The reality of modern business is that many of our teams are not co-located. In some cases this is because we live and work in different locations; however, it can also be due to flexible work arrangements that help us balance our lives. This series covers the trade-offs we make to build active, efficient and engaged teams across the divide of location and time.
Tip # 9 Record events for sharing
Few things build a team like sharing an experience. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get everyone together at the same time – let alone the same space. Whilst it might sound obvious to record events, it is something which is still rarely done.
What to record?
The Showcase aims to get everyone together at the same time, even via video. Keeping the immediacy of the event drives attendance. However, where team members, or key stakeholder, cannot be present for structural reasons (time zones, leave, immovable schedule clashes) recording has high value.
Cross-team planning sessions
Some large-scale (e.g. cross team or quarterly) planning sessions may have outcomes where a stakeholder is scheduled to share their views on a topic impacting the team, such as overall goals or business value. Recording and sharing these insights and other relevant introduction and wrap up statements has high alignment value.
“Town Hall” alignment sessions
Hearing stories about issues that impact the whole team together, contribute to collective identity and build alignment. Seeing facial expressions, body language and hearing a presenter’s voice, conveys more information than an email or intranet update. In some cases, being witness to storytelling leads to new meta-stories: stories about how passionate, excited, or perhaps disappointed someone was. Recording these sessions when everyone cannot attend, provides the ability for someone working part-time, or remotely to catch up on both what was said, and how – to connect with the work and the culture.
What should we not record?
Team, content, retrospective and frequent discussions
Outcomes of regular, short discussions and ceremonies can effectively be communicated by updating a web page, distributing minutes or making a phone call. Any absent team members will be seeking summary information like an overview or a list of outcomes. Watching a real-time dialogue would have little value to them.
What to consider with recordings?
Even a smartphone can be a great tool to capture and edit a session. If you miss out on the live recording, perhaps record a brief message recapping the highlights for those who were not present.
Get the video and sound right.
Often the decision to use video to stream, or record a session, is made with little inclusion or agreement with presenters. This provides little opportunity for them to consider how to adjust their behaviour to cater to the video. Engage with the presenters early to let them know your plans and discuss how best to capture them on video as they present in the room. Talk about where the microphones are and where to stand – a taped “X” on the floor is a great way to help presenters be in the frame, roaming microphones help capture the different voice levels.
It is essential that the sound quality is good enough to understand who is talking and what they are saying. Test the audio before the session. A clear recording can bring a team together, a poor quality recording is a source of frustration and can lead to remote team members feeling even more left out.
After the recording, edit and share
To watch a presentation in real-time, takes real time!
With video, less is more, if a video is going to be seen by multiple people or viewed repeatedly, take the time to do at least some basic editing. Simple edits like starting and stopping the video, capturing only the interesting parts, lets viewers access the message and experience quickly. The longer a session, the more critical editing is.
- Consider putting the video on a streaming application, apply security where needed and share the links widely throughout the team
- Ask for feedback
- Check the view counts
If it is not being watched find out why. It could be an indication of poor content or deeper engagement or workload issues within the team. Either way, you will gain useful information for action.
What happens when we don’t record?
Team members who are not included in live communications, or don’t get to experience stakeholder feedback, will not be up to date. Excluding these people, even passively, sends a message that everyone else is OK with them not knowing what is going on in the team or how their work is being accepted.
Any information passed on “second hand” is done so with an interpretive layer. The listener loses the ability to put their own interpretation on the original messaging. By contrast, gathering people to hear the same thing at the same time has power in aligning people with a singular message, a consistent voice.
It’s a wrap!
Have some fun, large groups are likely to have a budding director or someone who loves to share their technical prowess. Accept that the first few attempts recording will be clunky and welcome the inevitable issues as learning opportunities. Sharing the reasons why you are recording, that you want to include everyone in what is going on will be appreciated.