At LifeSize, we like to talk about “connected relationships”. But what does that mean, exactly? Aren’t all relationships “connected”? A relationship can take on a number of manifestations: there are casual, working relationships where perhaps you are on a first-name basis via email, there are more engaging work relationships where you share thoughts and ideas with one another, and then there are “connected relationships”. Connected relationships happen when you feel you actually know the other person with whom you are working: you trust them, share jokes, discuss each others’ lives outside of work and have a genuine interaction. On Friendship Day, I was inspired to write this post to discuss why I believe video conferencing is not only the best way to build connected relationships at work, it is the only way.
There is simply no other way to replicate an in-person interaction other than video conferencing. Though instant messaging and texting are indeed instant, so much is left up to misinterpretation. Even emoticons and emojis can’t fix that. And email, though in-depth and often more nuanced than IM or SMS, tends to lead to long chains of responses, “Reply All” errors, and simultaneous replies which creates even more confusion. Then, there’s the phone call. If you are lucky enough to escape telephonitis, audio conferencing simply isn’t as productive as it is touted to be. How many of you have had lunch during an audio call? Surfed the web? Took a nap? All of the above? (That’d be impressive.) Even when you add the presentation component, it still doesn’t equal full engagement. All members have to be seen, heard and share ideas immediately if a real effective meeting is to happen.
For many people, doing a video call seems like a lot of work. Cool, yes. But worth their time? No way! But what they don’t understand is that today’s video conferencing is as easy as sending a guest invitation to someone’s email address and connecting face to face in seconds. The question, “Why Video?” is still a common one, but my hope is that it won’t be for long. With video conferencing solutions continuously getting easier to use, it’s time to get off of email, stop IM’ing and get rid of audio and web conferences. The Jetsons had it right, video conferencing is the future. On Friendship Day, I encourage you to think about the relationships you have – in your personal life and in business – and how technology like video conferencing could help make those relationships even stronger. Go on, give it a try!