In today’s workplace, organizations are embracing digital transformation as their workforces become more distributed. Simply put, most businesses are both accepting and aware of the fact that we just can’t be in the same room as the people we work with all the time.
One of the strongest communication tools that connects distributed teams around the globe is video. In addition to conference calls, meetings are now held via video chat platforms to provide an additional feeling of communication happening in real time. In fact, studies show that communication is improved with visual, non verbal cues— nearly 80% of communication is non verbal, with 55% portrayed through body language.
Video Meetings By the Numbers
Recently, Fuze teamed up with Pulse Q&A to conduct a study of IT Executives in North America to better understand how they are using communications technology in their daily workplace routines. In a study comprised of 27% C-Suite members, 56% Directors, and 17% VPs, we found that IT leaders are showing increasing responsiveness towards using video functionality in the workplace. Particularly for external communications, seeing is believing.
When attending internal meetings or calls, 31% of respondents said they would turn on video functionality. A further 33% said they would sometimes or ‘more often than not’ use video functionality for in-house calls.
For external meetings, this number increased with 59% using video functionality often or sometimes for external meetings. Over 80% of IT leaders surveyed find meetings to be more productive when using video functionality.
Getting Started with Video Meetings
If either you or your company are just starting to use video for meetings, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
1. Start your meeting with a review of participants and agenda.
When running meetings either internally or externally, it always helps to introduce yourself as the meeting host, identify the participants on the call and their roles, and review the objective for the call. This can help participants get a visual sense of who is involved in the project, what will be discussed, and prepare their talking points or questions for the meeting as well.
2. Maintain eye contact with your camera, not your screen.
When we video chat with people, it’s typical that we look to the images on our screen and speak directly back to the picture shown there. However, for a more personal approach during meetings, speak right into the camera built into the top of your laptop, desktop, or conference room setup so that it appears you’re making direct eye contact with meeting participants (or whoever is speaking). This really helps intensify a connection and shows you are both concentrating and fully immersed in the meeting itself.
3. Keep yourself on mute when not speaking.
As a courtesy, it’s best to keep yourself on mute while you’re not speaking during a meeting. There is usually some feedback during video conference meetings, as well as potential background noise that can be disruptive. For example, if you sit in an office with an open floor plan, the background noise of your office might be too disruptive for the call. By muting yourself, you allow the call to progress more smoothly and show respect to the host and other meeting participants.
Increasing Company-Wide Video Adoption
If your organization has already been using video for meetings, there are ways to increase awareness of this as well as improve company-wide adoption. Below are some best practices that one of our customers, an 800+ person UK-based professional services company, put into effect:
1. Find video champions.
As with most internal initiatives, it’s critical to find champions that can advocate for video meetings to other employees and executives. By analyzing the data, you can identify who is heavily using video during their meetings and approach them about encouraging other members of the company to start using more video.
2. Enable meeting rooms.
People will not begin to adopt new technology or routines without direct guidance. If you enable your meeting rooms with video capabilities so that setting up a call becomes seamless, employees will begin to embrace the change. You can do this by equipping meeting rooms with the appropriate technology, but also by putting an easy-to use Meeting Room guide in every meeting room.
3. Lead by example.
The best way to encourage certain behaviors is to demonstrate them yourself. If employees are expected to use video for meetings but don’t see that being adopted from the top down, they simply will not do it. Company leadership can make video usage an organizational policy for certain calls (like weekly team meetings), and both initiate and ensure that they are using video to encourage the team to use theirs.
4. Train & communicate.
When making the push to company-wide video usage, it’s important to emphasize not only how to use the functionality, but also explain why it will improve employees’ daily life. For example, with a more flexible work from home policy, it should be expected that video meetings become the standard given that employees are remote. By using video more frequently, travel costs can be reduced and that budget can be available to benefit workers in other areas.
5. Encourage feedback.
Ultimately, video adoption can’t be successful if you don’t identify any issues— foreseen or not— that arise. Set a regular cadence to gather feedback from every team across your business to understand what is working and what isn’t in their video adoption process. You can then work with your champions to brainstorm ways to address any cross-functional concerns that emerge.
How Can Your Departments Use Video?
The professional services company & Fuze customer, mentioned above, made sure that video meetings were being adopted across their organization. Below details how some of their departments integrated video into their daily responsibilities.
Video collaboration helps improve corporate communications, increase customer relationships, and maximize shareholder value. Board meetings, company-wide messages, annual investment reporting, and deal negotiations can all be completed using video without the need for expensive and time-consuming travel. The end result is a highly-efficient organization that is strongly positioned for success.
Training & Enablement
Distance learning provides the ability to extend training beyond an on-site classroom and into the remote offices and desktops of the students. Training remains interactive and visual to ensure maximum effectiveness. But with video, time, costs, and resource requirements are minimized. Furthermore, training sessions can be recorded for on-demand viewing and watched any time and any place.
Video provides the ability to reduce product development cycles, enhance team communications, and complete developments sooner. It can overall lead to increased productivity and collaboration among fast-paced developer teams.
HR departments can use collaboration in all facets of HR policy administration— from the hiring process to training to employee communications. Instead of voice-only phone interviews, for example, remote video-based interviews can be held to simplify interview coordination, reduce hiring time, and shrink associated interview travel costs.
Customer Service & Support
For customer service and support, video provides the ability to provide the highest level of service via visual collaboration resulting in quicker response times, face-to face interaction, and in-depth problem analysis and resolution.
Sales and Marketing
Collaboration solutions enable better tracking of sales opportunities, enhanced customer and vendor relationships, efficient project management functions and better alignment of sales and marketing goals and objectives.
In the age of digital transformation, usage of video functionality during meetings is on the rise. If you use video communications technology at your workplace, make sure you’re being the best meeting attendee possible and enabling other departments across your organization to do the same.