The Top 3 Advantages of Video Communications in Today's Workplace

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. After joining Avaya and hiring a dozen people to work for me around the world, I would argue that a video is worth a million in the workplace.

According to a research report by Transparency Market Research, the video conferencing market is expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent. It’s no wonder the market is expanding. Communicating with co-workers via video offers three major advantages:

#3: Authentic Engagement

I’ve worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years with people in offices across North America and around the world. Although telephony and e-mail started out as the preferred way to communicate, instant messaging became more common and convenient over time.

However, all three forms of communications–while often the best alternative to face-to-face interaction–do not provide a natural experience. People can sound distant and cold on the phone or in an e-mail. Even a conversation with a high-energy person can oscillate between energetic vocal stimulation and silence. With video communications, everything changes. The ability to see one another allows participants to have a conversation that feels more authentic.

#2 It’s Easy to Use

In the past, participating in a video conference involved scheduling the event days ahead of time and going to a specially-equipped room at the appointed hour. After spending several minutes entering crazy codes, participants would finally see a room full of people on the screen, often experiencing questionable video quality. Going through that exercise for just one person was virtually unheard of.

Today, with the video experience moving to individual consumers, whether via smartphones or laptop computers using Facebook, Skype or Google+, one-on-one hangouts have become commonplace. And they can all be done with the click of a button. The video quality on a consumer video call may only be satisfactory, but simplicity always wins over functionality. People will tolerate imperfect video quality if it is easy to use.

This is exactly what is happening in the workplace. Establishing a video session in the office is as simple as clicking on a link in a calendar meeting. That same meeting can be held on the smartphone or tablet, and the image quality is remarkable. The complexity of the past has been replaced by the simplicity of the present.

#1 The Ability to Read Non-Verbal Cues

The most important advantage of video communications in business discussions is the ability to pick up on non-verbal communications. Facial expressions can be read. Smiles can be seen. Eyes looking with disbelief are apparent. Talking to someone face to face via video allows participants to react to one another’s body language, vocal patterns and many other subconscious cues they likely are not even aware of.

After using video for 6 months with a team of people in 9 different time zones, I have completely changed the way I work. The phone looks so cold, and voices on the speakerphone seem so distant. I never would have believed it, but I now wonder how I ever worked without video communications before.

Let me know about your experiences with video communications in today’s workplace.

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