Revisiting video calling

Last week I was fortunate enough to work remotely – from my parents’ house in Florida, to be

View from my remote office last week - note the reflection of the blinds in the glass - I really was working inside!

View from my remote office last week – note the reflection of the blinds in the glass – I really was working inside!

exact.  Work is much more palatable with palm trees.

I had a few meetings scheduled back in our Cambridge office during the time I was in Florida, so I did some by phone and some by video chat.  I use Facetime pretty often so my daughter can talk with her grandparents, but it had been a while since I used them for professional meetings.

Here’s what I learned.

1. Video calls have come a looooooong way.  There still may be a little turbulence in logging in and getting set up but they’re nothing like the choppy and garbled experiences I remember.  (We used Google Hangout)

2. I liked video chat far more than I liked voice calls.  One day I had two meetings with the same group of people, and did one in each format.  So much more effective to be “in” the room – I could see responses better, which is the obvious benefit everyone mentions, but I could also better understand when was the socially appropriate time to contribute my thoughts.

3. It’s silly to join a video chat and then not appear via video.

4. There’s no sense in joining a video chat and then making it a screen share so you don’t see any video.  Get the person or team to send you the presentation and then have both windows open (the preso and the live video stream of the room)

I was pleasantly surprised at how effective video calls were – a technology I’ll definitely rely on again in the future.

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