You may prefer to watch the video of this post instead of just reading it:
Humans are naturally audio-visual creatures. We are born with an instinct to parse our world through sight and sound. Yet it takes years of training to learn written language, which are essentially shortcuts to our visual vocabulary.
Writing is a marvelous invention, but its role is destined to become more narrow and specialized in the future. At the same time, the role of video in everyday communication is going to dramatically increase. Here are five reasons why:
1. Video is Far More Engaging than Text
We much prefer to consume video over text. Just compare the number of movies you’ve watched over the last year to the number of books you’ve read. The reason is simple: A well crafted video can concentrate the experience of reading a long book into a much shorter amount of time. Video can also deliver a level of impact that a book cannot, simply because it engages more of our senses at once.
2. Our Attention Spans are Getting Shorter
It’s not our fault, there is simply so much more media to consume these days. As a result, video’s ability to deliver more information in a shorter amount of time is going to win out in the long run.
The other interesting feature of video is that it is easier to consume passively. You can watch a video lecture or news program while eating dinner, and easily absorb most of the content without and trouble. With a smartphone, you can also consume video from pretty much anywhere.
This passive nature also means that people are more likely to consume your information through video when they are tired after a long day's work.
3. Video Production is Now Free, Actually it's Better than Free
If you bought a smartphone anytime in the last 3 years, you already have an entire video production studio right in your pocket. Couple that with free online services like YouTube and Vimeo, and you now have the broadcast capability that rivals even the biggest movie studios.
These days, you can even earn a portion of advertising revenue from the videos you post online. What was once inconceivable is now trivial. Just ask all the folks who make cat videos.
4. Your Customers and Colleagues are Going to Expect Video
Look at the example of video lectures. They once used to be a backup in case you missed the actual class. They are now fast becoming commonplace and actually preferred over live lectures. The idea of “flipping” a classroom is quickly catching on in schools across the globe: Where students watch their lectures at home, and spend their valuable time in class working on problems with their teacher’s personal supervision.
In business, we are right now crossing a tipping point where video is going to become the norm. Once enough websites have a video introduction, all websites are going to have them, just to stay competitive. Once someone in the office realizes they can more effectively spread their great idea with a video instead of another long email, everyone is going to expect it.
So why wait? You can be the one to lead your organization through this transition, instead of having to play catch up later.
5. Video is More Human
None of us have any trouble engaging in a conversation with a friend or colleague. This is after all, the core of what it means to be human. So why do many of us struggle with so called “formal” writing? Try reading a typical business email or website out loud. Why do they sound so impersonal and even somewhat alien?
The reason is that it’s hard to convey your exact meaning or mood in writing. As a result, we are forced to err on the side of caution. We don’t want to give the wrong impression or accidentally alienate someone. So we avoid being too casual, or appearing uncertain about things, of being too human in our writing.
Video changes this. We can now communicate in our natural way again. This is not only more authentic, which our audience already expects, but it can be far more accurate and precise.
What Can You Do Today?
Start by practicing recordings of everyday topics you are already familiar with. Here are three simple exercises you can try, check them out. I'm sure that before long you will be connecting with your audience in a more meaningful way. The extra bonus is that recording videos can also be a lot of fun, and even liberating.
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