20 Nov 2012

Key conferencing considerations

How can you harness the benefits of conferencing solutions? Whether your business is spread out geographically, or you use teleworking and remote working, conferencing and team meetings can be a challenge when staff aren’t all in the same physical location. Teleconferencing technology is a more time and cost effective solution than travel, but it’s important to get it right. Here are some tips to consider. 1. Use video Facial expressions and body language account for over 50% of the content and impact of a message. It helps to build working relationships when we can put names to faces. Teleconferencing via a telephone can be like meeting people in the dark. It’s good for one-on-one communications, but quickly gets confusing in a group situation. Research suggests that we only capture 70-80% of the information in a voice-only teleconference. That figure falls even lower when it comes to conferencing over a mobile phone, due to poorer audio quality and connectivity. As a result, video is key for removing distance and creating high performance teams. 2. Get the right technology Video conferencing at low quality resolutions won’t deliver the clarity you need for really meaningful interaction. High definition is ideal, but it requires network bandwidth as well as HD camera equipment. Having an experienced technology partner and investing in a managed video conferencing solution may cost more upfront than Skype, but you will get a much more robust and reliable result. And you will still save more than 30% compared to the costs of travelling. 3. Have a professional set up Always consider lighting and background. Light is very important to video quality, and is critical if you use “green screen” technologies to include a virtual background. For a home office, consider using background such as a bookcase, or place a company logo if there is a blank wall behind you. Dress professionally regardless of the time of day: even if you are conferencing with people in different time zones, wear office-appropriate clothing. 4. Mobile considerations If you are conferencing from a remote location, and mobile connectivity is poor, consider keeping to audio only. It will take less bandwidth and give you clearer audio, and you won’t suffer the distractions of broken, staggering video. As mobile networks improve and 4G LTE becomes more widely available, mobile video conferencing will become more viable. Also keep mobile conferences shorter. Mobile phones aren’t really designed for prolonged team meetings in the same way that desktop conferencing solutions are. Through the right conferencing solution, you can save time and money and be more environmentally conscious, while still maintaining face-to-face business relationships with staff and customers. How is teleconferencing working for you? Are you seeing the benefits of video?