Video conference – also referred to as teleseminars, audio conferencing, telephone conferencing and phone conferencing, are the live exchange of information between persons who are remote from one another but linked by a telecommunication system, usually a telephone line.
Video-conferencing is based on the same principles as teleconferencing with the added benefit of live imaging to enable virtual face-to-face interaction. This fosters greater clarity of meaning by being able to see nuances of the participants’ body language.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Enabling employees in geographically dispersed locations (including telecommuters) to have virtual face-to-face or audio meetings on short notice.
✓ Cascading information through various hierarchical levels.
✓ Linking different geographic locations together.
✓ Tracking progress.
✓ Conducting tutorials.
✓ Saving time and money on travel and airfares for face-to-face meetings while reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint.
✓ Exposing employees to new ideas, new products, etc.
Things to consider:
Choose the set-up of your tele/video-conferencing facility. Several systems are available. These include dedicated systems, which have all the required components packaged into a single piece of equipment. These can be installed in specially designated meeting rooms. Alternatively, opt for desktop systems that transform normal PCs into tele/video conference devices.
Several issues can impair the effectiveness of communication when opting for video-conferencing:
⇒ Participants speaking over top of each other. Ensure only one speaker at a time.
⇒ An incorrect impression that the speaker on screen is avoiding eye contact, although this issue is being addressed through new technologies.
⇒ Some speakers can become self-conscious about being ‘on camera’.
There are a number of video-conference software solutions available online. These use the internet as the connection between video conference participants. While they provide an easy alternative, they need to be carefully considered for possible security risks and bandwidth requirements.