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Video Conferencing: Collaboration Tool or Workplace Distraction?

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Video Conferencing: Collaboration Tool or Workplace Distraction?

October 25, 2016
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Do you remember when video calling was first introduced? The concept was an exciting one in the 1980s, although most of us didn’t have a desire to ensure we always looked perfect each time the phone rang. Fast forward to 2016 and the capabilities of video conferencing are beyond what we could have imagined before, and many of us are embracing the opportunity.

Still, video conferencing is something we tend to want to keep in the boardroom. There are benefits to having the visual when on the phone with others in collaboration. You can see facial expressions, attempt to make eye contact, gauge the level of interest of the other person. Of course, there’s also the chance that the individual controlling the technology on the other end won’t pay attention and you’ll be looking at someone’s hands, the ceiling or a wall the whole time.

A recent post in the News Blaze examines the potential involved with video conferencing and if it’s something your company needs. Rushing into the concept can leave you paying too much or investing in a system that isn’t flexible enough to meet your needs down the road, or both. Before taking the leap, it makes sense to determine whether or not your business can profit from the technology and then work on a budget that won’t push on the budget too much before you start to see a return.

It’s also important to examine where you’re planning to use video conferencing and why. If you simply need to record a meeting, will audio meet the need or do you need to capture facial expressions? Is it necessary to hold the meeting at all or can you dispense the necessary information via email? If you plan to share information via video conferencing, keep in mind that people have very short attention spans and, unless you’re adding mystery and special effects, video may not be the way to go.

Keep in mind that video conferencing is also not the tool to put in place to impress clients. The technology is still evolving and, until we’ve perfected video conferencing etiquette as professionals, it’s still possible to present our worst sides through this medium. Instead, think in terms of conferencing that delivers value to those on the other end and the best way to get there.

Will collaboration across the miles between various individuals produce better outcomes, speed time-to-market or create an environment in which you can charge for the service? If so, video conferencing may make sense. If not, you may be putting too much time and effort into a technology you won’t end up using. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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