Emailing is an essential component of modern day business. Co-workers email back and forth, even when they work in the same building, even in the next cubicle sometimes. Email is an easy form of communication, but it is not always the most effective. Email is a static form of communication that is open to misinterpretation, more so than face-to-face communication. Even talking on the phone can limit effective communication. About 93 percent of communication is non-verbal, according to the research of Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages.
Talking to a co-worker or employee face-to-face is easy when you are all in the same building. However, when team members work remotely, it can be really difficult to create face-to-face meetings, so they often rely upon emailing and telephone calls. With video conferencing programs, such as Blue Jeans Video Meetings, you can virtually engage face-to-face with your team members to boost the productivity and efficiently of the team. You can even do so using your mobile phone while on the go.
Because so much communication is done non-verbally, problems can arise when you rely solely upon words. Non-verbal communication sends messages that can either sync up with or go against the words spoken, according to Help Guide. When they match up, it builds rapport and trust. Therefore, non-verbal communication helps people to trust one another, understand each other better and cooperate more efficiently as a team. Although face-to-face meetings provide the best opportunity for communication, when face-to-face meetings are impossible video meetings provide an opportunity for people to pick up on non-verbal cues, including eye contact. This could mean recognizing that someone is confused, annoyed, angry, lying or even just interested in what you say. By being able to immediately gauge the reactions to what you say, you can respond appropriately, such as stopping an argument before it starts or going further in detail about something for which someone shows confusion.
Reducing the Risk of Miscommunication
One of the biggest potential problems when working on a team is miscommunication. This could lead to the job being done incorrectly, or people getting angry unnecessarily. It is harder for people to fully comprehend all components of a project or an idea when reading an email. It is very easy for them to interpret the text differently than you meant it. Something you wrote that you thought was benign may accidently cause offense. When you talk over video, you can say the same thing, and with the non-verbal cues, viewers are able to understand what you mean, beyond just hearing the words. Miscommunication creates confusion, and can lead to a job done incorrectly. When you speak over video, everyone can ask questions and clarify the instructions, so they will be able to do the job at hand correctly.
Show and Tell
Over half of the American population is visual learners (65 percent), according to a study in Mind Tools. Although email can include charts and pictures, these tools still may not provide the full message you want to express, whether it is instructions for a job or a presentation to a client. It is much easier to explain something in person, or via video. Many virtual meeting services, such as Blue Jeans Video Meetings, allow you to share files and presentations while you talk. You can share the information and then go through it piece by piece to ensure that everyone understands all components correctly. You can also take the time to really engage with the rest of the team and explain something that may not be immediately understood.
Video meetings also provide the opportunity for instantaneous feedback. With a video meeting, emails do not have to go back and forth between people, which can take a lot of time, so your team can discuss everything and change things instantaneously. Although a phone call can also give the opportunity to discuss something in real time, during a video chat feedback is enhanced with non-verbal communication. Additionally, because everyone can be looking and working on the same documents, team members can make changes and show the rest of the team what they feel needs to be changed in real time. This can expedite the process and make your team more efficient.
When team members work remotely, the actual teamwork involves each person just doing his or her own tasks and then sharing the work via email. When you have video meetings, you can share the work and discuss it together, bringing back real teamwork. This provides the opportunity to come up with ideas and solutions as a team, rather than as individuals. When team members come together to generate ideas, those ideas are often much better than ones that individuals can do alone. Innovation happens much faster when you collaborate, according to Kevin Gazzara, faculty member with the University of Phoenix. When your team gets together and starts brainstorming, you will be pleasantly surprised at what they can come up with.