Video conference is one of the most powerful business tools to emerge in the 21st century and knowing how and when to leverage this technology can give any company a competitive edge. At a time when more and more communication seems to be text message-based or over social media, face-to-face communication is at a higher premium than ever. This type of communication includes non-verbal cues – often said to be more than 90 percent of how human interact with each other.
At work, meetings are used to make decisions and chart a course of action and these meetings are much easier when all participants and be seen and heard in real time. Meetings also have a way of boosting energy or momentum around a project or idea – a phenomenon that is difficult to replicate over email.
As was mentioned earlier, most communication is nonverbal and nonverbal cues can send a loud signal about how a person feels on a certain topic. For example, if someone in a meeting is constantly checking their watch or staring out the window – you know they aren’t fully engaged in the conversation. However, if they are leaning forward and nodding – you know they are emotionally invested in what’s being discussed.
Meetings also provide a sense of interpersonal connection and promote the notion of a community. These feelings of connection only serve to increase long-term, valuable relationships.
In addition to enabling collaboration across thousands of miles, video conferencing also offers employee to adjust their work-life balance. For example, an executive can be traveling on vacation and still check-in through video conferencing.
According to a new whitepaper from Wain Research, there are several reasons companies need to embrace video conferencing technology. One of the main reasons, the report said, is to attract emerging young talent. Millennials are accustomed to using Skype, Facetime and other video chat applications in their personal life, so they expect the same technology to be utilized in the workplace.
Nancy Altobello, vice chair of talent at Ernst & Young LLC, recently told Forbes that Millennials also expect flexibility in a workplace. She said they tend to want choice in how a job can be done and video conferencing is one of those solutions that offers more flexibility. The report also said video conferencing has made recruiting over long distances easier and provides a great first impression to valuable young talent.
Once these prospective workers are on the job, they may find themselves out of the office more than workers from previous generations. Another Wain research paper indicated that a significant amount of workers spend time working from home or on the road. Also, enabling employees to work outside the office or remotely and still be productive means access to a larger talent pool.
Face-to-face communication through video conferencing can also lead to a direct financial boost, as the technology allows for an intimacy with prospective customers that isn’t possible via telephone calls and emails. While video conferencing isn’t quite the same as meeting someone “in the flesh” – the long-distance interactions can be an effective supplement to travel-facilitated meetings.
The whitepaper cited Amazon’s new Mayday feature that literally puts a face to the company’s customer support services – something that increases an emotional connection between Amazon and its customers. The report said Mayday is also a sign that video conferencing technology is going mainstream.
Finally, a video conferencing solution means a chance for better teamwork and a faster decision-making process. The Wain report said video conferencing can be used to build trust between collaborators, bridge cultural differences and facilitate decisions. When multiple collaborators can engage in the same video chat, it allows for faster communications and less chance for miscommunications. Other Wain studies have shown that increasing process speed can be the biggest benefit of a visual collaboration solution.
First, a video conferencing solution should be easy to use. Many managers and employees are busy enough tackling their day-to-day responsibilities without having to learn how to operate a complex interface. Good solutions should focus on easy-to-use functions for use both in-meeting and in joining a meeting.
A video conferencing solution with Blue Jeans Network should also make it easy to schedule meetings across multiple devices and a good solution makes it possible to participate in a meeting on those devices. Both of these features together means it’s much easier to hold impromptu meetings. A good solution should also make it easy to share content. Talking about a concept or plan is much easier when an image or document can be shared amongst meeting participants.
Finally, a good solution should be able to integrate with both popular applications like Google Calendar, as well as legacy video technology. These integrations can ease a transition from older technology and allow for flexibility in the future. A good video conferencing system means a company is firmly entrenched in the 21st century way of doing business and should be considered a necessity moving forward.