5 Tips to Improve Communication with Video

With just a smartphone, screen capture software, and an easy-to-use video editor, literally anyone can make effective and engaging videos.

Even before we were all teleconferencing from our basements due to the COVID-19 quarantine, video had already become one of the most efficient and effective ways to share knowledge, show someone how to do something, or educate one or thousands of people on a new concept or system.

Videos don’t have to be perfect to be effective. In fact, in our recent research on video viewing habits, we found that poor quality was not a major reason that people stopped watching a video. 

People crave good content, and when your video delivers great information presented in an efficient and effective way, most viewers will forgive you if your video doesn’t have that professional polish. 

The key words there are “efficient and effective.” 

You don’t have to be a video professional to create great videos, but there are some simple ways you can improve your videos right now—no pro skills required.

1. Stop Rambling 

Ever had one of those conversations where you get halfway through a story and you suddenly can’t remember why you started telling it in the first place? Sometimes when we make videos, we start out talking about one thing and then five minutes later realize we aren’t anywhere near the point we were trying to make. 

That’s not time-effective for you or your viewers. Avoid rambling or going too far off your point by writing a script. Even a solid outline will help. And writing it out before you hit Record helps ensure you don’t miss anything critical.

2. Focus on One Thing at a Time

It’s tempting to shove as much content as possible into a single video. Unfortunately, it’s not helpful and can even confuse viewers by giving them too much information. They won’t remember it all, and you risk losing their attention.

Instead, focus on one topic or idea per video. You can still discuss complicated ideas, but don’t get lost in a tangent or down a rabbit hole. If there’s more information to share, you can always make another video that focuses on that. 

3. Take Your Time

Look, most of us aren’t thrilled with the idea of being in a video, even if it’s just our voices. So it’s only natural that, once the camera is recording, we tend to speed up. Some of it may be nerves. Some of it may just be that we want to get it over with. Whatever the reason, speaking too fast can make it difficult for your viewers to understand what you want them to know.

Slow down. Make sure you’re properly enunciating each word. Pause occasionally as you would in normal conversation. Breathe. Let your audience absorb the information.

You may want or need to increase your energy level, depending on the topic, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to speeding up.

4. Show Something

While your audio is certainly important, let’s not forget this is video—an inherently visual medium. Show something that adds clarity and understanding for your viewers. 

If you don’t have fancy graphics, just show your (or your speaker’s) face. It’s a great opportunity to add personality and make a connection with your audience. It’s perfect for subject matter experts or when you need to be the face of the message.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Edit

Other than the most informal quickie one-off videos, almost every video I make requires at least a little editing. But relax—editing doesn’t have to be difficult or complex. If you make a mistake during recording, you don’t have to start over. Just take a breath and pick up again where you left off. Then, after you’re done recording, do some light cutting to remove your mistakes. 

It’s better to edit a little, getting rid of unwanted or unneeded parts than to leave it in. 

But remember, this isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can have quick cuts and imperfections while still conveying your messaging.

Video Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

I do a lot of traveling for various conferences and other speaking engagements, and I hear a lot of misconceptions about video. It’s too expensive. It’s too hard. It’s too time-consuming. 

Video certainly can be all of those things. But it doesn’t have to be. With just a smartphone, screen capture software, and an easy-to-use video editor, literally anyone can make effective and engaging videos.

Just apply the tips listed above and you’re well on your way to making great videos!

Matt Pierce is Learning & Video ambassador at TechSmith Corp., the go-to company for visual communication. TechSmith empowers people to create remarkable content to share knowledge and information. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has more than 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith.