Blog: To meet in person, or stage a video conference?

Wednesday 24 April 2013

In the ultra-competitive business environment of today, making a great first impression with prospective clients is of vital importance. If your company, or people, fail to tick all the necessary boxes during that first meeting, the chances are the potential customer will look elsewhere for a partner or supplier.

Business leaders are acutely conscious of this fact, and this is why many companies continue to spend significant sums on business travel, presentations and hospitality. They know that there may only be a single opportunity to grab the big contracts, and it's vitally important to show your company in the best possible light.

Many customers continue to prefer face-to-face meetings, where they can get a better feel for the business and its employees - and also read body language and other non-verbal communication. For this reason, the use of video conferencing technology may not be appropriate in the first instance - the potential client is likely to expect a meeting in person.

However, that is not to say that video technology does not have a role to play - it certainly does in modern business.  Used in an appropriate context, HD video conferences allow meetings to be staged virtually, potentially reducing the costs and time commitment involved for all parties.

When the business and customer has a long-standing relationship, and the individuals involved in the meeting have got to know each other, it may make more sense to conduct meetings remotely. Participants can still see who they are talking to - they are just not in the same building. Or even country, perhaps - relieving the travel burden.

Experience should indicate when it is appropriate to use collaboration technology in lieu of a full, in-person meeting. Used appropriately, video conference can reduce logistical complexity, reduce costs and boost everyone's productivity for the day. But used at the wrong time - when a traditional meeting is the better option - and this may not reflect as well on the company.

Microsoft Office 365 enables businesses to stage high-quality HD video conferences over the web - to find out more click here.

Posted by Sarah Parish