Video Conferencing can save you time and money

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

joanna wake

Meeting face-to-face can be a costly process and with the technology available to businesses today, it isn’t actually always necessary.

But the advantages of being able to “sit across” from someone and see their facial reactions is still something you can have, even if you can’t be in the same room.

Especially when meeting colleagues, clients, or staff who may be elsewhere in the UK.

Unless all parties are geographically close, you have to factor in travel time, down time before and after, and the costs associated with that.

In addition, colleagues, clients or staff may be just temporarily away, at a conference or event for a few days, or working from a different site.

Regular meetings or business tasks such as interviewing should still be able to go ahead by utilising the vast technology that is available to us.

Video conferencing certainly isn’t a new concept. In fact, we’ve had it since the early 80’s.

Brands that are now household names like Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Hangouts now bring the advanced features of remote interviewing to businesses around the world in a fast, affordable, and easy to use way.

Also, practically every internet connected device – including smartphones, tablets and laptops – are all ready for this type of function.

These mainstream features are accessible to the majority of the business world thinking of exporting.

You can cover a phenomenal amount of groundwork before physically visiting a country.

When looking at this kind of technology, here are a few pointers to bear in mind:

• Connectivity – both speed and reliability. If you’re in the office, try to be connected via a network cable if possible. If you’re using WiFi, make sure the connection is reliable.

• Plan B. What are you going to do if Skype goes down? Have a backup in place – can you switch to Hangouts, or phone?

• Ensure all parties have clear instructions on how to join the meeting. If you’re not 100% yourself, test it ahead of time.

• Timing. It may be perfectly acceptable to arrange after work hours in some industries or areas, but not others. Check out preferred times and time differences beforehand.

• Be professional. If you don’t have a company Skype account, then create one. You want to be making the right impression to your candidates – davelovesboro1963 doesn’t quite cut it.

Now you feel like you’re ready to give this a go, you’re probably going to have everything you need to get started, but here’s a quick check list:

• Software – choose your program. I’ve already introduced a few options above (Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts).

• Hardware – make sure people can hear and see you. You’ll need a webcam and a microphone connected to your computer. Many come with these built-in – so check before going a buying anything new. Wearing a headset (like the headphones that may have come with your mobile device when you bought it) can be a cheap, effective way of getting better quality audio while making sure you can hear clearer at the same time.

• Try it. If you are still unsure, test it out with a colleague first. This really could be the start of conducting a whole range of business activity using online technologies.

Joanna Wake
Managing director
RAW Digital Training


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