Video conferencing is the ability to connect a live video feed and sound in real-time between at least two people. It’s a technology that’s been around since the 1960s when a device known as the “Picturephone” was first introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. These days, of course, the technology is far more sophisticated and integrated into everyday life.
Remote meetings, for instance, are becoming more necessary. Nearly three-quarters of executives say their network of workers and suppliers is global, according to Forbes Insight research. Plus, practically two-thirds of companies now allow employees to telecommute to a significant degree. That’s more than just convenient. Studies show that working offsite can increase productivity and reduce attrition.
If you can’t easily get a team together in person, video conferencing is the next best thing. Why? Research shows that seeing your colleagues face-to-face, even virtually, creates a sense of connectedness and therefore builds trust. In a 2017 global survey of thousands of workers, 92 percent of respondents said that video conferencing means better teamwork and better relationships.
But there’s a big difference between good-enough virtual collaboration and best-in-class collaboration. You want to ensure that any tool you use is going to help your team work smarter. Video conferencing is one of those mission-critical tools.
The advantages of video conferencing
Here are three ways video conferencing will help all kinds of teams be more productive, connected and innovative.
1. Online video conferencing
Online video conferencing is a solution that most companies use for virtual meetings. Businesses find that video meetings can boost morale and engagement, especially for remote teams. That’s in part because, research shows, the vast majority of communication is based on nonverbal cues. These come through on video, not audio. Some of the best online video conferencing solutions also have built-in tools such as notetaking, chat, scheduling and screen sharing —features that can make workflows more integrated and efficient. Most tools offer mobile solutions, too, so employees can log in and take a video conference from anywhere.
An online video conference is great for:
- Daily “standups,” or frequent, small-team meetings designed to be quick (even these can benefit from face-to-face communication)
- Regularly scheduled staff meetings in which you can treat a video conference like your team’s conference room
- Interviews with potential job candidates
- Connecting with clients and sharing data, progress or ideas
- All-hands or internal townhall meetings where important or sensitive information is being shared
2. Live broadcasts
A live broadcast is another form of online video conferencing that can be extremely effective, especially for connecting with people outside your organization. It means you can broadcast a meeting, presentation, conference, workshop or live event to thousands of online viewers.
Plus, the viewers can participate in real-time. You can also record the event and package it for later use by either employees or customers. It’s a great way to showcase the work you do or attract people to your company through an exciting talk or panel.
Live broadcasts are great for:
- Virtual events of all kinds, including sales and marketing events open to the public
- Large, all-staff meetings
- Keynote speakers at a conference or company event, for either an internal or external audience
- Virtual town halls that could be a forum for dialogue among employees or the general public
3. Cloud video interoperability
Cloud video conferencing simply means a virtual meeting place that is housed online, rather than at your office. Interoperability means enabling different technical systems to work together. What’s great about cloud video interoperability is that even if meeting participants are using a range of different technology or software, they can still all access a video conference. This is especially useful if you’ve invited clients, customers or independent contractors who aren’t using the same systems you are to a meeting or event.
Cloud video interoperability is outstanding for:
- Seamlessly integrating and connecting a variety of devices and conference rooms
- Sharing data, dashboards and visual aids during a meeting, even with people using different kinds of devices and software
- Breaking down communication silos and improving relationships with clients
Some best practices for video conferencing
Trying one or all of these models can help boost company morale and improve teamwork. But it can also promote your work to a larger audience and build your client base, leading to better business outcomes. A few simple tips can help make sure that happens, too.
Best practices for video conferencing include:
- Making sure all the technology works before the meeting starts, from the Internet connection to microphones
- Setting an agenda to keep the meeting driven and focused
- Actively engaging team members one at a time to avoid crosstalk or dead space
- Using visual aids, screen sharing and other collaborative tools to help increase engagement