Is a ‘Zoom’ Call as Effective as a Face to Face Meeting?

Ask ten people this question and you’re likely to get ten different answers. Humans, you gotta love’em!

So, here’s my 10 pence worth based on the feedback we’re currently getting from our clients on the appointments we’ve set them in the last 6 weeks.

When asked, most of our clients agree that a virtual meeting can be as effective and productive as a physical encounter, even though they were sceptical at first. Some clients still refuse point blank to accept anything other than a face to face appointment but, as time goes on, they are falling further and further out of step with the zeitgeist and will almost certainly be forced to get with the programme or suffer the consequences.

Pros To Video Calling

Actually, there are several very real advantages to meeting this way which include:

  1. Travel expenses reduced to zero, saving the planet into the bargain!
  2. Sharing screens can allow you to run through your products and services quickly and easily to any number of people at the same time; very useful if you’re presenting to a clutch of regional managers for example, based all over the UK.
  3. Ability to record the meeting for all to use as a reference point, aide memoire or even clarification down the line that you didn’t ever actually promise next day delivery for free!!!  
  4. Prospects are arguably more likely to agree to a remote meet rather than a face to face where travel and logistics need consideration.

Of-course it’s true that we can still dance our way through a power point presentation in the flesh and this has its advantages too. Behavioural psychologists will tell us that we humans pick up a whole host of non-verbal ques from each other whilst inter-reacting in person and that rapport is much more readily created in the flesh than it ever will be on a video call.

So, what are we to make of it all? I’m convinced that, whether we like it or not, this is the way the world of work is heading, and they’ll be no turning back so we better get used to it.

To help bridge the human interaction gap we should be prepared if we’re going to conduct a video call, especially if we’re pitching for business or simply want to impress for any reason.

Top Tips

Here’s a couple of things to consider:

  1. Speak Clearly – Now and then the quality of the link might not be all it should. The way to counter this is slow down, use simple language and be concise.
  2. Look into The Camera More – It’s tempting to talk with the image on the screen but the way to really connect with our fellow delegates is to look them in the eye, i.e. into the camera. This will help build some of that rapport we mentioned. Don’t over-do it though or they’ll think you’re an escaped lunatic.
  3. Smile! – I’ve lost count of the amount of people I’ve been on a call with who’ve never smiled once. Loosen up. If we relax so will they!
  4. Check Your Background – Think about what they will see whilst meeting with you. A shelf full of books by business gurus? Excellent! A basket full of dirty washing and a half-eaten tuna sandwich, not so much.
  5. Position of the Camera – Firstly, you want to make sure you’re not too close. Think about how close you’d sit to someone in the flesh and take your lead from that. Again, psychologically, people will feel uneasy if you’re ‘in their face.’ Secondly, try and make sure the camera angle has you on the level so that you’re looking straight into the camera without having to strain or stoop. Believe me, 45 minutes staring at some guys’ nasal hair takes some getting over!
  6. Do Not Disturb – If you’re working from home make sure all pets, children and neighbours know you’re holding a meeting and are not to be disturbed. Phone switched off too so you’re not distracted.

Like everything new (to most of us at least) it does take some getting to but it’s clear we must steal ourselves and get used to it because it’s here to stay.

Have Your Say

What do you think? Are you all for it or are you longing for the day you can uninstall all video software once and for all and get back to good old-fashioned pressing the flesh?  I’d genuinely love to hear your views, god, bad or indifferent so do please get in touch or leave a comment.

More importantly, look after yourselves and be kind to everyone you meet, however you do it.