This article was originally posted to Microsoft’s The Growth Center blog.
Whether you’re part of the rising remote workforce, have offices in multiple cities or work with a team of professionals who travel often, video conferencing is the new phone call. And with the power to bring people together, simplify collaboration, improve efficiency and help you save money, it’s no wonder that, according to a report by VC Daily, video conferencing is expected to grow by 20 percent each year through 2022.
What this means is that if you haven’t already adopted video conferencing, you’re probably thinking about it. So as you weigh your options and decide whether it’s right for you, let’s take a look at ten benefits of using the latest video conferencing technology.
1. Improves communication
A report by Forbes tells us that “humans process visual information far faster and more aptly than text or audio.” And, relative to audio conferencing, “62% of executives agree that video conferencing significantly improves the quality of communication. In addition, 50% of those surveyed believe video conferencing also improves the degree of understanding.” Whether you’re a small business owner or part of a large company, clear communication is critical to understanding projects, setting expectations, and meeting your goals, which makes video conferencing a win, no matter how you look at it.
2. Helps build relationships
When you meet face-to-face, you can make a personal connection, pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues and begin to build trust. And while there may be critical connections that you’ll need to travel for, video conferencing can help bridge the gap for all other meetings, while still helping you connect on a personal level. For the skeptics among us, research shows that video conferencing is widely regarded as a helpful tool. In one study, 98 percent of respondents indicated that the technology has helped them build relationships inside and outside their companies.
3. Saves money
By giving your team a simple way to meet face-to-face, video conferencing delivers a collaborative, “in-person” experience without the expense of travel. Not only that, but with the power to meet virtually, you can hire the best talent and allow them to work anywhere. And once you get comfortable with the technology, it may even inspire you to expand your remote workforce, so you can hire the best talent no matter where they live.
4. Saves time
Because you can meet virtually anywhere, video conferencing allows you to save travel time. But it can also help you save time in other ways. By hosting a meeting rather than working through an issue via email, it can eliminate the disruption of a barrage of messages, reduce confusion (and the need for lengthy discussions), and get your team on the same page faster. One survey even showed that 89 percent of respondents believed video conferencing helped reduce the amount of time taken to complete projects or tasks.
5. Streamlines collaboration
The best video conferencing technology delivers more than just a way to see and hear your team. It offers collaboration tools, like screen sharing and real-time document editing, so it’s easy for everyone to examine the files they need and contribute to the discussion.
6. Improves efficiency
Clearer communication by way of verbal and non-verbal cues, screen sharing, real-time collaboration, and the power to join from virtually anywhere makes video conferencing a more efficient use of everyone’s time.
7. Increases productivity
Because video conferencing makes it easy to collaborate on documents in real-time, you won’t have to contend with long email chains, lost messages, in-document comments and version control issues, all of which can cause confusion, misunderstandings and delays.
By having the power to hop on a call and collaborate in real-time, you can ensure everyone has a voice, all feedback gets incorporated and questions answered immediately. And you can quickly brainstorm as a team and make sure that everyone understands the project before leaving the meeting. Plus, because video conferences eliminate the need to travel, your team can devote more time to their activities, even on days when they have meetings.
8. Makes scheduling meetings easier
If members of your team travel regularly, scheduling meetings can be a challenge. But with video conferencing, they can join in from practically anywhere, including taxis, hotel rooms, airports, their home offices and more. And because they can do it using almost any device, scheduling face-to-face meetings and keeping everyone up to date is easier.
9. Creates consistent, accurate records
When you host an in-person meeting or an audio-only call, taking notes usually falls to someone on your team. And given the fast pace of conversations and our fallibility, details can easily fall through the cracks. But with video conferencing technology that also lets you record and transcribe meetings, you can keep all the details intact. Not only that, but you can refer back to them when questions arise and share the session with those who couldn’t attend, which makes it easy to keep everyone on the same page.
10. Enables live events
Whether you want to connect with your entire team, your complete client roster or the public, video conferencing tools can help. With the power to share your message visually, these tools give you the ability to host panel discussions, webinars, product launches and more for audiences in your office or around the world.