Given the quality of modern video-conferencing solutions, I’m still amazed it is not used more and busy executives continue to travel locally, nationally and internationally for simple face-to-face meetings.
I understand the personal touch is valuable and everyone claims to prefer ‘real’ meetings to their virtual counterparts, but in the search for greater productivity and efficiency does business travel make sense?
And of course, for many, the next best option to a ‘real’ meeting is a phone call. But again, surely in this day and age, video-conferencing offers a number of advantages over a simple remote conversation, allowing you to show a new product, or understand an issue with a client that they can show rather than describe.
I’m an advocate for video-conferencing and not just for commercial reasons. When we consider that only 7% of communication is through the actual words used and 55% is visual, through body language, eye contact, facial expressions etc., then the slow transition to video is baffling.
Apart from the obvious advantage of seeing what you are discussing and the person(s) you are discussing it with, I’ve drawn up a list of the top benefits of video conferencing as I see them:
This is perhaps the most obvious to be fair and the one everyone would put at the top of their lists. Valuable meetings can be held without you ever leaving your office and you can get around a lot of locations in a single day.
Instead of wasted time travelling between meetings you can be productive in the office. I know face-to-face interactions with prospects, customers and colleagues will never be entirely replaced, but the huge leap in quality, availability, and ease-of-use ensures video-conferencing is the closest thing to being there.
And it’s not just the time the trips take that tips the balance in favour of video-conferencing, but all the associated costs; time out of the office, hotel bills, travel to and from airports, wear and tear on cars, meals, etc.
When we point out that the cost for one employee to attend meetings can be more than a high quality video-conferencing solution, that’s available for everyone in the business to use, you will understand why we believe this technology offers major advantages for forward-thinking businesses.
For larger organisations, with operations spread across the UK, or even the world, phone or email, will be the default method of communication. But this lack of face-to-face communication can cause misunderstandings within your teams, or worse, could result in people getting entirely the wrong message.
With a video-conferencing solution implemented, participants are more likely to stay alert and focused on what is being discussed; no more dealing with other issues whilst listening with half an ear. Projects will be completed faster and more accurately, with productivity increased and a greater team ethos instilled thanks to a real connection via moving pictures.
All this talk of video-conferencing will for some, evoke memories of darkened VC suites with everyone trudging in at the allotted time, but modern solutions are available at the desktop, via phone, tablet or PC, making it far more convenient.
You can now see the facial expressions and body language of conference participants, which leads to faster and more effective collaboration. Imagine the impact on morale of company-wide meetings held in real time with offices across the globe feeling closer to the head office.
Video-conferencing would allow you to show a manufacturer the design changes you want on a product, discussing their viability before you make time for a face-to-face meeting; you might show the new colour option of your best-selling product or introduce a new member of the team so clients can put a face to the voice – the only limits are your imagination.
Teams that communicate through video, will share knowledge faster, collaborate more effectively and be better informed, all of which delivers competitive advantage.
I believe we are on the verge of a video-conferencing revolution. Millennials already comfortable with FaceTime, Skype, Instagram, Vine and the like will bring this appreciation of video into the workplace, if they are given the opportunity.
Matt Rhodes, Commercial Services Manager, Quiss Technology