Asynchronous vs Synchronous Video for Internal Communication

Albert Camus talked about the absurdity of life and the universe. These days, you can’t help but agree with the French-Algerian journalist’s philosophy.

Maybe everything reminds you of absurdity: the odds of you being born, the odds of you meeting your spouse, the odds of you contracting a viral infection from touching a surface somebody sneezed on a couple of hours ago…

Now, the title of this post probably looks absurd as well. Asynchronous? Synchronous? What are these pompous-looking words and why on earth have I pinned them against one another as if this were a boxing match?

Honestly, I try to avoid using fancy words, but I couldn’t find more suitable replacements. So, pardon me if I sound pedantic (you read that as ‘pandemic’, didn’t you? Bet you did).

Right, let’s get to it then. To lay the foundation, just so we’re all on the same page here, I’ll define asynchronous and synchronous for you first.

After that, I’ll get into how videos in each category stack up, and, finally, we’ll talk about asynchronous videos, in the context of internal business communication, in more detail.

Defining Asynchronous and Synchronous Communication

Asynchronous

Asynchronous is defined as not occurring in real-time. So, any form of communication that takes place with some delay, such as snail mail, email, and recorded video, falls into this category.

Videos in this camp include video voicemail, video messages, screen shares, etc. They’re easier to consume and offer more control than the sort of communication method that comes next.

Synchronous

Synchronous is defined as happening at exactly the same time. This sort of communication includes phone calls, face-to-face conversations, etc.

Videos in this category, of course, include video conference calls.

Communication During COVID-19

The fact is that we use various forms of communication in our daily lives, but the current pandemic has forced us to adopt different methods of both the styles mentioned in this article with much higher frequency.

Video calls and Zoom meetings have become the norm for professionals working from home and school kids who must now attend lectures via their computers.

Companies offering synchronous video communication tools have found it difficult to manage and secure the data of its members after a sudden influx of people began using their services this year because of COVID-19.

Combine the issue of security with what is termed as “video call burnout” and you’ve got a real mess on your hands if you run a business and are trying to navigate through these strange times.

You may even personally feel that too many meetings tend to hinder productivity and disrupt workflow.

Hey, maybe those conference calls could have just been emails or short video messages instead!

Below, we’re going to take a brief look at the pros and cons of both asynchronous and synchronous videos in terms of internal communication.

Pros and Cons of Asynchronous and Synchronous Video Communication

Asynchronous videos

Pros

  • Easier to consume
  • Messages can be re-watched
  • Messages can be shared far and wide
  • Hiccups in Wi-Fi won’t be a problem
  • Better quality viewing

Cons

  • You’ll have to wait for responses
  • Making videos may take some time getting used to

Synchronous video

Pros

  • Offer real-time communication
  • Good for meetings and discussions

Cons

  • Excessive use causes fatigue
  • Certain limiting factors exist, such as bandwidth and poor internet connection.
  • Video and audio quality may not always be great

As you can see, both types have their advantages and disadvantages.

To keep your communication efforts balanced, it’s important to have a mix of asynchronous and synchronous videos in your goodie bag.

Take a look at how Vodafone improved its internal communications with video and other interactive media.

 

And of course, communicating in a variety of ways will ensure that your team doesn’t burn out from constantly hopping from one con call to the next in what feels like a never-ending loop.

What makes Asynchronous Video So Great?

Well, there are plenty of reasons. For one, it’s nice to have a mix of different types of communications.

With that said, asynchronous videos are ideal if you have a geographically dispersed team. The case that follows will illustrate my point.

Bullhorn Case Study

I was reading an article on Forbes which talked about how Mike Restivo, CRO of Bullhorn, incorporated asynchronous video, and ditched weekly conference calls.

The problem

With direct reports from all over the world, the distance was one challenge the company was facing, along with different time zones.

Synchronous communication, such as hour-long con calls, just didn’t make sense for the team.

The solution

Private videos on YouTube!

Restivo started posting (asynchronous) videos for his team to watch on YouTube. In these, he talks about updates, team member promotions, and new accounts.

Another thing he experiments with is broadcasting on YouTube. This allows his team to leave comments during the stream and increases engagement.

(Note: live streams are also categorized as asynchronous video)

Results

Restivo said that these videos help everyone on his team stay updated, at their own pace, and it just adds a nice personal touch to the company’s overall communication efforts.

Characteristic Benefits of Asynchronous Video

Engaging

Like Restivo mentioned, videos add a personal touch and make it easier for your teams, colleagues, and even prospects to connect with you and your message.

This is the closest you can get to face-to-face communication … until virtual and augmented reality seep into business comms, of course.

 Flexible

As discussed, time zones and schedules matter. People in your team may find it difficult to attend video calls at a fixed time.

They may be begrudgingly taking calls at the expense of their productivity.

On the flip side, recorded videos allow plenty of flexibility. Your team can watch (at whatever speed they like – they can speed the video up, too) when it’s suitable for them, and even re-watch if required. 

Easy to make and share

Creating videos has never been easier. You can use screen recording software to show step-by-step instructions, or make a quick video using your smartphone.

When you’re done, simply share them via collaboration tools, email, etc. with your colleagues.

Read more: 3 Ways to Record Killer Screen Cast Videos

Secure

Video platforms such as Vimeo and Wistia are built so that businesses can securely use video content, for both internal and external sharing.

With paid programs, you get password-protected accounts, customer service, and more. You can compare Vimeo’s plans here for more details.

Easy to consume

Video content is easy to consume and allows you to retain more information. You can convey tone and expression easily as well.

So free up that overbooked calendar of yours and adopt a bit of video messaging into your internal business communication habits.

 

How to Use Asynchronous Videos for Improving Business Communication

If you’re feeling stressed because of constant conference calls and/or email and text, then you’re not the only one.

For remote workers, proper collaboration and communication can be a challenge.

It turns out that up to 50% of meetings are inefficient. And emails can get overwhelming, too.

The average white-collar worker spends 28% of his or her time reading and answering emails (this doesn’t even include the time spent messaging on platforms like Slack and Skype, etc.).

Considering all of this, it’s no surprise that email-phobia is actually a thing that plagues some of us.

With working remotely set as the new normal during this pandemic, there are bound to be even more email and text message exchanges because you can’t just walk over to someone and converse face-to-face.

One possible solution that can help alleviate some of the stressors mentioned is more asynchronous communication methods.

Let’s take a look at how you can use asynchronous videos in your day-to-day:

Briefs and campaign/project reviews

As a manager, instead of herding your team on a con call for weekly briefs or project reviews, opt for recorded videos instead.

You can illustrate your points more effectively, too, if you incorporate accompanying screenshots, graphics, charts, etc.

Announcements and updates

Company updates

While your staff is dispersed, you can still make everyone feel connected with major updates and company achievements.

Announce and celebrate staff promotions through video as well. This will boost team morale and keep everyone connected.

Introduce yourself

If you’ve just hired someone, create a tailored message for your new colleague. welcome them and share whatever important information you feel would be suitable in an intro video.

Quick feedback videos

When you’re in the office, you can just walk over and talk to people about ongoing projects, tasks, etc.

When you can’t do that, you can substitute this feedback loop with quick videos. Show-and-tell is the name of the game.

Doing it this way is better than sending multiple texts or emails because they not only take time to go through but may also not convey what you’re trying to say due to lack of vocal expression.

How-to videos

I bet you know all about how-to videos, whenever you’re stumped about how to do something or how to use a particular software of product, you hop on over to the internet and type in those fateful words: “how to make a no-bake cheesecake.”

And then you click on the video that looks most appealing.

Similarly, if you need to guide your team on how to use certain software, or if you need to give someone step-by-step instructions on a task. How-to videos are ideal.

These types of videos are great for knowledge sharing and are also perfect for reaching out to a B2B audience.

HR management

In times like these, the recruitment process has to be transformed, too.

Here’s how asynchronous videos can help HR.

Recruiting videos

Use videos to let your prospective candidates know about available positions at your company, describe the role, company culture, etc.

These types of video messages are personalized and the person on the receiving end is sure to remember it well.

Round two

Once you’ve narrowed down a pool of candidates, you can let them know, with short video messages, that they’ve met the selection criteria and what to expect next.

Offer video

After going through the process of finding the right fit for your company, it’s time to make an offer they can’t refuse. Create an offer video congratulating and welcoming the candidate.

Introductions and orientation

Next, you can create a video to introduce key members of your staff to familiarize the new hire on the team. Explain your organizational structure and chains of command, too.

Training and development

Training and development videos come next. Allow the new hire to become familiar with relevant training material so they don’t feel lost during their first week of remote work.

For more information on how to use video content for onboarding and training, read this post our HR manager penned.

 

Tools That Will Help You Create Asynchronous Videos

Decades ago, creating videos may have been a coveted skill only a few master video producers could boast about.

Times have changed drastically since then.

Now, thanks to various applications and tech advancements, creating simple video has gotten notably cheaper and easier.

If you want to get fancy with your asynchronous video content creation, you can always use online tools, such as Lumen 5, Animoto, Biteable, etc.

Either use pre-existing images and footage or upload your own on the apps mentioned above. You can also create animated videos with tools like Powtoon if you’d like.

If you’re interested in using these apps, then you’ll find everything you need to know in our post about the best DIY video production tools available online.

 

Final Thoughts

Video is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to marketing, but it’s also equally powerful as a tool for collaboration within organizations and can help teams communicate effectively despite hurdles of time and space.

I hope that this post will help you and your company navigate through these absurd times with greater confidence and efficiency.

If anything, humans have a knack for adapting. It may seem difficult, but it is possible. And our lives right now are proof of that.

What are your thoughts on asynchronous and synchronous video communication? Have you already been using a combination of both? I’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to share your story on our company’s social!

Posted by Maria Saif
04.30.2020

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