Featured Article from Conferencing

Video Conferencing: The Key to Teamwork

July 14, 2014

Email was the first great advancement in collaborative teamwork, enabling employees to share documents and information with each other easily and from any location. However, the limitations of email quickly became apparent as video conferencing technology gained momentum.

As outlined in a recent article in PC Mag, non-verbal communication is often overlooked for the extremely important role it plays in a discussion. Face-to-face interaction is the most direct way to communicate ideas, but in today’s society it is more often than not impractical. Video conferencing accounts for the benefits of face-to-face authenticity and combines it with the location flexibility and file sharing capability of email.

Email is simply not conducive to a natural discussion, as an email is a series of one-directional communications strung together without real-time interaction and feedback. Video conferencing allows the opportunity for a dynamic conversation that can flow in a certain direction as necessary. If aspects of a discourse need to be clarified, expanded on or even skipped over, the conference can easily adapt to that need without losing time. With email, there would need to be at least a reply from each party before that could happen.

Video conferences also bring back non-verbal cues, which are essential to a productive conversation. A significant portion of communication is achieved with body and facial language, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. An expression can alert the other person that something is confusing or offending without interrupting the flow of conversation or necessitating the possible embarrassment of announcing it. Even more importantly, it can help prevent a reaction being missed altogether, as is much more likely with email.

File sharing was one of the main benefits of email when it began being implemented in collaboration, but is improved upon in video conferences. This channel allows for real-time discussion of the files while they are in view of both parties, and can even be edited then as well. Explanations are almost always easier and clearer with a visual aid, and what could work better than the relevant documents themselves?

Video conferencing allows team members to communicate one-on-one or in groups, brings back access to the important non-verbal cues that were lost with the advent of email, and promotes real-time collaboration without delays. If a physical meeting is not practical for any reason, a video conference is clearly the next best option for a successful team.