Whether you’re part of a team of two or 20, if your group sits down the hall, in the next building, across the city or around the world, keeping track of a project’s moving parts can be challenging. And sure, with email, instant messages, and a slew of collaborative software, working together remotely is easier than it used to be. Still, because of the way we communicate, productivity issues are likely to crop up along the way.
One reason is that we use email for virtually everything. When all team members start weighing in or asking questions, chains can very quickly become so long and unwieldy that the original message is lost. This can cause plenty of confusion.
Adding to the problem is the fact that the majority of communication is non-verbal. (In one study, researchers found that 55 percent of communication is body language, 38 percent is tone of voice and just 7 percent is the actual words spoken). So, when you can’t see people talking, you’re missing a lot of the message. Which is why video conferencing can be so important when trying to communicate clearly.
While that idea might give you pause, consider this: according to one recent study, 90 percent of respondents thought video made it easier to communicate clearly and get their point across, and 94 percent of respondents felt that video conferencing improved productivity. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If all of this sounds great, but you’re not quite sure when, how or why you’d use group video calls, keep reading. It can help streamline your day and make it more productive.
Let’s take a look at five of video conferencing’s most significant benefits.
Many of our modern modes of communication, like text, online chats, in-document and in-app comments, were designed for quick bursts of text —not nuanced conversations. And because of this, many people communicate in a short and to-the-point style.
Unfortunately, this can lead readers to infer “tone.” And depending on their day or mood, that inferred tone may lead to hurt feelings and bruised egos—or it could happily be accepted. It all depends on what “lens” your reader is viewing the message through.
However, you can empower teams to communicate clearly using verbal and non-verbal cues and ensure your team is focused on each other. When everyone can see and be seen, it’s more likely that they’ll pay attention). Plus, with screen sharing, everyone on the call can view documents and drawings, which also makes collaborating easier.
As a bonus, with video conferencing, busy teams and remote workers can still join in, whether they’re working at the office, from home, at a café or even at the airport.
Email takes up 28 percent of the average professional’s day, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR). And when you’re working on a project, it can disrupt your flow and kill your productivity. In fact, the HBR says “some research suggests that it can take people up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds to fully recover after an interruption, such as a break to check email.”
One way to reduce the amount of mail in your team’s inbox is to talk things over in a group video call instead of a long email string. By using a daily or weekly video call, you can touch base on projects and timelines, discuss ideas, share screens and collaborate on deliverables, and make sure everyone’s focused and on the same page. You can do it all on a schedule that your team plans for, or spontaneously as needs arise.
Does quick work of one-on-ones
One reason video conferencing can be so helpful when providing constructive feedback, employee reviews, giving direction and setting expectations is that it’s all too easy for people to apply “tone” to written words.
By having a face-to-face conversation, you can both see and be seen, hear and be heard, and send and receive messages clearly. And you can do it all without inferring “tone.” Plus, according to a report by the Washington Post, “research shows face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than those sent by email,” which means that with a video call, you’re more likely to get a positive outcome.
Simplifies face-to-face client meetings
Group video calls can not only help your internal team work better together, but they can help you build your business, too. In one survey, 94 percent of those who use video in meetings said it helped their businesses grow.
By allowing everyone to be seen and heard, you can communicate more clearly, and with screen sharing features, you can also share relevant information. Along with that, video conferencing can help you understand one another’s culture, encourage participation and build relationships. And with the power to include more stakeholders and minimize travel, it’s no wonder to those surveyed credit group video calls with having such a positive impact on their business.
Makes record-keeping easy
Even if you take copious notes during a meeting, questions will come up. And when they do, the only way to get the answers you need is by asking others what they recalled. Open questions can mean yet another email string and room for misunderstanding. But with a video conferencing solution that lets you record and transcribe your meetings, you can quickly find the answers you need and not have to rely on memory. Plus, if a team member or stakeholder couldn’t make the call, the recording gives you an easy way to bring them up to speed.
Not only can video conferencing help you communicate more clearly, include more stakeholders without the expense (or disruption) of travel and keep better records, it can improve your productivity. And, depending on the technology you already have, it may require very little investment – making it an easy win for your team, your company and your bottom line.