56% of global CFOs are willing to invest in video conferencing to reduce travel but do we have a proper guide to follow when video conferencing? Online interactions have increased significantly as video conferencing apps have gained popularity and in this post, we will explore the do’s and don’ts associated with video conferencing.
How do we Video Conference?
Several video conferencing applications have emerged like Skype, Viber, Hangouts and Whatsapp. Skype and Whatsapp offer higher quality video calls and enable you to transfer documents, pictures and audio files while on call. Similarly, mobile applications like Viber and Hangouts have migrated to other platforms like desktops and tablets to enable you to continue your conferences on-the-go. Unlike Skype, the other video conferencing mobile apps consume lesser mobile data but provide a lower audio-video sound quality. Businesses using video conferencing see a 30% reduction in travel costs. 79% of survey respondents used video conferencing in dedicated video conference rooms.
Hardware Vs Software
Unlike hardware enabled video conferencing devices, your employees will be empowered and connect to video calls across all locations with software based applications. This increases productivity because communication is more direct. Teams and project managers across locations, even in the same city can come together easily. Your business results can be achieved faster as you can review tasks and other deliverables during the call with apps. This improves the speed of projects and productivity.
How should we conduct ourselves on video conferences?
- Look at the camera, speak and simulate eye contact, introduce everyone if you are running the meeting
- Do not eat, type or read something else. Imagine that you are actually sitting in front of a person in a conference room. People at the other end can see that you are distracted if you do not engage and pay attention
- Make sure that you are sitting in a place which is neat, tidy and most importantly quiet with a neutral background behind you
- When connecting to a video conference calls from home, make sure there are no interruptions from parents, your spouse or children
- Ensure that you have a good internet connection. Conference calls must not allow presenters to fade away
- Stick to the point and do not meander between topics
- Set your microphone on mute when you are not speaking as it may pick up background noise from others on call. Respect the other players on the call by offering them a clean auditory environment to engage with all those on the call
- Dress well especially if you are working from home. Always remember that it is an official call and people can see you
On the importance of business etiquette, Kavitha Cariappa, Founder, wordrobe explained, “Just because we have moved into the Digital Age, this does not mean that we forget about etiquette. With the marketplace becoming a global one, video conferencing has become the norm, especially as we can connect through so many different platforms. Technology has brought us all to one common platform.”
Cariappa added, “The most important aspect is work-life balance. People can actually have a life. Especially when working with partners, clients, etc. who are overseas, you don’t need to be in office to take a call. As long as you have good network connection at home, you can work from home.”
Using your smartphone as a business device
Platforms like Skype and WhatsApp enables us to be more connected. Visual contact is more stimulating than just a voice at the other end of the line. Messages are instantaneous and feedback can be provided on the spot and directed to their respective individuals. Your smartphone will allow you to travel the greater distance through video conferencing from the comfort of your room for meetings. This will enable you to have an empowering, interactive and responsive interaction.
Discussing how video conferencing has changed for small businesses, Deepika Das, CEO at Spoment Media said, “Most large scale corporate houses used secured lines but with the start-up boom, more and more smaller companies are depending on various video conferencing apps to get the job done.”
Das added that as office environments grow more casual, even the decorum on business calls seems to have receded. However, basic etiquette is paramount. For example, timely attendance, being courteous with appropriate language and most importantly, ensure that the agenda is addressed with everyone getting a chance to voice their opinion.
Video has a ‘multiplier effect’ that will allow you to engage with several locations at the same time and this visual presence magnifies your presence in the room. With this, you can check on results, daily tasks and check on work progress without having to be present at the location of the video conference call. These video conferencing etiquette tips will give you that professional look and delivery to engage effectively and make your video conferences as productive as a face to face meeting.