Posted on behalf of Jeff Ford, Senior Director of Client Services

You spent the previous day traveling, stayed overnight in a hotel going over your notes, and now it is time for the big sales presentations. You have all the decision makers in one room with their focus entirely on you. You traveled all this way because you know how valuable face time is. With just a phone call, you know whoever is on the other end of the line is also checking emails, sending invites, or any other number of tasks we all try to complete in our busy days.

Or what about a company brainstorming session? The time has come for a new product release or to figure out how to provide services more efficiently. You bring cross-departmental team members into your large conference room to come up with new ideas, debate them, and leave with a plan in place. Lunch is brought in, laptops are shut off, and the focus is on this one task. There are no awkward pauses as you wait to see if someone on the phone spoke up because everyone is in front of you. All body language and social queues are available to you.

There is a reason we did these things in person, but for now, these activities are relics of the past. Many activities and meetings can be handled just as well over email, slack chat, or phones. But some of us do rely on face-to-face interaction to get the most out of them. Studies show that 70-90% of communication is nonverbal.

So how can we get the benefits of in person meetings in a world that just won’t allow for that? Video! You may be tentative at first, but after giving it a try it you’ll see it accomplishes much of what you’re missing in voice-only calls. First, putting a face to a voice develops familiarity. Second, with eyes on the screen, your audience is much less likely to be multitasking, and their attention is all yours. And third, with the instant video feedback, there is no more stepping on people’s words or awkwardly waiting to see if someone has something to say.

How can you adopt video chat as your standard procedure? The change starts with you! On your next big brainstorming meeting, be the one that turns on their camera. Others will follow suit and for those that are uncomfortable at first or not camera ready, that’s ok. They’ll hopefully see how much easier it is for those that are on video to communicate and the standard will be set going forward. For calls outside the company, I suggest the same. Let your customers see your face and if they want to join, even better!  Adding a personal touch to customer service or sales calls is never a negative. So clean up the area behind you, get yourself presentable, and turn that camera on!