Here’s the thing. I love watching football.

But I hate watching football games live. Weird, right? Everyone loves going to the game and just breathing in that electricity and atmosphere that you can only get at a live game. But the trade-off for me is too great. What could I possibly be losing by watching a game in-person, you might ask. Well, for one, when I’m watching on TV, I can see the five-yard line since the broadcast adds that in virtually. You don’t get the same experience live.

And for me, at least (and I’m probably biased, given my line of work), I think that we as humans have developed to the point where we’ve become more attuned to watching something on a screen. 

Like the five-yard line, there are all these little luxuries that only a screen can give you.

Now, this leads to a recent (and still relevant) story. I’ve been on the road a lot lately and most recently, I was at the RingCentral Sales Kick Off in Denver and there, I met my hero and idol: Jerry Rice. 

You’re probably wondering what Jerry was doing at our Sales Kick-Off. Fair question. He was there to share what he’s learned about teamwork and productivity over years of successes and failures. 

What really resonated with me during his session was his narrative around teamwork and productivity. 

As the leader of marketing for a billion-dollar organization, which is at the cutting-edge of collaboration technology, we are always striving to give our employees the solutions they need to be productive and happy. And given that we’re a global company, we want to make sure we all feel like we’re TOGETHER regardless of our geographical location, device, and mode of communication. 

Of course, the best way to do that is through the magic of video meetings which—after meeting Jerry and reflecting on why I just love watching football (on the TV) so much—I’ve come to have a new level of appreciation for.

From football to video meetings…

Video meetings are about driving productivity—that’s the whole point of having access to technology that enables people to take their communication to the “next level.” It’s a means to an end.

That’s why we shouldn’t approach video meetings just as a cool way to see another person or just to “hang out online.” It should drive an outcome and help us get work done—and it should flow seamlessly into any communication channels we want to use, whether it’s an email, a text, or a phone call. 

Can you imagine a game or any situation without a desired outcome, where players simply show up because their names were on an invite? Why should meetings be any different?

When Jerry talked about football, he talked about the importance of driving productivity, teamwork, and playing your positions to get the most out of your teams – aka driving toward an outcome. Video meetings are the same. 

They empower folks to connect in ways never before seen—people are starting to have video meetings even when they’re in the same location, just because it gives them the ability to collaborate in real-time, share files, and much more.

They’re critical for today’s mobile, global, and distributed workforce because they’re not just about seeing another person’s face. They go beyond that. 

Can’t live with it, can’t live without it

The importance of visual cues can not be understated. Facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact… it all says a lot, and it’s truly the next best thing to being there in person. Some sources say that 55% of communication is nonverbal. Others say it’s 80%. Whichever it is, it’s significant. 

To better understand how online meetings drive business results and how people approach online meetings, we conducted a survey in collaboration with Dynata and found that 62% of people said they’re in more online meetings today than two years ago. And it’s not surprising because we’re constantly looking for new ways to collaborate better together with teams that are becoming more and more dispersed.

The only problem is, if you’re ever had a feeling that your meeting partners weren’t paying attention, you were probably right: 92% of people admitted to multitasking during at least some part of a typical online meeting.

I know that’s not what anyone wants to see, but here’s the thing: 4 out of 5 people surveyed believe that video meetings are more productive than audio-only calls, and while we’ll probably never eliminate multitasking, video meetings are here for the long haul. 

Especially as the world’s working population continues to become more spread out and we need more alternatives to meeting in person, it’s clear that video meetings will continue to become more mainstream and pervasive than ever before.

This is especially important if we want to be able to stay connected with each other and truly work as a team. 

The one thing that stood out the most for me during my meeting with Jerry was when he said that his stats were as good as they were because teamwork always came first—what was important was the work they did TOGETHER.  

In business, we can play together as a team too—and video meetings are at the heart of it.