Evoking Action through Corporate Training Videos
Video can be an excellent tool for corporate training, and the benefits go far beyond distributing information. If done well, video is the best communication medium outside of an in-person meeting to actually stir people to action. Many companies use video for training without realizing all it can accomplish. They approach it as a tool to simply dispense facts. There’s nothing wrong with this tactic per se, but if a company invests in creating training materials, they should accomplish more than just sharing information. They want to move trainees to action, whether that’s developing a new skill set, embracing a new company initiative or any other behavior that requires the trainee’s commitment long after they watch the video.
The big difference between videos that simply share information and those that evoke action is the emotional connection between the speaker and the trainee. No matter how technical a training topic is, it’s still critical for viewers to feel emotionally connected to the speaker on screen. Think about it: Trainees are being asked to adopt a new skill or behavior that will have a positive impact on your company. The skills will likely also benefit their personal career journey, but you hope trainees will use those new skills to help move your company forward, now. They will be more motivated to help achieve a company’s goals if they feel connected to the leader and the company’s larger message.
To be sure, in-person training is ideal, but it’s not always possible. Video communication is the next best format, because it offers some level of human contact. In fact, when planning a training video, think of it as an in-person session that happens to be recorded. You won’t have the benefit of live interaction, but the speaker should communicate as if he or she were connecting with someone in person. The following essentials will help.
Keep it human.
Resist the temptation to rely on slides, heavy text or graphics. Use them sparingly, only when absolutely necessary. Any text- or graphic-heavy information can be distributed as an addendum to the video. Try to have the leader of the “tribe” speak if the training is specific to one company or department. If the training content is out of the leader’s realm of expertise, he or she should offer a brief introduction, and then turn things over to the expert trainer.
Authenticity is everything.
Authentic communication is the key ingredient to making an emotional connection with viewers. Speakers need to be comfortable in their own skin and show that everyone is working together toward a greater goal. When introducing a training video covering content beyond their expertise, leaders have a perfect opportunity to be authentic. They should be honest, show their vulnerability, and show they care for the company and its people.
Here’s an example: “My background as a nonprofit leader didn’t prep me for the world of SEO optimization, but I know it’s critical to our company’s growth. Every new client who finds our website has the potential to help enrich our community. I hope you’ll embrace the new skills you’re about to learn and carry them with you throughout your career.”
Connect through stories.
Stories connect with viewers in a way that not much else can. Training videos always have room for brief anecdotes that reinforce the company’s values. They’re also excellent for reminding trainees that the company is a place where they would like to grow.
Keep stories short and personal: “As a child, I dreamed of helping people who were injured in combat, like my grandfather was in World War II. I never imagined I’d fulfill that dream by working in plastics, but I absolutely have: We help make prosthetics that transform people’s lives after they return home with a serious injury. You’re about to learn about the latest in 3D printing technology, and I suspect the details won’t always be entertaining. But remember: This isn’t just about plastic. It’s about every life we help to improve with our new technology.”
Trainees will swiftly forget what they’ve heard if they’re not moved to unite around a shared goal. Learning a new skill – whether it’s Java or employee management – requires time, energy and the will to help a company move forward. Connecting with leaders, human to human, will help inspire that dedication.
Vern Oakley is CEO and creative director of Tribe Pictures and author of the book “Leadership in Focus: Bringing Out Your Best on Camera.”