As often as not, our clients are as dispersed around the country or the globe as are we. So while nothing beats sitting across the table face-to-face, it is often not possible. On a number of occasions recently we’ve used “Hangouts” in Google+ to conduct video conferences versus conference calls. It’s easy. It’s free. It works … if not great … pretty darn well. More importantly, the addition of video to the mix makes the interaction more personal. Isn’t that what communications is about?
Google+ seems to tout Hangouts as a way for friends among the 20 – 30 crowd to interact online. We find it’s a good business tool. We first used it with a client in another state that had people in several offices and contractors in more. None of us knew each other well. Hangouts allowed us to congregate for a call, SEE one another and conduct our business. It wasn’t like being there. It was better than just listening on the phone.
On a recent blog post I bemoaned how the ridiculous volume of email was killing so many of us in business. Hangouts brings us technology that is opening better opportunities for communications.
Try a Hangout instead of a conference call, and you are likely to notice a few important differences:
• You’ll pick up visual cues on how others are feeling
• Someone is likely to show you something
• You will feel more of a connection to new people you see versus just hear
• It’s a heck of a lot harder to multi-task (They can see you!), so your attention tends to stay on the call.
I am about to hop onto a plane for the third week running. Hangouts obviously has not replaced face-to-face meetings for me. It’s a better supplement to communicating than a standard conference call and far more productive than an endless email exchange. Give it a try. Your business relationships will be better for it.