Send The Right Message: Video Chats For Open & Honest Communication
Recently, a friend of mine posted on her social media feed that a guy she had been seeing had left a warm and lovely phone message on her voicemail. A message that was fully intended for someone else.
Her story got me thinking about how we communicate using technology. My first thought was that if he called her on video chat, he’d never have made the mistake of leaving the wrong message for the wrong person in the first place.
But my second thought was about how using video to communicate is changing our lives. Video can show us things about ourselves and about each other that we can’t communicate using any other medium. Video is also the closest thing we have to face-to-face communication, our primary mode of communicating for thousands of years.
Internet video is a way to virtually mainline that emotion directly to people anywhere in the world. The Internet is the biggest magnifying glass and most powerful megaphone human beings have ever had to reach other people on an individual scale.
According to Pamela Meyer in her book, Liespotting, 80% of human communication is non-verbal, and body language accounts for 65% of that. Is it any wonder that wacky videos on YouTube have struck such a nerve in the collective consciousness of the entire world? We’ve never before had the ability to communicate so much emotional information on such a broad scale, and we’re able to do it because of video.
Here at Magnet Media, we produce a lot of video, and a lot of video that is meant for the Internet. But we’ve also been busy producing live interactive video chats in the form of Google Hangouts on Air.
Hangouts on Air are live video chats conducted between specified participants, and can be broadcast live via YouTube to an infinitely wider audience. Hangouts give people the opportunity to interact in real time, listen to each other, and get feedback from people in ways that might not be possible in other media.
But there’s also something else about hangouts, which is part of why Hangouts can be so powerful.
It’s very hard to lie on video. More specifically, it’s very hard to lie in an interactive video chat without your audience noticing and paying attention.
Yes, we see people lie on television everyday. But we aren’t engaged in a direct interaction with the people on television. We can’t always ask the questions that will make those pundits squirm.
However, in a Hangout, FaceTime, Skype, or any other live video chat, the added element of direct interaction–of being able to see the person we’re talking to and know they see us–increases the sense that we are being told the truth. Or, if we’re being lied to, it becomes apparent because we can see the body language and the facial expressions.
The flip side is that when people are being genuine, and their message is communicated with authenticity and genuine conviction, we can establish a deeper degree of trust with our audience because we are interacting with them directly, and they are receiving a higher percentage of the emotional value of that message. The more authentic and accessible we are in a live setting, the more authentic our message actually appears.
Recently, Magnet Media assisted the production of a live hangout with Michelle Obama for her “Let’s Move!” campaign, and there was a moment when a third-grade class asked what her favorite dance move was. Like any political appearance, moments like that are often heavily scripted. Nevertheless, Mrs. Obama responded that “the dougie” was her favorite move and she got everybody on the hangout to do the dougie in a lighthearted and somewhat awkward moment. But the moment was spontaneous enough that some of the experts on the hangout with Michelle laughed in spite of themselves and got into the moves in a way that you don’t really get to see on television.
That ability to peer “behind the curtain” with a live hangout is one of the best tools out there to disarm our audience and ourselves. By establishing an open and two-directional flow of information, we can reach people in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Like any live media, there are risks associated with live broadcasting, but the rewards of genuine interaction with an audience and the opportunity for “truth-telling” are such powerful benefits that they far outweigh the down sides.
And, unlike my friend’s unfortunate and out-of-touch ex-beau, can really save us from sending the wrong message.
Is your brand using video to effectively communicate its message with consumers? Let us know in the comments and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
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