A new generation of consumers has quickly made video a built-in feature to their lives and a “must have” for any social interaction. Yet for all the hoopla in the consumer world, adoption still lags in the workplace. So why is the business community dragging its feet?
Until recently, the technology hasn’t been quite right for daily use in the office. Desktop video has not been reliable enough and higher-quality telepresence systems have been too costly and complex for the average worker to set up and use.
But times are changing. Technology caught up with our vision, and now we can conduct high-definition group video conferencing in the workplace using just a computer, webcam and regular Internet connection. We can meet with several co-workers around the globe or even hold an impromptu face-to-face brainstorm with a remote colleague. Designed around the user experience instead of a specific location or piece of hardware, video conferencing will change the idea of face-to-face meetings from something location-based to something you just do regardless of geography.
Assuming productivity and costs benefits are reason to try video conferencing for your company, here are a few tips to help your team get over that initial hesitation and start experiencing the next generation of business meetings:
Perfect Your Environment
Ensure your attendees are focused on the meeting rather than your environment:
- Situate yourself in front of a stationary wall (as opposed to a window) to decrease background distractions.
- Use a headset during any video session as speakerphones and computer microphones pick up a lot of outside noise.
- Avoid harsh lighting, and think about what you’ll be wearing – solids and neutral colors work best, while patterns, plaids and stripes can appear busy.
Develop Your Skills
Practice makes perfect:
- Do a test run with a colleague or friend to determine the best location and camera angle.
- Consider your placement in front of the camera – features can be distorted if you sit too close and unclear if you’re positioned too far away.
- Act like you normally would during an in-person meeting – focus on eye contact, make gestures deliberate and smooth and keep fidgeting to a minimum.
Know the Technology
Today most desktop video conferencing solutions include whiteboards, screen sharing and other productivity features:
- Get comfortable with the technology so you can guide other attendees on how to use features, adjust their appearances on camera, etc.
- If you’re leading the meeting, make slides or documents that you’ll be sharing visually exciting and plan shorter, more engaging sessions.
- Record and review your meetings and practice sessions so you can note what you do well and what part of your presentation needs improvement.
The business world is ready to take the video conferencing reins and eliminate the geographical boundaries that get in the way of clear, productive face-to-face meetings. When we use video conferencing to its true potential, dispersed teams can work together and more efficiently than ever. And that is truly revolutionary.