As you will surely know, Zoom, Microsoft teams and Cisco amongst many others have seen an incredible surge in video conferencing being used during the lockdown phase of this outbreak. I expect this to continue as restrictions are lifted and reimposed and then lifted again.
So, if your business is going to survive and prosper then you need to get your head around how to video conference properly. How to have face to face calls with your customers and how to get in touch with suppliers via video conference call.
Gone are the days of popping out to see them. In are the days of arranging a video call, and of course you don’t need to use a proper suite of tools – you could just FaceTime your customers or equivalent on a non Apple device.
As for kit, I definitely recommend investing in some good pc connected hardware. You are going to need a good camera, and most laptop cameras and cheap webcams are just not to up the mark when it comes to quality visuals. You wouldn’t want to hold a conversation with some on a poor telephone signal so why do we put up with poor video connections and picture quality?
Clickingmad went into lockdown about 10 days before anyone else I know. Why? So that we could get used to it and be comfortable in using video technology and remote working BEFORE we needed to.
And that is really my message here…. Don’t wait until your business needs to be good at this, get good now. Believe me, you will be EXPECTED to be able to have good quality face to face video communication in the months or even years to come.
So, back to the kit.
I highly recommend the Logitech Brio series of webcams. (Priced between £190 and £300 – on Amazon – yes folks are being greedy right now) I purchased several of these before we had this crisis and several more when went into lockdown early. The Brio has a smart high quality 4k image, good microphone and complete connectivity to any PC or Mac. It really makes a difference to the quality of the call if your viewer can see and hear you well.
Also invest in some LED lighting to make you beautiful – well if not beautiful then slightly more presentable! I use the LE LED desk lamp that gives out no heat, is dimmable and also adjustable. Read more about it here.
We also invested in a bigger camera in the Office to hold meetings of several staff with clients at the same time from the same room. Again it’s all about the image and sound quality. That is what can make (or break) a meeting. Again we went for Logitech but on a much bigger scale with the https://www.logitech.com/en-gb/product/meetup-conferencecam. The Meetup is an extremely good camera and any office serious about using this technology should look at investing in this level. It’s not cheap – around £900 but it is an excellent investment as far as I am concerned. If you think that it may become your main client facing activity (and I predict it will) surely it’s worth investing in some good kit?
Understanding how to connect to meetings should be studied and practiced, so many supposedly tech savvy people we have tried to conference call have no idea of how to use this tech and my goodness it shows. I was even witness to some well known politicians not getting it and it was bum squeekinglly embarrassing for them. It’s not hard – it’s just different.
Get the right kit and learn how to use it for the benefit of your business.
A word on video conferencing etiquette:
My biggest bug bear – KEEP YOUR VIDEO MEETINGS UNDER ONE HOUR. Honestly, to expect attendees to be able to pay attention for more than an hour when working from home is expecting too much.