5 Tips for Video Messaging

video calling for freelancers

Video messages are a great way to communicate when working remotely. They are useful for a brief update or explaining a complex issue, and you don’t need everyone’s schedules to sync up for it to work. It might solve a few technological problems that come when the only options are to call someone or send an email. They give a lot more context than an email or a text message, as you can use body language and tone of voice to inject a much-needed human touch to remote communication.

Video messages can be informal catch-ups as well as used for more formal presentations. Even if you are sending an informal message, there are a few easy ways you can up the production value and help you effectively get your message across. But when is it okay to send a quick casual video and when does it require a bit more planning? Here are some examples of both styles of video message.

Informal messages

These types of videos can be recorded on the go, without much planning or scripting. Don’t worry if there is the occasional “um” or “ugh”, you won’t need to go back and delete it. This helps to show a more human side to the digital workspace. These are great for time-sensitive issues. These include:

  • Sending an update or announcement
  • Asking or answering a question
  • Demonstrating a specific tool or feature
  • Pointing out a problem or how to solve it
  • Contacting a candidate or introducing a new hire
  • Pre-meeting prompts or questions

Video messaging by its nature is a little less formal, now recorded at your desk or your kitchen table. The main goal is to get the message across quickly, so no need to re-record five times if it isn’t perfect the first time. It is the digital equivalent of leaning over your desk to chat to your colleague. Don’t overthink it.

More formal messages

Sometimes it is worth putting in a bit of production value for a more sleek and polished video. This kind of video needs a bit more thought put into it, like writing a script and practising it a couple of times. The types of videos you might record in this style include:

  • Instructional or training videos
  • A presentation
  • A pitch deck
  • Introductory video to a new client or potential hire

The same way you would treat these situations a bit more formally in real life, you would do the same for videos. In these types of videos, you want to take a bit more time when planning the look and the tone of the recording. Here are five tips to add a bit more production value for those videos that need a bit more planning:

Look the part

Even if your office has a casual dress code, it is good to think about how you present yourself on screen. This is especially if you are sending it to a potential client or employer. It’s not the day for the ‘Hell’s Angels’ T-shirt or one with swearing all over it. Have a shower and do the same grooming routine you would for work. This puts you in the right headspace and helps you to look your best. While we are talking about aesthetics, make sure there isn’t anything distracting in the background. You want people to focus on your face, not your ‘Firemen of the Year’ calendar.

Write a script

It is a good idea to plan out what you are going to say. You don’t have to write it word for word but at least the main talking points. This will make sure you hit all your main ideas and won’t repeat yourself. It might be a good idea to practice it as well. Record your practice go so you can watch it back to see how it relates from page to screen. Also, your first take might be the best so save it anyway. It is okay if you stumble over your words and want to delete and try again. You can always edit it afterwards as well. You can check what you said in the transcription. We wrote a blog about how you can get the most out of it.

Go somewhere quiet

Try and find a quiet place to record, or use a pair of headphones to reduce the amount of noise that comes through. You can always re-record if someone knocks on your door or if you have to sneeze.

Adjust the lighting

You don’t need to have full Hollywood level lighting, the people watching the video just need to be able to see your face. Natural light is a good option if possible. If not just make sure that the light source is coming from in front of you, so you aren’t backlit.

Position the camera

Make sure that the camera is in a good position, ideally your face should be in the centre of the screen. Don’t have the camera pointing at your chin. If you’re recording from a laptop have it on a desk and not on your lap so it is at a good height for the camera angle. You also want part of your torso to be in frame so it doesn’t look like you have a floating head.

Video messaging might take a minute to get used to, but it won’t take you long to see that it is a really useful form of communication. Being able to go back and watch your presentation lets you see it from the receiver’s point of view. They are easy to record and edit. Great for a casual catch up, but if you need it to be a bit more formal, it will be worth putting in that extra bit of effort. On Watch and Learn you can create and send video messages with the click of a button.  

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