Let’s face it: meetings suck. They’re often boring, ineffective and a waste of time. Though we can’t live with them, we also can’t live without them if we want to coordinate a team of people to work towards one goal. Luckily, advancements in technology are making it less important to actually deal with real people and easier to interface with an avatar on a computer screen or a voice in a box, instead. Conference calls and web conferencing have moved to the fore of company communication options thanks to the efficiencies they introduces to group workflow. Innovations in telephone, video and web conferencing have made it easier to keep meetings painless.
Web conferencing is great for meetings and training sessions that require multimedia. The swift ascendance of web video has created a demand for playback features in most web-based conference programs. You can see products like FaceTime and Google Hangouts spearheading the movement on the consumer front, while conference companies have reacted by adding a new video playback feature to software that allows videos to be submitted and played during a conference. It’s an efficient way to transmit materials efficiently and ensure that multiple parties are receiving materials in real-time.
Web conferences also ameliorate crosstalk that confounds and gets in the way of real-world meetings. Communication is extended to text and voice chats in addition to video so that everyone can be heard, read or seen. Text chats can be saved and referenced later, so whoever used to take minutes can actually focus on the conversation.
Voice Over IP Conferences
Of course, sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles, and for the ascetic business-types, there are simple VOiP conferences. This branch on the conferencing tree is good for very quick meetings: confirming details with clients, making sure the pizza is square-cut and other issues that don’t warrant too much handholding. Depending on your needs, phone conferences might not be as convenient as web based conferences, but if you’re working with companies that aren’t as technically proficient as others, you might want to get them used to telephone conferences first. VOIP allows you to use Internet based services while providing the phone familiarity.
Video conferencing is much easier than it used to be thanks to Al Gore and the Internet he invented. Internet access provides pretty much everything you need to have your videoconferences. The obvious advantage of video conferencing is that it gives you the impression of face-to-face meetings without actually having to worry about coffee breath or driving time. Organizations with a global workforce or even just a particularly mobile one can benefit from regularly scheduled videoconferences to coordinate with the diaspora.
Simply put, you have lots of options when it comes to avoiding interpersonal contact, maintaining an air of mystery and/or streamlining operations at your organization. For fledgling companies, it can be a remarkably cost-saving endeavor. For global conglomerates, it can ALSO be a cost-saving endeavor and provide a means of communicating efficiently in real-time with a diffuse work force.
That is, what we call in the business, a “win-win.”