As the Enterprise Video Strategy Manager for Kollective in EMEA, I help our customers reach video success. I get the opportunity to engage with all the people involved in producing live events; whether they are speakers, owners, part of in-house production or hired EMEA third parties. What I find most of my customer’s internal stakeholders have in common is passion, and purpose. Passion for what they do every day – regardless of how comfortable or familiar they are with the task at hand.
One fairly recent example best illustrates this passion across the board. I was onsite in the UK for one of our global customers, who was preparing to stream their first event to all employees outside of the US. More crucially, their CEO and several other C-suite members were present and speaking in the event, as well. My involvement touched on several layers of stakeholders. I dealt with speakers, IT, and the Comms team.
Out of the entire team, the presenters (or talent, as we call them) impressed me the most. You might think the talent were impressive through their sheer presence, knowledge, rank or other. But I’m not referring to the executives in this case, as rocking as they might have been.
Language Barriers Lifted with Video
For the rest of the story to make sense, I’ll give you a little more context. This event was the last stage and award ceremony for a regional internal contest organized by this customer. Tens of teams from across the region had submitted their projects and invested months of their lives in this competition, all with the purpose of improving internal processes and ultimately generating savings for the company. That day, the final four teams left in the race would present on stage in front of their CEO, then he would decide the regional winners. Winners would then go into the global final later in the year. It’s also worth saying that all four teams were plant-based employees, three out of four teams were non-native English speakers, all would have to present live, in English, to their CEO and the world, as all their colleagues from across the world were invited to watch the live final.
Day of, after several coaching sessions and rehearsals, the show started, they all presented their year-long work, and they did a great job and received rounds of applause from their colleagues in the live audience. I’m pretty sure the remote attendees were really impressed as well.
Now here’s the kicker: a few of the talent did not speak a word of English. And yet they managed to present and make themselves understood perfectly! How do you reckon they did it? I had a genuine jaw-drop moment when I was told: they had written the sounds they should be pronouncing in their native language, then learned the text by heart!! Wait, what?!
Passion Making the Impossible Possible
The amount of dedication, passion, drive and even spark of genius going into this single task must have been unbelievable! For me personally, it was a perfect example of how sometimes the impossible IS possible. To overcome barriers by thinking outside the box. To not give up the chance to success just because at a first glance there’s no straight line to it.
Trade and Passion Combined
The other element contributing to the event’s success – but this time from a production perspective, was the main IT resource onsite. An internal IT support superhero by day (his trade), a proper film and theatre producer and director in his spare time (his passion), this particular individual was the perfect layer between my work and the production crew handling the event.
In addition to covering his official responsibility of infra and end-user support monitoring during the event, he also provided valuable, crucial and efficient cues and directions to the graphics handling resource on the set. I could not have asked for a better combination of skill, personality, passion for video and purpose translated into action. It was one of the most unexpected and loveliest surprises to date and definitely a skill set combo I hope to encounter again.
I learned from this multi-skilled individual that sometimes it’s ok to wear two hats and that if you can, you absolutely should! This combo of trade and passion made the difference between a decent-enough, bare minimum event and a great event. It is a fantastic reminder to look outside of your day to day role and use your personal interest and craft to bring added value into your formal work. Or just as well accept a challenge, don’t be afraid to try your hand at new things – you might surprise yourself and discover a new passion along the way!