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How and why to use video-feedback as a leader (and what tools to use).

How and why you should use video over text in most feedback as a leader and the free, easy-to-use software you'll need for the transition.

Søren Vasø Hansen

Søren Vasø Hansen

Giving feedback is a delicate job. It takes practice to be great – and in the high pace digital workspace, the ante has gone up.

Today, we often give feedback on email, Slack, Teams, or other written places. Places where letters rule and suppress our other vital feedback options such as tone of voice, body language, and facial expression.

That’s why I turned to video some years back.

It has most of the benefits of expression and adds more depth in your feedback, using other tools than just words.

If you want to leverage digital to speed up the process of feedback, here is how you should do it and what to watch out for:

3 barriers most encounter with video

Standing in front of a camera is hard for most people – leaders included. So let me give you some leverage to push you over your barriers and into your video a-game.

#1 — I'm not comfortable on camera

My best answer to this: you’ll learn. I promise. When you start doing this regularly, you’ll remember that it’s not about shooting a video. It’s about giving feedback, and then you do it the same way as if you sad across someone or was writing an email.

But to get you started, here is a wonderful guide on how to relax in front of a camera.

#2 — I don't have the right equipment

Sure, you do. You have a laptop with a camera. That’s plenty. And if you want to spice it up a nudge, an excellent webcam (the one I use) only costs 60$.

And sound? Use your phone headset. It works like a charm.

And you can look good with this simple trick: make sure the windows are in front of you, not behind you.

Here is the difference (more tips to setup in this blog post)

#3 — It's always a hassle

If you have been using Skype, I don’t blame you for that thinking. You need to up your video-software-game. So in the next paragraph, I’ll give you two new tools to work with, both free and wickedly easy software to use.

Conversational feedback with Zoom

Use Zoom. It’s just like Skype, only better and easier. You don’t have to add people, just give them a link, and you are on a chat together.

And all 1-on-1 chat’s are completely free.

All you need is to install a browser plug-in, and then you are rolling. Zoom is the number one choice to give feedback to anyone without you have to move from your chair.

Especially practical if you have a distributed team.

Here is a guide to Zoom

From OWLLabs blog post

Recorded feedback with Soapbox

Once in awhile, we need to get the feedback out there, pressed in between meetings, and whatnot. And you don’t always have to align calendars to meet – digitally or real world.

And it’s so easy to do today. Just hit record and then give your feedback on a video for anyone to see when it fits in their calendar.

I use Soapbox, which works from a browser without any installations and records both screen and you at the same time + editing is a breeze.

And when you are done, press save and get a direct link to a landing page where people can see the video.

It’s free software as well – although, if you want to download your video, it’s the paid version for $300 /year.

There are multiple solutions like that one out there – I use it because I believe the editing power of Soapbox is second to none.

Here how it works:

To sum it up:
Here is how you start to make video feedback to your people:

  1. Practice
  2. Use your laptop, your phone headset and face a window
  3. Use Zoom / Soapbox for free

Use video between your psychical 1-on-1

Video feedback is fantastic. It captures much more of your expression, and if you do it right, it’s quicker than writing. But it cannot replace our psychical meetings. There are still expressions happening in the real world we can’t take in on video. So use it where it makes sense, to be more efficient, and to empower your people faster.

And the workforce wants feedback. Here is three statistics to underline why using more efficient ways to give feedback is needed:

  • 32 % of employees have to wait more than 3 months to get feedback from their manager
  • 96% of employees said that receiving feedback regularly is a good thing
  • 83% of employees really appreciate receiving feedback, regardless if it’s positive or negative

More business culture statistics for 2020 this way.

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