Putting a face to business

There’s nothing better than a face-to-face conversation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a team project update, a one-on-one with a potential client, or a management meeting – in each case, seeing each other improves the experience and the outcome.

For a long time, videoconferencing was confined to businesses at the big end of town, but affordable technology means that small to medium businesses can now get high-quality video and the benefits of ‘face time’.

5 reasons to videoconference

1. Cuts travel costs
The price of business travel really adds up. As well as airfares and accommodation costs, the lost productivity from people being away, and the fatigue they might suffer after getting back can also impact on your business. Videoconferencing lets you talk, face-to-face, without you having to pack your luggage.

2. Enhances relationships
Seeing people’s faces helps us understand them better. We read visual clues and pick up on body language. ‘Face time’ has benefits for any business. Relationships that used to take months to build over email and phone, take just a few meetings using video. It can lead to vastly improved relationships with customers and employees.

3. HELPS Improve productivity
Having a stronger, more trusting relationship can have a direct impact on a business’s productivity. That might sound like pop psychology, but it’s true: when a team of people have a better rapport, they collaborate more effectively and get things done faster. Because of this, videoconferencing has a particular benefit for businesses that are run out of several sites across the country. The ‘people power’ of video makes the distances between them irrelevant.

4. Takes a big step up from Skype
Web-based video chat tools such as Skype operate over the public internet, which means they can be disrupted. A system deployed on your private IP network, however, ensures your meeting will be private, secure and high-quality. Skype also has smaller screens than a business-grade solution. As simple as it sounds, with bigger screens can come better relationships.

5. Expands your meeting opportunities
Videoconferencing can be moulded to suit your situation. Imagine this: a one-on-one meeting is completed with a simple video call from your desk. A road show or training session is transformed into an immersive video experience, complete with presentation tools, that will really stick in the minds of your audience. A many-to-many conference becomes an interactive video meeting room, where all attendees can participate and be seen, making their voices (and opinions!) heard.

You can access all of these face-to-face experiences through videoconferencing, while at the same time you reduce your business’s travel miles and costs, see your carbon emissions plummet and your environmental credentials begin to sparkle. 

Read our case study on HYDAC, a business which has saved big bucks with the help of videoconferencing.

Videoconferencing basics

  1. Become familiar with your videoconferencing system and work to its strengths. If you’re nervous, practise beforehand.
  2. Maintain eye contact by looking directly into the camera. It might help to envision the video camera as one of the people in a meeting.
  3. Wear solid-coloured clothes, not busy patterns. Complex patterns can confuse the video.
  4. Do you have a habit of pacing while you’re presenting? Lay down some tape on the floor so you know exactly how far you can stroll.
  5. People will be more engaged if you talk to them rather than read from a PowerPoint screen. Involve participants just as you would if they were in the same room. Try to show how interactive videoconferencing can be so other staff make the most out of it, too.
  6. Jot down the various office sites participating in the conference before you begin and draw them into the experience by using the location name, or even the names of individual staff if you know them.
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