Communicating effectively with colleagues and clients over long distances has a history of posing a challenge in the business world. Sure, you can get by on an audio-only conference call to get the job done. E-mails will get the message across, too. Neither of these modes of communication is as effective or natural as communicating through videoconference, however.
We’ve grown accustomed to doing business through the impersonal means of telephone or VOIP audio communications or shooting off a message via e-mail. We’ve also gotten complacent. There’s a lot lacking in other forms of communication, whereas videoconference is able to fill in the gaps. Though it’s not exactly the same as in-person communication, it’s the next best thing and provides the same benefits. The key is face-to-face contact, which can greatly improve overall delivery of message, tone, and meaning. Here’s why:
Meetings become more effective with immediate and direct contact
Being able to talk directly with members of a work team through videoconferencing gives the advantage of speed and efficiency. Rather than talking over one another on an audio conference call, or sending messages back and forth all day through e-mail, videoconferencing provides the option to have an effective, impromptu or scheduled meeting that can allow for efficient decision-making and consensus. The natural rapport that develops through a face-to-face meeting far exceeds that which can be garnered through audio-only or written correspondence.
Nonverbal clues hint at implicit or hidden meanings in speech
The majority of meaning in human communication takes place without even considering the words that come out people’s mouths. The nonverbal communication that we show through facial expressions, eye contact and hand gestures, among other formats, says a lot on its own. It’s easy to tell in a virtual meeting whether you have the attention of the room, or their patience is lagging; the same goes with knowing whether people understand you, agree with you, or are engaged the discussion. Without being able to see someone’s face and upper body, a lot of communication is missed, even if verbal cues like tone of voice and volume are being used. There’s just no replacing the high level of communication that occurs when you’re engaging someone the way humans were meant to, and this can all be done virtually through videoconferencing.
Face-to-face communication gives a personal touch
Many people find talking on the phone to be awkward, because it can be difficult to know whether everyone is on the same page or when it’s your turn to talk (among other reasons). While there are some people who prefer to communicate via e-mail, there comes a point where it’s just easier to deliver the message face-to-face. On the whole, other methods of communication that do not facilitate a face-to-face environment can seem impersonal, lacking the means for socialization that help develop a sense of community among meeting participants. When a sense of camaraderie is needed – and it’s always needed for a meeting – connecting through a videoconferencing can bring in that extra level of comfort and personal touch to help form and strengthen the bonds that build good working relationships.