If you’ve ever been on an audio-only conference call, you’ve probably experienced the following:
- Configuring access codes and PINs
- Constant call interruptions to announce when someone joins or exits
- Having to announce who is speaking every time because you can’t see who you’re talking to
- Not realizing the call dropped for one of the participants and they completely missed what you said
- Having to over-explain what it is you’re talking about because you can’t share files or use visual aids over an audio only call
While this old fashioned technology definitely serves its purpose at the right time and place, we can all admit that nowadays there are better conferencing solutions available.
The rise of the video meeting
Over the past two decades, we have seen more and more video conferencing technologies becoming available. Applications such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoTo Meeting, Blue Jeans and Webex (to name a few) have been popping up left and right, offering organizations a clearer and more personal way to communicate.
Video meetings make it easier to actually see who is present, get a visual on who is speaking and notice when participants join or drop off.
Most video meeting platforms also offer the ability to screen share, and feature live chat boxes as well where team members can provide input and ask questions without interrupting the speaker(s).
Video calling also provides a meeting experience that feels more secure, as you can see who you are speaking to. This means less chances for someone to join a confidential meeting who should not be there, or to impersonate someone on your team.
How do audio and video compare?
While audio and video calling have some major differences, there are also a few similarities.
For example, both are great at helping you connect with remote team members, clients and other offices (if you have them). Both are also great for a spur-of-the-moment conversation, where you don’t have the time or the need to trouble yourself with booking and setting up a conference room or meeting space.
However, whichever option you choose will lead to drastically different meeting experiences. Like mentioned above, an audio only conference call can create a lot of confusion and is best for calls between no more than 2-4 people. The lack of visual aid during an audio-only call means you may only be able to convey simple information that gets followed up with an email, or files may need to be shared with other participants before the call begins.
With a video meeting, the experience offers much more detail. You can see the people you are speaking to, making it easier to notice who is or isn’t present. You can comfortably have a large number of people on the call without needing to re-introduce yourself every time it’s your turn to speak.
Most video platforms are quite easy to navigate, allowing you to join a call with the click of a button from within the application (like Webex) or directly from an email or calendar link (this is common with applications such as Zoom or Google Meet). No more manually dialing in!
Why do people prefer video meetings?
Video meetings also offer a more personal experience, which — today more than ever, with so many businesses offering remote work — is an aspect of the workplace that we need to nurture and encourage.
With video, you can see peoples’ facial expressions, learn what kind of environment they like to work in and even notice the little things like if they wear glasses or cut their hair recently.
Audio today isn’t dead, just different
None of this is to say that you can’t still choose to have an audio-only call over a video call. Sometimes it is the better option depending on your circumstances. Luckily today, we have the technology available to make the audio call a better experience.
The great thing about all of these video meeting platforms is that they still offer audio-only capabilities. Though some applications are better at implementing this feature than others, the video function is not required to be used.
One downfall is that the use of an application is typically required to be able to host/join this type of audio meeting, as opposed to joining an old school conference call where you dial in just using your regular phone.
These applications also typically require a device with screens, however this can be to your benefit, because with many platforms you will still be able to access functions such as screen sharing or chat. And even when video is turned off, the screen will often still show the names of the participants in the call, and highlight the name of whoever is currently speaking.
Choosing the right platform
There are a lot of video meeting applications available today, and they all offer such a wide range of features. Depending on the work your organization does, and the unique needs of your team, the platform(s) you choose should be the one that will best accelerate communication among your employees.
Figuring out what those needs are and how to fulfill them can be overwhelming, but that’s why ET Group is here to help.
Book a Discovery Call and learn how, together, we can find the right tools to help your team feel more connected than ever.
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