Are you familiar with the acronym TLDR? It stands for ‘too long, didn’t read’ and began as internet slang to say ‘you have written too much.’ It has evolved over time, however, and has taken on a different meaning: People everywhere now add it as a disclaimer on the headers of long emails and articles to say, “I have written too much.” The irony is, of course, thicker than molasses.

Why are we writing things to each other that we know we won’t read? Because we have a lot to say and no good way to communicate it. The world isn’t just complicated anymore, it’s complex, and we’re limited by the information throughput of text, a centuries-old technology. But there’s a simple answer: video.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 1.8 million. No really, that’s what Forrester concluded. Video is ideal for breaking down complex topics because it has far higher information throughput—it includes simultaneous visuals, audio, and text, but it also offers so much more. Video connects with people on an emotional level. If text is a straw, video is a firehose, and there is a plethora of good uses for it.

Here are 4 types of messages you must replace with video:

Any email longer than 300 words

The average American spends 13 hours each week on email according to Fast Company. That’s a tremulous amount of time and much of it is spent editing, correcting, and re-formatting—bolding headers, adding bullets, and highlighting. Yet all of this can be done better on video.

With a quick-capture video tool, you can use your webcam to simply talk things through. All the incorrect grammar and colloquial language that you’re afraid to put into print do just fine when spoken and you can ramble on tangents and still get your point across. Audiences will comprehend more just from your body language. We’ve experimented with this extensively and an email that normally might take 45 minutes to write and edit can be explained in a 3-minute video. It’s faster for both the viewer and the recorder, so everyone wins. Any time you find yourself writing an email that drags on, close it, and tell it to your computer camera instead.

Walk-throughs, setups, and onboarding

Raise your hand if somewhere in your company employee portal there are novel-length PDFs full of screenshots and text on how to get set up in a new system. (Now put your hand down, people are probably looking.) These screenshot walk-throughs are the epitome of inefficiency because they still leave big gaps. Anyone who has used them has wondered how figure A led to figure B and why they’re not seeing figure C. It’s like trying to interpret the movie Casablanca from just a handful of stills.

Use videos for your walkthroughs. There’s a reason that ‘how to’ is still the top growing category of video on YouTube: watching is easier. With tools like Vidyard Go Video (Formerly ViewedIt) you can capture both your screen and your webcam and you can talk new users through logging into new systems, filling out expense reports, and properly closing sales deals.

Secure partner communications

Perhaps the best way on Earth to spread information is to tell someone that it’s secret. We’ve all known this since grade-school. So how can we expect our partners and affiliates not to spread product, pricing, and upcoming feature releases if we share them by emails that are just begging to be forwarded? We can’t, and that’s why there’s secure video.

With a securely hosted video platform, you can control the flow of information. You get to both harness the explanatory power of video and you get to lock it down so that only certain parties can access it. Whenever you’re communicating sensitive information to partners, help them do the right thing: make it a secure video.

Anything that could be improved with a human touch

We envision a world where nearly all human resources communications come via video. It’s only fitting, as email drains the ‘human’ away and often leaves us with long, dry, difficult-to-follow resources: for example, first-day welcome emails, explanations of benefits, how to set up a 401k, and a list of IT contact information. What might all this clutter look like if we applied video?

Everything would become more personal. Imagine having quick, custom, ‘Welcome to the company!’ videos from executives and human resources folk and pre-recorded videos to explain benefits and paperwork in a simple way. Or what about a video from the IT department saying hello, explaining how things work, and how best to reach them? Or a quick video tour of the grounds or facilities to show you the office gym, bike park, and good spots for lunch? You’d create a personal touch in a way that supplements human interaction and makes them feel more at home.

If you apply video to your communications, you don’t just become more efficient: you make everyone more efficient. You can stop writing your novel-grade emails and people can stop finding them TLDR!

Jon Spenceley