Proposed Policy and Procedure for Recordings, Use of Stills and Video

I added a notice at the top of the agenda that reads:

THIS MEETING WILL BE RECORDED. Stills and excerpts from the video may be used by the club in its public relations and social media outreach.

At our kickoff meeting, I asked if anyone objected to me recording the meeting, and no one did. I followed up later to ask permission to use stills and video from the meeting. I would like to establish a standing policy that we will provide clear notice of intent to record the meeting up front and deal with the exceptions as necessary.

My intent is to duplicate the educational and social media marketing advantages my (offline) home club enjoys from regular video recording of speeches. At Club Awesome, we typically record all the formal speeches and sometimes also table topics and evaluations. The majority of the videos are never shared beyond the club, but the speakers have the opportunity to review them for educational purposes.

When lightning strikes, and someone gives a particularly good speech that they allow us to share, that is a nice marketing asset for the club. We don’t necessarily know ahead of time which speeches will be the exceptional ones. I can also extract still images from the video, which makes it much easier to capture essentially “candid” photos from speeches and presentations.

In an offline club, the way we deal with the etiquette is that during the introduction of roles the videographer announces the ground rules — that the recordings are primarily made for educational purposes, meaning for the speaker’s own review, and we will ask permission before sharing them more widely.

There were some questions about the video policy when we first started, but by now it is part of the culture of the club. Visitors see the camera in use during speeches before they join, so it is not a surprise to them.

We also routinely take candid photos during our meetings and share them on Facebook or the club website without feeling the need to go through some legalistic photo release process. Again, it’s the accepted culture of the club that we operate this way. Our website and our visibility on social media are stronger and richer as a result.

In an online club, I believe the best way of accomplishing something similar is with a clear statement on the agenda, which everyone sees when signing up for roles or registering to attend as a guest. People who feel uncomfortable with this policy can find another club with a different policy.

In practice, the blanket policy should allow for exceptions. The person in possession of the video recording (which in the beginning will be me) should use good judgement about what gets shared and how. We can have some reasonable ground rules, like these:

  • Any member can request that the recording be stopped or paused for their speech or their table topics talk.
  • As a rule, speech videos will be shared as unlisted posts to YouTube, with the links emailed to club members. The email will contain a disclaimer saying the videos should not be shared without the speaker’s permission. Only if the speaker gives permission will they be shared more widely.
  • Sharing stills from the meeting will be treated as the equivalent of sharing candid photos from an offline meeting. It is permitted in this club. Stills should show members in a positive light.

The goal is to be respectful of members and take reasonable precautions to protect their privacy, dignity, and professional image — but without imposing an undue burden on the club. Occasionally, we may have a misfire, where a video is shared inappropriately (the method of publishing YouTube videos as unlisted is not completely secure). We may publish a still photo where the speaker but someone in the background has a funny expression on their face.


My argument is the fear of what could go wrong should not prevent us from taking advantage of what could go right with this approach.

Author: David F. Carr

Founder of Online Presenters and of the WordPress for Toastmasters project. Past President and member of Club Awesome in Coral Springs, Florida. Also former Area Governor, District Social Media Director. Outside of Toastmasters: writer, editor, and digital marketing consultant. He currently works as a Senior Insights Manager for Similarweb, the digital intelligence platform. Formerly an editor at publications including InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, Internet World, and WebWeek, and a contributor to VentureBeat and The Enterprisers Project. Master Privacy Policy