Learn to Use the Technology You Need for Crisis Communications Using Your Smart Phone

By Gerard Braud

Braud Communications Technology Crisis{Editor’s note: In 2013, CNN selected me as one of their top iReporters, out of more than 11,000 iReporters. This is part of a series of articles about how you can be a good iReporter and how to make CNN iReports a vital part of your crisis communication and media relations strategy.}

Everything you need to do in a crisis, you can practice on a clear sunny day. This is especially true using when iReports as part of your crisis communications strategy.

You need to know how to record yourself with your iPhone, iPad or other smart device. Take your device out on a clear sunny day and practice shooting videos. Practice uploading it to YouTube and other social media sites. You will quickly discover it is not as easy as you would think. Often your first problem is that your video is too long to upload. You’ll find that sometimes your bandwidth limits the size of the files you can upload. Other times your internet service provider has limits on file sizes. Discover what the stumbling blocks are on a clear day, because you can quickly lose 30 minutes to an hour of time trying to sort through your technical difficulties. If you need to get a video report filed quickly, you are out of luck when the technical problems start. Speed is a critical part of crisis communications, so don’t let your lack of practice impede your speed.

youtubeWhile teenagers use phones easily and quickly, it never ceases to amaze me how many adults do not know how to do relatively simple things, such as how to reverse the direction of the video camera. You want to have a device that allows you to have a camera facing you while you can see yourself on your own screen.

You also need to spend a significant amount of time learning to use Skype. If you are asked to do a live news report from your iPhone or other smart device, the media will want to call you or will want you to call them on Skype. Little mistakes here also slow you down significantly. When the media is on a tight deadline and they’ve blocked out a window of time for you, you can’t miss your time slot. Hence, set up Skype on your device on a clear sunny day, then practice receiving video calls and making video calls.

Visit Skype.com to get the app for your device or download it from your app store. Much like your social media apps, you’ll need a login and password. There is also a slight learning curve, like there is with any new app. The only way to get use to your Skype app is to use your Skype app. Get a colleague to set up their device also, so you can practice. Learn to use the buttons correctly so you will know the difference between a traditional phone call and a video call.

Additionally, Skype will give you the option in the audio preferences settings to use the microphone and speakers on your device, or to plug in headsets or ear buds. If you use headsets, you need to know what buttons to push so that Skype feeds the sound into your headphones, rather than your speakers, as well as how to make sure what you say is being picked up by the dedicated microphone, rather than the devices microphone. Your device may automatically convert to headphones and a dedicated microphone on its own when you plug them into your audio plug, but you won’t know until you test it out.

Try it both ways and see which one you like the best. If you are in a noisy location when you record your video and when you are broadcasting live, headphones and a microphone are a must.

Practice using the technology. Once you have the technology perfected, we will start focusing on tips to make you great on camera.

Here are the links to other articles on this topic:

Get the Right Technology to be a CNN iReporter

Crisis Communications for West Texas Fertilizer Plant in Waco: Why PIOs, Emergency Managers, and PR people should be using CNN iReports

IReports for Public Relations and Crisis Communications: Why Your Company or Government Organization Should Create a CNN iReport Account Today

Compare and Contrast News Stories: Secrets of the MediaIsaac Ireport Gerard Braud

Get the Right tools to be a good iReporter

Set Up Your CNN iReport Account on a Sunny Day

Hurricane Isaac: iReports Before, During and After. Is This Guy Crazy?

And thank you for your daily votes at http://www.cnn.com/ireport-awards/#nom=indepth

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