Tips on Video Calls for Business Success: Skype is Not Just for Grandma

A few weeks ago I shared a post with you about home office video call and video conference bloopers, including too “casual” dress and messy home offices visible in the background.  I want to give you some tips on how to get the most out of home office video calls and conferencing. Eric Bloom of Manager Mechanics  writes in IT World  10 Ways Using Skype Can Help You Professionally  “Success in business requires successful communication…the more effectively and cost efficiently you can communicate, the more successful you can be.” Your business or career is built on personal relationships with clients, colleagues and bosses.

The more personal your communications, the more successful you can be.   

computer screen with video images of 3 people on a conference call

Voice plus visual connection makes for more impactful business communication

The best form of communication is face-to-face, hence the necessity of networking, conferences and connecting one-to-one over coffee. Normally the next is the telephone call. This allows for a real dialogue together as words flow more simply and directly. You can hear nuances and inflections in the other person’s voice that give you valuable clues about how they are responding to what you are discussing. Next is email, which is ubiquitous but more time consuming and stilted when it comes to collaboration and decision-making. Frequently a two minute phone call can be more efficient than half a dozen emails. Last is text messages. Most texts are sent and read while doing something else – the “else” being what you should really be doing. Text abbreviations leave a lot of room for misinterpretation and “thx” does not begin to approach the impact of a sincerely spoken “thank you”. Texting is unprofessional, save it for family and BFFs.

Video phone calls and conferences allow you to see the other person, and for them to see you. This visual element adds several degrees of personal connection to long-distance interactions. One of my clients successfully does video consultations with customers in Japan – from the comfort of her home office. Whether you are communicating with a client, colleague or boss – seeing each other makes the interaction more dynamic, personal and memorable. This is especially important for remote workers – so you don’t feel invisible.

Video calls make business connections personal connections.

The relatively new kid on the block is Skype video calls and video conferences.  Skype allows you to do computer-to-computer voice over internet provider (VOIP) phone calls and computer-to-computer video calls. You can also screenshare – showing what is on your computer screen (document, drawing, diagram or Powerpoint presentation) to the person or people on the other end of the connection. This is free. For a $5/month subscription you can have unlimited international calls and group video conferencing calls. Video calls on cell phones are available for a small fee. Video calls and conferences are is an instance when technology enables a greater level of personal long-distance connection. Just be sure what the camera reveals in the background is an office that reflects well on you personally and professionally. ;-)

(Note: I have no financial connections with Skype.)

Learn more about setting up your home office for professional video calls in The Smarter Home Office: 8 Simple Steps to Increase Your Income, Inspiration and Comfort.

Photo by stefan.erschwendner