. So it is becoming an enterprise application that is changing the culture of how people communicate.”

This sounds very “empowering” but there are a few issues I can think of off the top of my head.

  1. Most people are camera shy – even executives and those who are used to presenting to large crowds. For these people, it is essential to have a professional behind the camera that not only can put them at ease, but also make them look great. Which leads me to point number
  2. Have you seen those people on YouTube? Yes, some of the videos are entertaining, and some are produced by professionals or semi-professionals. But for the most part, many videos cannot hold your attention for longer than a few minutes. If a video is produced poorly it will not hold people’s attention. Even if it is produced in an easy and cost-effective manner, the video is a waste of time and effort if it does not communicate the intended message to the intended audience.

Now I am not saying every video needs to be professionally produced. IVT surveyed IBM regarding their use of videos.

At the beginning of the pilot, Kahan conducted a survey asking his 5,000-6,000 users a few questions, including the purposes for which they were then using webcasting. This resulted in four main categories: General Information Flow, Training, Support, and Effective Meetings. At the end of the pilot, he conducted the survey again. Among the changes that most surprised Kahan was the number of people who were using IVT Studio to improve their meetings.

He found that large numbers of IBMers were creating and distributing on-demand pre-meeting presentations that contained preliminary information related to upcoming meetings. This information helped all participants to be better prepared for the live face-to-face meetings when they arrived. And consequently, the meetings went a lot smoother and, perhaps more importantly, faster. Nobody likes being stuck for hours at a time in a meeting room, and IVT Studio helped to streamline IBM meetings, according to Kahan

Videos that are long or have critical content such as training and executive information not only needs to be produced in such a way that people will stay tuned in, it needs to be delivered in a way where people will retain the information. This includes breaking information down into bite-sized chapters, adding some interactive components, and creating a presentation that is interesting and perhaps even entertaining to watch.

Think back to middle school when you had to watch some of the driest, outdated, and boring videos for health or science. Do you recall any of the information? I bet not. I bet all you can recall is how bad the videos were. What lasting impression do you want to leave for your team?