WSJ: As videoconferencing technology becomes more sophisticated, it is slowly moving up the corporate ladder to the boardroom—helping to save some directors the hassle of air travel and making it easier for boards to recruit international members.
According to study results released by Cisco, users of video conferencing receive both quantitative and qualitative benefits from the technology. It also sets out to explain why there may be hesitation to use this collaborative tool. TMCnet reports:
The biggest barriers to adoption of video collaboration, the study found, are not technology limitations but rather lack of experience and/or lack of understanding about how benefits outweigh costs. People who regularly use this technology are generally eager to extol its benefits, and overwhelmingly say it is worth the cost. Yet those who do not use it have a hard time understanding why it would benefit them. It truly is a case of seeing-is-believing.
“Ninety percent of those who use video conferencing technologies once or more per week say video collaboration technologies save them at least 2 hours of valuable work time a week—yet only 33 percent of nonusers believe they could save any time using the technology,” Cisco said in a report about the study.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, extraverts are more often leaders of companies than are introverts. In fact, in the business world saying you’re an introvert can be a kiss of death. If an executive’s job is high profile and requires interacting with people and energizing a group, introverts can fall short as they are more reserved and think things through before speaking. But what secret can extroverts learn from their introverted peers? According to the April 20th article:
“Ian Cook, the chief of Colgate-Palmolive Co., characterizes himself as introverted. He believes his strong listening skills played a role in his steady advancement since he joined the consumer-goods manufacturer in 1976 as an assistant product manager. “I listen intently,” he says. “I am extremely attentive to language and body cues.”
When someone is attentive to body language, an audio-only meeting will never cut it! Video conferencing is a must-have.
Time and Cost Savings: Virtual field trips enable students to safely visit new places without leaving the classroom.
Increased Learning: Attention to the subject matter increases, resulting in improved retention.
Student Collaboration: Students from different schools can work together on the same project.
Team Teaching: Teachers can enhance curriculum by virtually bringing experts into the classroom.
Professional Development: Teachers can learn new skills or earn a degree without leaving their school.
Group Meetings: Increased speed of decision making for school board administrators.
In the business world, the ability to read others is essential for success. Winning a deal, managing a staff, or negotiating a contract requires insight into how the other parties are thinking. To influence others, we must gain their confidence and cater our message carefully based on verbal and non-verbal cues we receive. Often we are only as effective as the tools that are available to us for communicating. When visual cues are missing, as is the case in an audio conference that lacks interactive video conferencing, we can lose up to 80% of what is communicated to us through body language.
For example, law enforcement interviewers know that when a suspect is asked a question, it is important to watch the movement of his or her eyes when they are answering. One theory states that if a suspect is remembering something, their eyes will move to the right, in an outward manifestation of the brain activating the memory center. This tells the interviewer that the suspect is not making something up, as would be the case by moving the eyes to the left (a demonstration of activating the cognitive part of the brain used for creative story telling). The interviewer may also watch for lack of eye contact, nodding of the head, self-grooming, and fidgeting as signs of guilt or innocence.
Losing the ability to see the suspect puts the interviewer at a distinct disadvantage. It is no different in the business world, where we need to see the complete picture to effectively get our message across and understand the true point of view of the other parties. Companies that invest in video conferencing for remote meetings have this advantage.