How an Impromptu Video Can Sometimes Be the Best Means of Communication

As a technology and training manager, I often create online training videos on a variety of topics, but recently I had an interesting problem to solve:

The problem

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A client is facing a pending software migration to Office 365 and they had to make some quick decisions to solve a particular issue his team has been facing.  We were asked to research potential solutions and our team drafted a 10-page report of qualified research listing the potential options.  The problem? The person who needed to make the decision was out of the office and would only return two days before the migration was scheduled.  This was a busy individual and we knew that it was very unlikely that he would have time to read the report, make a decision, and give us enough time to implement the solution.  At best, we would only have a few minutes of their time, so we decided to create a video to demonstrate our proposal in a concise and organized manner.

Drafting the story

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I read through the report and broke the concepts down into a series of key points.  I then created a script and produced the video.  When I do my training videos, I usually create a detailed outline and only put a few full sentences in of specific things that I want to say. I usually don’t draft a full script as it can be harder to sound natural and often be more distracting to try to read the script and demo the software at the same time.  In this case, we decided to draft the full script as we wanted to be as concise as possible.  We also chose to send the script to the customer as well as the video.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Once I finalized the script I produced the video in Camtasia. I am a big fan of TechSmith‘s products and I regularly use Snagit to create training curriculum.  In this case, I needed greater editing power and chose to use Camtasia instead. The video is a powerful tool because our customer can quickly see and understand how the solution would work in their context and make a decision.

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I recently read a fabulous book by Chris O’Leary entitled Elevator Pitch Essentialsand was reminded how important it is to keep the needs of the customer in mind when choosing the delivery method.  Chris stated this need excellently:

“The problem is that people are busy.  Just like you, they have too much to do and too little time to get it all done.  What’s more, it never fails that the more potentially helpful someone is, the busier they are likely to be. If you want to be successful, you need to take this problem seriously; you need to figure out how to communicate your message in a way that will catch the attention of someone who has 17 other things on their mind.”

Although Chris was speaking in the context of an elevator pitch, I believe the same concept applies here.  Just as we need to make sure we are concise in our presentation, we also need to make sure that we choose the right medium to deliver the information.  In our case, it was much easier for our customer to see the solution and make a quick decision rather than trying to read and visualize what we were recommending.

Photo credit : uditha wickramanayaka Jeffrey James Pacres

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