The Perils Involved in Giving Video Feedback.

In Brownlee & Associates (B&A), we use videotaping – on DVDs – in almost all of our courses: Presentation skills, Sales, Negotiation, Advanced Communication, etc. We normally do NOT review and comment on the trainees videotapes individually and give detailed & specific feedback in front of the group.

Our reasons for doing this are numerous:

1. Feedback about communication is very personal & intimate and having someone, even a “specialist”, pointing out “errors” in front of the group can be seen / felt as demeaning by both the actor and also the audience. If any of the attendees have problems with self- esteem, this type of activity might aggravate the problem and have unexpected and undesirable consequences for the course or organization.

2. Psychologically, Any training should be in a safe, secure environment and reviewing videotapes of the trainees can destroy this for all the actors involved. It is even worse when only some participants are videotaped and reviewed. Who decided who should be videotaped and following what criteria? In B&A, we believe it should be ALL or NONE. we prefer to videotape ALL participants rather than none! Complaints about lack of time available are just excuses for not programming the course properly!

3. Do the people giving the feedback also get evaluated by the audience members? If not, it seems to be unfair!

4. While a video is being reviewed, what are the rest of the group doing?
– Listening & observing intensively & learning from the actions of their companions?
– Laughing at the person on the screen?
– Scratching their tummies and thinking about the up-coming weekend?
– Worrying about their turn to be be the next “victim”?
Or are they doing something which is:
– Structured.
– Controlled.
– Task-oriented and requires them to be focussed on what is happening & how?

5. We believe that it imperative that any trainer dealing with Non-verbal communication skills has been trained in Kinesics and not just read a couple of books on the topic. Many trainers do NOT give valid feedback based on the Culture, Context & Cluster (the 3Cs) of the communicative activity but merely on the use of individual, isolated indicators. An example is the fallacy that “arms crossed” means the person is negative or defensive. Without considering the 3Cs, thic could be totally incorrect. One indicator means absolutely nothing. there MUST be a cluster – the more the better.

Suggested technique:
Since observation is a key element if effective communication, the trainer should always ensure that this is reinforced during the training and prior to videotaping, the trainees should be told:
1.     What to look for in the activity:
– Good vs bad points in general
– Structure of the event: logical, linked, controlled, etc.
– Verbal & non-verbal communication: congruence, reflective vs opposed, etc.
– Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) stipulated in the training contract with the client.

2.     How to give, and receive, structured feedback. In B&A, we use a simple feedback form so that the trainees have a clear way to organize their comments. Remember – Criticism is about who you are (and no-one should criticise you without your permission & criticism often includes “mind-reading!). Feedback is about what you have done and how to improve! If there is any argument about the feedback, the evidence is on the DVD and, in this case, the video can be shown to validate the feedback (or not!).

3.     The trainees should give their feedback to their companion: starting with the newest  / youngest members and then progressing up via the “influences” in the group with the most powerful person in the group also known as (A.K.A.) “The Power” giving their feedback just before the trainer who should always be the last one to give feedback WITHOUT playing the video.

4.     Every trainee should take detailed notes about the feedback given and once everyone has been seen, videotaped and received feedback, the whole group should do the execise again while applying the feedback given. This session should also receive feedback on how each person has improved compared to the first time.

In Brownlee & Associates, we ALWAYS give each trainee their own individual DVD so that they can review it in their own time at home. We have found that the trainees are more critical of themselves and are able to identify areas of possible improvement for themselves. We do, if specifically requested, give individualized feedback soon after the course finishes.

As communicators &/or trainers, it is our responsibility, & duty, to ensure that whenever we work with our clients, we bear in mind the psychological impact of whatever we do and HOW we do it to ensure that the audience feel respected; that their contributions are valued and that they, as individuals, are not subjected to ridicule in front of the group.

© Ian Brownlee, Brownlee & Associates, S.L. (August, 2012)
Bilingual web page (English & Spanish)


About ianbrownlee

Ian Brownlee, the founder of Brownlee & Associates has been actively involved in the field of interpersonal & transcultural communication since 1977. He has worked in universities and companies in the following countries: Laos, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, England, The United States of America & Spain, as a teacher, university lecturer, trainer, researcher & consultant. In addition, his experience in living in these countries, and studying the language & communication and interaction styles of each has aided him in reaching a real understanding of intercultural and transcultural differences and how to resolve them. Ian Brownlee has various masters degrees from British Universities: One in Linguistics & Teaching English Overseas from Manchester University, one in Training & Development with a specialization in the area of Communication and Adult learning awarded by the University of Sheffield. He has also gained professional qualifications in Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy from various professional organizations. During his university career he has also studied elements of Sociology, Organizational psychology, Educational psychology, Psycholinguistics and Kinesics. He is a licensed Practitioner, Master Practitioner, and Master Trainer in NLP. as well as being a trainer in Ericksonian Hypnosis. He is a member of a wide range of professional organizations involved in Training, Applied Psychology, Hypnotherapy & Ericksonian Hypnosis, Psychotherapy, Interpersonal Communication & Cross-cultural Communication. He is also recognized by the Program on Negotiation, Harvard University, as a Negotiation Skills Trainer & Mediator and has been a collaborator on various projects with the program, and as such is in great demand as a negotiation consultant for some of the largest multinationals operating worldwide. His wide experience gained in multinational organizations in positions such as Director of Training, Communications Consultant and Negotiator / Mediator has helped many people to learn and apply new methods of negotiating skills and advanced communication techniques both in their private and professional lives. He has published various articles & books related to the field of interpersonal communication and he is the author of all the courses taught by Brownlee & Associates. He has lived and worked in Spain since 1985, initially as a trainer / Special Assistant in a multinational pharmaceutical company and then as the Training Manager for a multinational company involved in Clinical Analysis & Nuclear Medicine. Brownlee & Associates was formed in 1991 and currently has a small, highly-trained staff. While based in Madrid, courses are given world-wide either in English or Spanish. Brownlee & Associates currently work with leading international companies in the areas of pharmaceuticals , Information systems, luxury products, food & beverages, etc.
This entry was posted in Advanced Communication, General Communication, Negotiation, Sales, The Art & Science of Presenting in Public, Training & Development and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Perils Involved in Giving Video Feedback.

  1. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss
    and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would appreciate your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s