In 2018, Chatterbox, now part of the Vonage, conducted a survey, taking a look at how people were then communicating with each other, and how that has changed over the years. This study was able to quantify what we observe on a regular basis. It showed that video communication is up, with one of three people video-chatting at least once a week, and two out of five people communicating over video more than they did the year before. The study also showed that every age group communicated via video more last year than the year prior. For millennials, the increase has been rather significant, a 175 percent increase over the last three years. It also showed that the primary device used across the board: mobile devices.
Video opens a world of communication that email, text, phone calls, and even meetings for coffee are unable to offer.
With that being said, if you are not using video communication in your church, you should.
Video opens a world of communication that email, text, phone calls, and even meetings for coffee are unable to offer. Video does not only have application within your day-to-day workflow, but also in your Sunday services, beyond broadcast or simulive services.
In 1971, Albert Mehrabian published a book called “Silent Messages.” He postulated that 93 percent of communication is nonverbal. Out of the 93 percent, he broke it out that 38 percent is dedicated to the tone of voice, 55 percent reserved for body language, and just 7 percent held for the actual words one is saying.
If you have ever heard the comment, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it,” that likely is derived from how various means of communication are interpreted.
Think back to a time where you sent an email or text that was misconstrued, because they read it in a tone of voice that was not intended. This happens quite often, even in my own personal life.
For example, I recall receiving an email message from a colleague that read: “What are you doing on this account?” I was already in a frustrated mood before reading this, so I read it that way. Instead of responding back in an even more snarky way - which I wanted to - I mustered up my helpful heart attitude, and video called my colleague to chat about what I had been doing on the account. It turned out that she wasn’t upset at all, and instead had been out of the office, catching up on what was going on.
In the event I do receive a nasty email or text, I do generally have a rule that I don’t respond to that email or text for 24 hours. This is a rule I picked up back when I played football. We and the coaches were not allowed to discuss something that upset us in a game with the coach or player until 24 hours had passed. It stops me from responding in the heat of the moment, and saying something I will end up regretting.
My rule, though, has since evolved. If you guessed that I added video communication to this rule, you would be correct.
Much like my earlier example, I will, depending on availability, Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts call that person, to help resolve the conflict. This gives me the entire 100 percent of communication back, whereas text/email is only 7 percent allowing the tone of voice (38 percent) to be interpreted by the recipient.
That is all great, but how is video better than meeting face-to-face over coffee? It isn’t, and you shouldn’t stop doing that at all. It seems counterintuitive to my opening argument, but video does still offer something that meeting for coffee can’t. Frequency.
How many times a day can you go to coffee, or lunch, or a smoothie? Don’t stop meeting face to face, but maybe instead add in an extra meeting or two over video.
Today, my team is distributed around the globe. We have people in Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan New Jersey, Paris, Australia, and Amsterdam. I meet over video with them multiple times a week. We work on projects together and even more, we get to know each other personally. We still meet in person a few times a year, but when we meet in person, it’s not like I’m getting to know someone for the first time. We don’t even act super surprised to see each other, because we interact face-to-face so many times.
This brings me to something I have often thought that video holds the best application for in the church today: Connecting and regularly communicating with missionaries out in the field.
Most churches help fund and support missionaries around the world in some sort of way, whether it’s just monetarily or by sending its own congregants. By incorporating Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or Hangouts (all including free options), you can communicate live with your congregation on a Sunday morning, or host a meeting where the missionary can give an update on what’s going on and how you can be praying.
Human connections are more than just words. Our culture dictates that we must not burden others with our problems, but our facial expressions can almost always say otherwise.
Whether it is having a committee meeting during a snow storm from the comfort of your house or chatting with a best friend that lives across the country, talking with a congregant, or encouraging a missionary, video offers a more personal connection, that can be hard to maintain otherwise.