When you think about how the majority of people communicate these days, what do you see? Text messages, right? Or some variation thereof: Slack messages, Facebook Messenger messages, Microsoft Teams chats. Text-based communication is understandably popular. For one thing, everyone already has the necessary infrastructure on their mobile devices. In addition, there is something so delightfully low-pressure about messaging--there’s no eye contact necessary, and you can compose your thoughts before sending them out into the world. Messaging is a true gift for anyone who struggles with shyness or social anxiety, but even the most socially adept among us revel in its ease.
However, messaging alone will not sustain you. You would never want to give a presentation via chat. Nor would you want to pitch to a potential client this way. These are cases in which direct, real-time communication and active listening are crucial. And in such cases, you have two options: audio conferencing and video conferencing. Until recently, audio solutions reigned supreme. But with the rise of user-friendly video solutions, audio conferences are no longer the default.
If you feel like you’re caught between the reliable, familiar comfort of the audio conference and the bold new frontier of video everything, it will be helpful to weigh the pros and cons of each.
Audio conferencing solutions have a lot going for them: they tend to be cheaper, and they are a bit easier to manage on a technical level, as anyone can easily join a telephone call. The only thing you really have to worry about is whether or not people can hear you. On top of that, it is less of a burden on your internet connection.
Video conferencing solutions are a bit more complicated--you have to think about pesky cinematic things like lighting and framing, not to mention your own appearance. And it’s true, video solutions are not only spendier but also a bit more demanding of bandwidth.
But the ostensible drawbacks of video conferencing are fast becoming a moot point. Polycom’s Eagle Eye Director, for instance, has automated scan, tilt and zoom functions that do the work of directing for you, by detecting and then focusing on whomever is speaking.
And if you’re worried about remaining accessible to any and all clients, a cloud-based video solution like Prime Call Cloud UC makes video connections nearly as seamless and simple as placing a phone call--anyone outside of your organization can link up with you via a free desktop app.
This is not to say that audio-only meetings are obsolete. There will always be a time and a place for a good old fashioned phone call. But employees and customers alike have grown accustomed to the easy availability of video in their everyday lives, and there is no reason your company shouldn’t follow suit.
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