In business, as in life, there are two occasions you should meet in person: the first time you meet someone important, and when you have something significant to celebrate. For everything else, there’s videoconferencing.
The humble human brain processes video 60, 000 times faster than text. Yes, you read that correctly, thousand. We're designed to communicate most effective face-to-face.
So why, when we have so much technology at our fingertips, do we still rely on using email to deliver the bulk of our most important messages?
The dominant business communication channel in business today is still probably the trusty old email. Research shows that more than 205 billion emails are sent a day. That’s a mind boggling 2.4 million emails dispatched every second. Now, we all know how a mountain of emails in your inbox can start to pile up and eat into your most productive working hours. Or indeed, interrupt your evening in front of Netflix.
Why Email Can’t Replace Real Conversations
Yes, emails are a crucial part of business and personal communications because of their flexibility. They’re instant, can be answered at any time, and bridge the gap between time zones or schedules. They’re convenient, because you can answer them anywhere without disturbing others.
But it’s this convenience that is also their weakness. Most people nowadays find their professional landscape dominated by a dark, menacing mountain of email.
Emails can also be fairly impersonal, especially when sending to someone you’ve never actually met in person. It’s difficult to send or receive a full range of emotions through words written on screen. Not only that, you have to wait for an unknown time for a response to your questions. In essence, whilst email can stimulate spoken communication, it can’t ever really achieve the real thing; the human element is missing, as we get separated not only by geography, but by technology too.
Videoconferencing: Technology with a Personal Touch
In 2017 it’s possible for almost any business to utilize high quality video calls and meetings. Videoconferencing-as-a-service, or VCaaS, delivered through the cloud lets users join a video meeting or video call with almost any device, as well traditional videoconferencing systems. Video meetings and calls through VCaaS are now much more flexible in meeting the needs of ordinary businesses than even just a few years ago, with the ability to connect people and technology seamlessly for productive workflows uninterrupted by low quality audiovisual performance or compatibility issues.
Use videoconferencing for personal conversations wherever you are in the world
But the power of videoconferencing is much more than about simply reducing our reliance on email. It can offer a range real benefits that other enterprise communication channels can't match, simply by helping us be more human in how we communicate at work:
- Minimize misunderstandings. Videoconferencing participants can “read the room” in a literal sense. On the phone you have tone of voice and language to go on; with a video meetings there’s the opportunity to take in body language, facial expressions and other visual cues for greater context.
- Stimulate better participation in meetings. People will give more if they feel they’re in the spotlight. Being in the spotlight should be the chance for your star performers to shine with more active participation. On an audio conference call or a long messy email thread it’s very easy to fade into the background.
- Improve your training processes. For many businesses, training or developing their staff usually means sending team members to different locations, with the associated travel expenses and time lost to traveling. This is probably leads to training not being offered at an optimal level. But with video, you can cover almost any subject (OK, not first aid) efficiently with participants spread across the globe. Along with being able to share videos and presentations, some VCaaS service will allow you to record and/or stream your training sessions to help you share and enhance your training processes across your company.
- Save time and money by replacing travel with video. In an age where most businesses have been touched by globalization, some travel for work is unavoidable. However, with enterprise cloud video services, your video meetings should be delivered over a dedicated network, rather than the public internet (like consumer video platforms are). This results in high quality calls on a reliable performance. So you can hold rich, productive meetings without people having to jump on a plane. Less traveling translates to a better ROI for your company, whilst pleasing your kids at your small contribution to reducing your carbon footprint.
- Make remote working more productive and open up new opportunities. Video meetings mean that even when you’re out of the office, you can still be “in” the office, with no drop-off in productivity levels. Not only that, but effective remote working creates opportunities for companies to expand their horizons. Work with the best in the business, regardless of where they are in the world, as if they’re sitting next to you in the office; now, finding new talent becomes a truly tantalizing prospect for any business wanting to excel. Emailing someone you’ve never met precludes building a genuine personal relationship, but seeing that person face to face can make a distant colleague feel closer than ever.