I hear this all the time from our new clients – “We want to make our virtual meetings more interactive.” One of the first things I ask is if they are using web based video conferencing. The answer is usually no – even when they have the feature easily available.
No wonder their web and audio conferences don’t feel interactive.
The guess work involved with having a meeting solely supported by verbal communication can make even the most engaging calls can feel disjointed.
When people are engaged, they nod, smile and lead forward. Without those non-verbal cues, you are left wondering if people really are engaged. Without seeing your team, you never really know if they are giving your objective their undivided attention. Silence could mean your team is in deep thought or it could mean they are distracted by something else. Without seeing them, you simply don’t know if it’s a productive silence or a sign that communication is failing.
Here’s a blunt truth – if people are not in front of you on video, you can pretty much count on them doing something else. They aren’t going to be engaged. They’ll be checking their e-mail, eating their lunch or whatever else people do when they are on blind conference calls. If they are on video with the entire team, they will be far less likely to disengage and start multi-tasking.
Truly successful meetings happen when a group of people come together as a team, focused on an objective. Only then can all the diverse resources each person brings to the meeting be properly extracted. This is called teaming. Teaming is hard enough to accomplish in person. It increases in complexity when people meet through technology. As the leader, it’s your job to ensure you use every asset available to facilitate teaming if you want to be productive.
One of the easiest and most readily available way to increase interactivity and help create a teaming environment among geographically separated individuals is through video conferencing. If you want your conference calls to be more interactive, more effective, and more productive, ask everyone to turn on their camera. It’s that simple.
Of course, there are plenty of other best practices and tips that can lead to more productive meetings. If you would like to hear more, please sign up for our newsletter.
You might also enjoy:
Why you really called an Audio Conference…and Why You Shouldn’t – “There is a way to do it better. Find it.”
Effective Meeting Prep – How to Sharpen your Meeting Objective – This one action can exponentially increase the net results of your meetings
Why Most Meetings are Not Productive – How to increase productivity by decreasing interference.
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