The One Question to Ask Before Sending a Message

Last Updated April 10th, 2015

Typed words and spoken words. Incomplete? Even misleading?

It’s important to ask yourself one question before sending a message. It’s also important to read about a “picturephone,” so carry on …

Ask Yourself Before Sending A Message


The Question To Ask …

In full: Would this message be better in typed text, in spoken words, or in simple video?

In short: Would video be better?


Before Sending A Message

Before you send a message, ask yourself the question: Would video be better?

And by “better,” of course I mean more effective – more complete, more accurate, more clear, more emotional, more nuanced.

Would a simple video be more effective to connect with this new online lead? To request an appointment? To follow up after a meeting? To say thank you? To say congratulations?

And by “better,” of course I mean more effective – more complete, more accurate, more clear, more emotional, more nuanced.

In so many cases, the answer is yes.

If any part of your intended reception is for someone to feel your enthusiasm, sincerity, or gratitude … yes.

If any part of your intended result is for someone to feel more confidence, trust, or appreciation toward you … yes.

If you’re sending a message with subtlety or nuance … yes.

If you’re sending what might otherwise be a 5 paragraph email … yes.


Why Sending a Message in Video May Be a Yes …

For consideration, let’s go back to the work of Albert Mehrabian (Professor Emeritus, Psychology, UCLA).

He’s published an extensive body of work on nonverbal communication. From Chapter 2 (Liking and Approach) of his 1971 book Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes, here are 3 related ideas:

“As compared with a telephone, a picturephone not only intensifies contact but also improves the accuracy of communication.”

“Since facial expressions and gestures can be an important part of the effort to explain an idea or to convey a feeling, the received message is at best incomplete and may possibly even be misleading if they are absent.”

“When a person knows that his facial expressions are not available to his listener, he still does not stop using them or automatically start to compensate for their absence by using other behaviors.”

Good news! You’ve got a picturephone. It’s in your pocket or on your desk right now. iPhone, iPad, Android. Synchronous with Facetime, Hangouts, or Skype. Asynchronous with BombBomb.

The positive key message here is that video provides much more complete and accurate communication and “intensifies” the contact.

The negative key messages here are that the absence of nonverbal communication reduces accuracy and clarity and that you automatically continue relying on it even when people can’t see you.


Or May Be No

Notice that written words and typed text are not in the consideration set above – it’s a telephone versus “picturephone” set.

Of course, typing out an email or a text message may be completely sufficient.

As quick as it is to shoot and send a simple video with the BombBomb Quick Send, mobile app, or Gmail extension, the typed text may be even more convenient.

And if accuracy and clarity of message and intent are not at risk, typing it out may work.

If it’s highly transactional (“yep, see you at 6” or “no, that won’t work”), typing it may be fine.


The Bottom Line

A simple video can make a big difference. As a communication medium, video is more complete, accurate, and clear.

Don’t miss opportunities to make a stronger impact and to help someone truly connect to you and the message you’re sending.

Ask yourself if video would be better.


More Posts Like This

Human Facial Expression of Emotion – It’s Natural and Universal

93% of Your Communication is Nonverbal

Benefits of a Smile in Sales and in Video


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See how much easier it is just to talk to people and see how much more effective it is for them to see you.

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Click here to send simple videos free.


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Ethan Beute | About The Author

Marketing, branding, content. Writer, producer, editor. Photos and videos. Building campaigns. Tracking results. Background in local television station marketing and promotion. VP, Content and Communication, BombBomb. BA, University of Michigan. MBA, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Fresh air & clean water.