Not a day goes by when you probably don’t use some sort of technology—software or phone app—to visually communicate with someone else at a distance. It goes beyond mere phone conversations. We live in an online, virtual world. We’ve all had personal or professional experiences via online meetings and virtual calls with friends and co-workers.
In fact, it’s easy for you to connect with people on the other side of the planet, instantaneously and visually, due to advancements in communications technology and equipment. Virtual meetings and video conferencing have become fairly common place. In most cases, it’s free. The magic of online technologies helps us form better relationships with others and make connections with associates and fellow employees that were not possible even a few decades ago.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of video conferencing.
Video Conferencing Means More Engagement Between Participants
Since participants can see each other, video calls and virtual meetings require a higher level of attentiveness than might be required during an audio-only call. You don’t have the freedom to zone out or multitask as you might be tempted to do during an audio call. You’re required to be present and attentive because everything you do is visible to all other participants. During a video call, you’re required to maintain “virtual eye contact,” leading to more engagement between the participants.
The engagement and interaction that occurs during a video call can allow participants to develop closer relationships, even between individuals who’ve not yet met. Video conferencing offers a feeling that participants are all in the same room. This means that when and if you finally do meet, it’s no longer like meeting a stranger. You’ve seen and recognize each other.
Video Conferencing Improves Communications
Forbes Insights conducted a global survey of 333 executives. In their research, they found that 62 percent of the executives felt video conferencing (when compared to audio conferencing) significantly improves the quality of communication. For high-growth companies, this percentage rises to 73 percent.
Rather than dealing with the frustration of long email chains, where the meaning and intent can be lost, meeting participants are able to see important visual cues such as facial expressions and body language shared by other participants. Visual cues indicating understanding, concern or frustration can be addressed immediately rather than being lost through a myriad of voicemails, IMs and emails. Video conferencing is as close to being there as it gets.
Additionally, video calls generally have designated start and stop times. This means that participants engage in less chit-chat and are more likely to remain alert and focused on the meeting’s agenda. This translates into less time wasted in meetings.
Video Conferencing Optimizes Attendance
Video calls make it easier for participants separated by distance to attend meetings. Additionally, video recording capabilities make it possible for everyone who needs the information to have it readily available. If they were unable to attend or need to review it in order to get a little more clarity, they can. It’s a video. Pull it up and play it back.
Video Conferencing Saves Time and Money
As more and more companies grow and businesses expand, it becomes increasingly difficult to have all team members present at meetings, especially when travel is involved. Video calls make it possible for team members to meet and have meetings as if you’re in the same room even when separated by continents, without the time and expense required for travel.
Being able to solve customer problems and issues without travel helps to improve business productivity for both parties—the business and their clients.
Even hiring becomes less of a hassle when candidates can be interviewed via video. Or, when managers cannot be part of the live interview process, they’re able to evaluate prospective employees via a recorded video call.
Projects are completed more quickly, and contracts are finalized with ease. It’s easy to see that video calls reduce the costs associated with running a business.
In a survey of 4,700 users, video conferencing’s top benefits were reported as:
- 94%—increased productivity and efficiency
- 88%—increased impact of discussions
- 87%—reduced travel
- 87%—expedited decision-making
Video Conferencing is Good for Employees
Employees in today’s business climate prioritize flexibility, mobility and modern forms of communication over the seclusion of private offices. Video conferencing brings remote workers and in-office employees face-to-face, boosting productivity for both while lowering travel costs. With the reduction in travel, employees can achieve a better work/life balance.
With the improved communications that video conferencing allows, team members are able to be more efficient and productive, as well as to:
- Make better decisions faster
- Act cohesively
- Work from home—alleviating the cost of commuting
- Develop and maintain close relationships with other team members even when working at home
Video calling helps remote employees feel closer to the home office, irrespective of their physical location. Dispersed employees can remain connected and aligned—feeling more in sync with each other.
Video Conferencing Etiquette
Video conferencing has been on the rise for quite some time. There has been a steady increase in the number of video conferencing apps and software. This is not surprising, since it reduces travel costs, helps complete projects quicker and easier, and improves communication between team members.
However, as video conferencing becomes the preferred communication tool for business, it might be helpful to refresh yourself on some virtual meeting etiquette 101:
- Mute yourself when you are not speaking
- During large, company-wide meetings when you’re not presenting, go ahead and turn your video off, too
- Be on time—nothing is more disruptive than latecomers who forget to mute themselves
- Ensure your video tech is working before you log on
- Wear appropriate clothing, please
- Frame your camera well—is there anything inappropriate in the background?
- Use the right light—natural lighting is best, when possible
- Look into the camera … let others know you want to hear what they have to say
- Pay attention, participate, be present in the meeting
- Close your door if you can, and warn family not to interrupt, if possible
One last thing, if you’re hosting the meeting, finish when you said you would. Do not drag it out. Start on time. Get to the point. Answer questions. Finish on time. Not only is it good for your and your co-worker’s productivity, it lets others know you have what it takes to lead … virtually.
Want to learn more about undergraduate and graduate degree programs that use virtual meetings and video conferencing? Look no further than University of the Cumberlands. With professors who have years of real-world experience in the same field they are teaching, very competitive tuition rates, and a sense of honor in everything we do, why look any further? See what UC can do for you by contacting an admissions counselor for more information or call us at 877-713-8767.