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Using video conferencing in business

webcam45381716.jpg It used to be that in order to hold conferences with customers or employees, you had to fly them in and meet with them face to face. Then, with the advent of conference calling, you could bring everyone together via a speaker phone. Now, technology has made it possible for customers and clients to meet together via video, without ever leaving their respective offices. This is known as video conferencing.

What are video conferences?

Video conferences utilize technology to allow business groups to meet without leaving their own offices. Meetings are held in real-time and displayed over screens or television monitors, and the parties can see each other as they discuss various issues or negotiate. Video conferences are similar to a conference call, only you can see the other people instead of just being able to hear voices.

Are video conferences an effective substitute for face-to-face meetings?

Whether video conferences are an effective substitute for face-to-face meetings depends on a number of things and is a largely personal choice. The following pros and cons can help you decide whether video conferencing is right for your company.


  • Cost-effective. Perhaps the main reason people opt for video conferencing is because it can save the company a large amount of money on travel costs, including airfare and lodging. While video conferencing software and equipment can be expensive, it is typically less expensive than just one business trip and can be used again and again.
  • Multi-purpose. Video conferencing is beneficial because it is multi-purpose as well. Companies can hold video conferences for trainings, surveillance, and security purposes. Video conferences can allow you to train customers or employees in different offices without leaving the conference room.
  • Interactive. Unlike conference calls, video conferencing allows the participants to see each other instead of just hear their voices. This can be beneficial when it comes to reading body language. In addition, it is easier to relate to people you can actually see.


  • Lack of eye contact. When it comes to communication, eye contact--or the lack thereof--is huge. The lack of eye contact in video conferencing can make it difficult to read other people or open up to them. This is especially risky when it comes to negotiations.
  • Technological difficulties. No form of technology is foolproof, video conferencing included. Difficulties setting up the equipment or getting it to run, as well as potential audio problems and screen quality, can waste a good deal of time or ruin a presentation completely.
  • Discomfort. Some people simply don't like to be on camera. For these people, video conferencing can be seen as obtrusive and nerve-wracking, and may have the opposite effects you were hoping for.

While there are no real substitutes for the benefits of face-to-face meetings in business, video conferencing can provide a good alternative. Not only is it cost effective, but it can be used for a number of things, not just conferences. However, if you are considering implementing video conferencing, you should keep a number of other things in mind, such as the potential for technical difficulties and the way people may feel about being on camera. Ultimately, whether you decide to use video conferencing in your business or not depends on your budget and your company's needs.

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