Video chatting for business...Can you see me now?
One of my dearest mentors Colleen Rickenbacher recently wrote an article that includes tips about video conferencing etiquette and as usual, she's spot on with her knowledge. (Click here to read her 1-page article)
Most people are aware that I have a severe hearing loss (deaf in left ear, less than 10% in right ear) and in recent years, the telephone has become such a challenge for me, so much so that I've altered elements of my business model to best accommodate my handicap. (The fact that people do seem to mumble more nowadays on the telephone only adds to the frustration for me and I'm sure for many others, too.)
The advent of being able to use FaceTime and Skype to have video conversations with clients has been a godsend for me. I've been successful converting 90% of my client base to only visiting with me via video chat if we're not in a position to meet face to face in the same city and room.
The other 10% refuse to adapt to this newer (better) technology either because they don't have the right (business) tools to utilize the technology OR their vanity gets in the way; they're concerned about how they'll "look" on video versus the telephone! I love working with the people who have embraced video chat and respect it: I had one client who was not only totally made up for our calls...she actually took the time to locate the best spot in her gorgeous home to set up before our call so that we had optimum lighting and the surroundings were pleasing to the eye! (But if there's business to be discussed, I really don't care how the other person looks; I care about us progressing in our projects.) Despite my hearing loss, or perhaps because I have to listen so closely to people, I have an uncanny ability to hear the nuances of tone and voice and have a keen radar for emotion when I do have to conduct business on the telephone. Video chat erases any possibility of the other person being anything but HONEST and actually enriches the conversation because anything that's awry can be seen, discussed and resolved just as it would were you in person in the same room. If you haven't integrated the use of video conferencing into your standard of doing business, I highly encourage you to do so. You'll be surprised at the positive response you get from colleagues and clients to meet with you in this manner instead of sending myriad emails back and forth or talking on the phone where something important can be mis-heard or misunderstood. Have 20-something's in your office? They LOVE using video chat and if you're a baby boomer, this is a great way to connect with the younger generations we're working with. This capability for doing business via video chat has opened up the world for business development because it's the next best thing to being there live with potential and/or existing clientele and the trust factor increases exponentially when you can look each other in the eye. So, here's looking at you, kid...really!