A major challenge today is that many companies are going into crisis mode. Because air travel and gas costs are high, they’re using video and Web conferencing, as well as the new high-end videoconferencing called telepresence offered by Cisco and HP, to save travel money and meeting costs. However, if their only motivation is to save money on travel, rather than the more important goal of enhancing communication and collaboration throughout the enterprise, then they’re simply creating another fad. Video conferencing has evolved tremendously over the past few years, and companies need to use the technology of today to pave the path to future profits, all of which hinge on relationships.
To add fuel to the fire is the fact that rising gas prices and travel costs are not cyclical this time; they’re permanent. Major social changes are taking place worldwide in such places as China and India, and the increased global energy consumption affects everyone. In other words, fuel costs will fluctuate but will not go back to the low levels we once enjoyed.
Therefore, smart companies are changing how they think about meetings and the new video conferencing technology, and they’re realizing that it offers business something more powerful than they’ve had in the past. These companies are thinking in terms of “visual communications” rather than simply video and Web conferencing.
Visual communications heighten the bond you have with someone when you cannot see them face-to-face. It’s about adding dimension to the communication. There’s a reason why you shake someone’s hand when you meet them: The more senses you involve, the higher the connection. Those companies that can enhance their communication, both internally and externally, are the ones who can cause change faster and stay competitive longer.
Despite the current conditions of gas prices, transportation costs, and airline cuts, the need to meet, share knowledge, and develop relationships will not only continue, it will accelerate. Therefore, successful interactions will depend on your ability to master the concept of visual communications and develop guidelines that leverage both old and new tools to build trusting relationships that foster greater communication, collaboration, and community.