Civic Engagement Using Video Technology

Video is a proven method of communication when to comes to disseminating information.  People are more engaged with video and retain much more when compared to reading the written word.  Government agencies, therefore, have been turning to video platforms in order to share updates to citizens who are staying at home.  Staying connected is of utmost importance.  Video town halls have become an important part of the communications strategy for government organizations.

In order to plan for such events, government leaders are quickly adjusting to the new environment where they will be getting their message out to citizens from their own homes.  Given that they cannot get a camera crew, a podium and the event location, using intuitive video platforms has become essential.  At Vbrick, we have been helping federal, state and local organizations deliver  events with short notice so that citizens  can quickly get required information. 

Video town halls can be new and confusing.  Here are some best practices that we encourage state, local, county and government leaders to undertake for their next video town hall event:

How to Conduct the Event

The host sets the entire tone of the event, therefore, practicing what you are going to say ahead of time will provide a good experience.  You can have slides or just talk to the camera.  In order to have a successful event, focus on these areas before you go live:

  1. Test your camera before your webinar begins.  Make sure that your camera from your laptop or computer is working. 
  2. Test your mic.  Fortunately, there are many free sites where you can test your laptop. 
  3. Dress normally. Just as you would if your event was in person, ensure to wear your normal business clothes.  Avoid strong patterns and go with solids so as to not distract your audience. 
  4. Reduce background noise.  Find a quiet room and use a headset that minimizes noises in the background.  Place a sign on your door to remind family members that you are conducting a live event and to not come in.
  5. Start on time.  For speakers, it is best to start 5 minutes ahead of the event. This will give you time to organize your presentation and notes.  Also, use this time to close any other applications that are running in the background and turn off your phone sounds.

How to Extend Your Reach

Not everyone in your area can attend your event so it’s important to record it and send the link through email and social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Make sure that people know, during your initial promotion of this event, that a recording will be made available to watch at time of their convenience and through any device.

Remember that people need to feel connected to leadership, like never before.  Using video regularly and often will give your constituency a sense of comfort and knowledge that they need to navigate this uncertain time.  Your videos can serve as an archive for people to use when they need to reference resources and your guidance in the days to come.