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Love and the Modern Video Meeting

Ring Central Blog


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Dec 18, 2013

This is a guest post, courtesy of RingCentral technical writer Charlene Chang. 

video meetings1 I’m in love – with video meetings. It wasn’t love at first sight. But we got to know each other and now I can’t for the next time we meet. Let me explain.

You see, I work from home.

So my work day starts with me rolling out of bed just in time to take my first call, grabbing a handful of Cheerios on the way. No one’s the wiser, I can still work with aplomb, and everyone hangs up with new To Do lists. Obviously.

Now imagine the panic when my manager brings up this idea: Let’s video conference our team meetings!

My first thought: Do PJs look good on camera?

Hey, I’m all for new tech. Technology is what allows me to work so well from my home office. I embrace conference calls, I’m a wiz at screen sharing. I even like voting with my mouse. No problem. But video meetings are a whole other thing. Right?

Well, maybe. It’s interesting that of all the frantic thoughts going through my mind, not once did I think that my work would suffer. From the get-go, it was all about the vanity. If my colleagues knew how I really looked in the morning, would I still seem credible?

Then how did I go from groaning over the idea to falling in love?

The answer: it’s all in how I work.

Meaning, I spend the entire day staring into a laptop and talking on the phone. It’s possible to go for days and not see an actual. live. person.

Yes, I’m talking all day, I’m interacting with email, I’m even having witty IM conversations. But I’m still alone in my home office. Some days, I look forward to going to the grocery store, just for the few moments of back-and-forth with the cashier.

So, video meetings: what’s to love about them? You actually get to see people!

Sure, no one looks that great in those web cams, and sure, you have to tidy up your office, but seeing people and knowing they see you, lures you in, until you’re addicted. Why? Emotions. And an element of real contact. There’s nothing like seeing a person’s expression or body language to get the whole picture, quick. When there’s silence on the phone or a pause in the IM conversation, you have to guess at the reason. What’s happening? Maybe their internet connection dropped. Maybe your last joke fell flat. Your guess is as good as mine. But when you can see the frown become a nod, then a grudging smile, you instantly get it. Oh, right, the joke was kind of lame.

Turns out, video meetings actually make you work better because you get all those visual cues that tell if you’re really making your point understood. Humans are built to respond to each other. In a face-to-face conversation, you automatically make small adjustments as you talk, playing off the immediate response of others. You might explain a little more, a little less. Slow down your speech or use your hands to explain. It’s instinctual and you don’t notice it you don’t get to rely on them anymore. You see what I mean?

So, yes, I do get up a little earlier. I’ve retired the PJs. But it’s a small price to pay for love.

Now, how about you? Do you think you’re ready to try video meetings? You can ease into it. Hold a meeting with a few of your peers. Pick a time in the early afternoon. Keep it light, keep it brief. Give everyone some time to fiddle with the camera angle. It’s going to be a great meeting. You can tell.

If you want to make video meetings a part of your business toolkit, RingCentral’s newest feature – RingCentral Meetings – can help. It’s available now  to new customers, and existing RingCentral Office Enterprise customers can expect to see it on their accounts within the next month or two.

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