I remember watching The Jetsons as a kid and thinking how cool it would be if we could video call like them. Jane, Judy, or Elroy would pop up on a desktop screen and talk to George like they were in the same room. Well, the future is now, and for the past 10 years that technology has been commonplace.
Do you take advantage of all that video has to offer you as a remote worker? Or, do you hide behind visual anonymity and just dial in to company meetings? Sure, phoning in is tempting. You don’t have to worry about your face on a big-screen JumboTron at the office. But, there are some very real benefits to using video.
You Pay More Attention
Many feel that “conference calling” is synonymous with catching up on email or wrapping up a presentation due the next day. You simply chime in at the beginning of the call to announce your presence, then, quietly catch up on email or finish your presentation. If you also manage to squeeze in some strategically placed “that makes sense” comments throughout the call, and at the end, confirm you have no questions, none will be the wiser.
That can’t be done on a video conference call. People on the other side see if you are engaged and you see if they are engaged. There’s a mutual accountability that comes with video.
You See People’s Reactions
Statistics show that non-verbal communication (how things are said) is more important than verbal (what is said). If that’s the case, why would you limit yourself to verbal communication, when video allows you to see the confusion, disagreement, or unasked question in someone’s face? It also allows others to see your concern, conviction, or authenticity.
You Stay Top of Mind
The saying “out of sight is out of mind” is especially true for remote workers. You don’t bump into anyone in the hallway, go out to lunch with co-workers, nor are you around when spontaneous conversations are sparked in the workplace. Your colleagues may even start to forget what you look like! While nothing takes the place of being somewhere in person, video conference calls keep you that much more connected to your coworkers.
The day may come when even video calls seem retro. George Jetson made it look easy, even appearing in court on the judge's desktop machine to defend a traffic violation. So the next time you have the choice to phone it in or participate live on camera, take a tip from The Jetsons: opt for the JumboTron!