The Benefits of Conference Calls

Did you see the video of "poor Jennifer," the woman who was caught using the bathroom while on a video conference for work? She forgot to turn off her laptop's camera while...umm...taking care of a different sort of business as her colleagues looked on.

Admittedly, that specific issue is not likely to reoccur too often, but a general lack of privacy is one of the potential drawbacks with video conferencing.

For example, people using streaming video to join meetings could unintentionally expose sensitive information on neighboring computer screens or white boards.

And what if a few of your staff members are - okay, I'll say it - slobs. Do you really want clients to associate your employees' messy or disorganized homes with your brand and the service those clients are paying top dollar for?

Marcia Yudkin is one of our favorite marketing writers. She posted recently that people working from home may also be "struggling to accommodate school-aged kids going stir crazy. Expecting them to put on appearances in such a stressful time is unreasonable. Telephone calls are less demanding in this respect."

She also noted that some workers may encounter technical challenges with video conferencing due to a lack of broadband Internet at their home.

During our own on-site meeting last week, a dozen of our team members joined in by video conferencing. From the start, there were connection issues and people at home who couldn't hear those of us in the office. The problems delayed the start of the meeting by 15 minutes, and we eventually switched to an audio-only option.

And let's face it - watching a lot of people on a screen at once can be distracting, whether you see them shuffling around their desktops and moving out of frame to re-fill their coffee cups or you notice their cute dogs walking back and forth behind them.

Want people in your meeting to focus? Want consistent control over the impression you leave with customers? Consider using the conference call feature of your telephone. The speaker phone option still works, too.

For years, you've likely heard people wonder about the need for meetings: "Can't we just take care of this with an email?"

Consider a similar question before gathering via video conferencing: "Will there be anything attendees actually need to see during this meeting?"

Yes, it's nice to connect face-to-face - even if it's only remotely - but is it necessary each time you get together? Remember to factor in the possible negatives of video conferencing when clients are involved.

Just because the tool exists doesn't mean it's right for every application. Re-think the telephone as perfectly appropriate technology for getting everyday business done.