Beyond Google Meet, Zoom and Teams
How much time do you spend on video meetings? Many people are complaining about Groundhog Day and each day seeming the same. People not returning to the office and working remotely each day becomes monotonous. The calendar dictates the schedule and quite often you can be in a flow of back-to-back video meetings which is naturally tiresome.
As we’ve learned to adapt during the pandemic some managers have said it’s good to finish your meetings 10 minutes early for a break before the next meeting starts. Some companies are having Zoom-free Fridays to allow people to have a respite from the always-on video meetings.
What else can we do to have a new video experience?
There are two areas I would like to explore. Firstly, do we need a video call in the first place? Secondly, how can we create a better live video experience?
Short Video Call Alternative
Nobody schedules 5-minute Zoom calls but 15-minute video meetings can end early. If you’re just disseminating information, and there is no spontaneous interactivity needed, then a video call might not be the answer. An alternative approach would be to send a video message. This avoids scheduling and gives you the richness of face-to-face communication and the asynchronous benefits akin to email. Your video messages can be captured with your camera for talking heads or you can create a screencast to asynchronously share your screen.
Long Video Meeting Alternative
Breakout rooms are popular in longer video meetings. Usually, a meeting will start with everyone and then small groups of people leave the main meeting room to enter smaller breakout rooms. When this happens the administrator of the meeting needs to assign each person to a particular breakout room. Meeting organisers having to assign people to rooms creates unnecessary administrative overhead and it can be quite stressful when things go wrong.
A different approach is to use a virtual events platform to create a community. Instead of the traditional video meetings and breakout rooms, richer networking and more sophisticated functionality make your video experience more engaging.
For example, town hall speeches can be conducted on a live stage. Instead of having 100 people on a Zoom call and peering into people’s offices, living rooms, and kitchens you only see the presenters, and everyone else is given text-based chat for interaction. There is no need to press the mute all button.
Networking can be conducted with random video calls to get people talking in a similar way to bumping into someone at an in-person event or by the water cooler back at the office. The exhibition hall can be used for group networking. Similar to breakout rooms people can join video rooms but the user is in control, not the administrator. This means less burdensome administration and more freedom for people. In order for a person to move between the breakout rooms, they simply exit one video room, look at who is sitting on each table in the expo hall, and click on a chair to sit down and enter the breakout session.
In summary, we are all dependent on video calls whether we are in the office or working from home. Thinking about the duration of a video meeting and whether a live video conference is needed can bolster productivity and engagement both inside and outside your business. Short video calls can be replaced with video messages. Longer video calls such as board meetings, training days, or indeed events can benefit from a virtual event platform for creating networking and interactivity. No one tool fits all and your video medium, be it live or on-demand, is ultimately a personal choice. A year after the pandemic started people are thinking beyond the traditional video meeting to provide quicker, easier, and more cost-effective ways to communicate.